Testing the 21st Century Councillor Framework

Building on the 21st Century Councillor Framework, developed by University of Birmingham and North West Employers, this Jam and Justice project focused on strengthening relationships between local councillors and citizens / constituents in positive ways.

Download a full report of our findings:

The role of councillors has changed dramatically since the Local Government Act of 2000, which re-shaped how local councils make decisions and, to a certain extent, curtailed the decision-making powers of local councillors. The 21st Century Councillor Framework responded to this by setting out the sorts of roles, skills and capacities needed for councillors to operate successfully in this new environment. 

This Jam and Justice-designed project focused on testing how the proposed role, skills and relationships are seen by all those involved in decision-making: members, citizens, officers, as well as other stakeholders and partners.

We also released an early version of our findings in March 2019, written for those with limited or no knowledge of how Councils operate; see "Councillors and Communities" (download). We also produced a summary of key messages to accompany the main report.

If you have questions about this project, email the Jam and Justice ARC members: Liz Richardson and Andrew Burridge.

News, events and blog

On Friday 5 July, Councillors, council officers, and participants from the voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise sector joined us at Federation House for a half-day workshop exploring findings from focus groups re-examining the role of local Councillors. This was the closing stakeholder event for our ARC project, Testing the 21st Century Councillor framework, delivered in partnership with North West Employers.

More than sixty people gathered at the Ziferblat event space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter to celebrate the publication of the report, How can we govern cities differently? The promise and practices of co-production.

Images of 7 roles undertaken by 'The 21st Century Councillor'

In 2018, Jam and Justice partnered with North West Employers to explore what is needed to enable better outcomes for all, by talking with Councillors, council officers and other citizens. Research from Birmingham University (The 21st Century Councillor, 2016; roles pictured above) was used to prompt discussion about how Councillors respond to the many challenges and opportunities in their local areas.

Detail from the cover of the Councillors and Communities initial report
Friday, July 5, 2019 - 10:00 to 13:00
Greater Manchester

North West Employers and Jam & Justice present findings from our project "Testing The 21st Century Councillor Framework".

* Bookings are now open for this event. * 

This free event is for Councillors, community members, council officers and anyone with an interest in how people can work together to govern localities better.

An Evening with Jam and Justice - How can we govern cities differently? (Banner image)
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 17:30 to 20:00
Ziferblat, Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HW

The Jam and Justice Action Research Collective will be sharing what we have learned and celebrating the outcomes of our projects in Greater Manchester.

In this fourth post for our Trans-local Learning mini-series, GMCA officer Anne Lythgoe reflects on a visit to Gothenburg Region.

Co-production: working with local democracy

Co-production is a way of designing and delivering public services in a more democratic fashion, giving citizens control over the day-to-day decisions which affect their lives. [source]

Monday, June 11, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Manchester Central Library

Devolution promised to open up new opportunities for community engagement and empowerment, shifting power from Whitehall to the Townhall. One year on since the election of Andy Burnham as Mayor of Greater Manchester, Jam and Justice's Action Research Collective are hosting a debate in Manchester Central Library to discuss the changing horizons of collective decision-making in Greater Manchester.