The Raven's Blog


A watershed moment in British democracy

The upcoming mayoral elections represent a watershed moment in the history of British democracy, reports PSE’s Luana Salles. 

On 4 May, voters across six regions will take to the polls to decide who should captain their public services until 2020. 

As part of the elections, the DCLG has kick-started the ‘Our Mayor, Your Vote’ campaign which, paired with a dedicated website, promotes the significance of power being put into “the hands of local people”. A yellow banner runs through the website stating that voters must register by 13 April and, at the bottom, visitors are asked to download the government’s ‘toolkit’ – in typical Whitehall jargon – to help “get the word out”. 

Local growth minister Andrew Percy told PSE: “As we gear up to devolve crucial powers and funding to six of the country’s regions, our campaign is tailored to each local area to help raise awareness of the mayoral elections on 4 May. 

“Our campaign includes working closely with communications teams in each combined authority to support this historic transfer of power and encourage residents to turn out and vote.” 

In each of the regions, the combined authority returning officer (CARO) will be responsible for co-ordinating the poll and calculating the result. A supplementary voting system will also be used, which effectively means voters can pick two mayors – a first and second choice. Votes will be counted on 5 May, with results expected by early evening. 

So, aside from the DCLG, what has each region been doing to spread the word? 

Liverpool City Region (LCR) 

Across LCR, the PR strategy is split into two phases: ensuring that people register and encouraging the electorate to vote. When PSE went to press, the combined authority was in the process of building a dedicated election website. DCLG’s campaign will be “reiterated and widely promoted” to ensure consistency, the LCR told us, adding: “This campaign and messaging will be promoted via all local authority assets and communications channels available.” 

913 Liverpool c. First Name Last Name

West of England 

The combined authority is promoting the elections online via #WEvote, #ourmayor and through a PR campaign titled ‘£1bn reasons to vote for your West of England mayor’. The region’s election will be co-ordinated by Bristol City Council acting as the CARO, with responsibility for producing a booklet and ensuring a consistent approach to delivering the election across all authority areas. 

West Midlands 

West Midlands has also set up a website,, which answers frequently asked questions and provides timetables and information on local election offices. On social media, the combined authority is promoting the elections via #wmmayor., a separate website, provides information about each candidate, including their background, policy priorities and social media links. The website also advertises a string of events across the region, such as mayoral debates and industry hustings. 

348 Victoria Square Birmingham at dusk

Greater Manchester 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) CEO, Eamonn Boylan, told PSE that because this election is the first of its kind, there are a number of communications challenges to ensure as many people as possible participate. In preparing a strategy, for example, the region spoke to London about its mayoral communications approach. 

“We are determined to do all we can to raise awareness of these elections and ensure electors have all the information they need to vote,” Boylan said. GMCA will be providing information about the mayor’s role rather than the election itself, while the CARO will strive to maximise the number of registered voters in GM through

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

An Ipsos MORI poll found that 57% of residents in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough support the idea of a metro-mayor. To help amplify this message and provide further electoral information, the region has set up a website, Seven candidates had already confirmed their nomination at the time of publication, and the authority was beginning to advertise the election on Twitter via #Elections2017. 

122 524 Cambridge city deal

Tees Valley 

The region’s dedicated election website,, outlines mayoral powers and the ways through which residents can register to vote. 

But other more interesting tactics being deployed include making use of local celebrities. For example, frontman of renowned alternative rock band Maxïmo Park, Paul Smith, who was raised in Billingham and still lives in the north east, argued in a combined authority press release that “we are capable of much more as a region”, and urged people of all ages and backgrounds – youngsters in particular – to take control of the issues affecting their lives.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Union commits to divesting Scottish LG pension funds away from fossil fuels

26/06/2017Union commits to divesting Scottish LG pension funds away from fossil fuels

A union has announced it will campaign for the divestment of its local government pensions away from fossil fuels over the next five years. ... more >
Street unveils majority Labour leadership team for WMCA

26/06/2017Street unveils majority Labour leadership team for WMCA

Andy Street the first West Midlands metro mayor has revealed who will head up the different portfolios in the West Midlands Combined Authority (W... more >
Managing fire safety ‘broken’ as tower blocks in 25 areas fail combustibility tests

26/06/2017Managing fire safety ‘broken’ as tower blocks in 25 areas fail combustibility tests

The government has this week revealed that 60 buildings with cladding similar to Grenfell Tower across 25 local authority areas have failed combu... more >

editor's comment

15/06/2017Challenges remain

As PSE went to press, we were days away from finding out which political party or parties would be leading the country following Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election for 8 June.  Whoever enters the door at No.10, irrelevant of their political colour, is faced with serious challenges, from social care to the NH... read more >

last word

National policies won’t fix local problems

National policies won’t fix local problems

Andrew Carter, the recently-appointed chief executive of Centre for Cities, argues that the new government will only succeed if it focuses on implementing policies that are adaptable to place-bas... more > more last word articles >

the raven's daily blog

Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

19/06/2017Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

A number of local government leaders and figures have been named in the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours list. The list recognises the achievements of people across a number of different sectors by handing out awards for services to their respective fields. All in all, 1,109 people received an award this year, as 554 (50%) of peop... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >


Innovation in commissioning services

26/06/2017Innovation in commissioning services

Malcolm Harbour CBE, who wrote Parliament’s first report on innovation in public procurement in 2008 and now chairs the LGA expert group on... more >
Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

26/06/2017Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

Paul Winyard, senior policy officer at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), explains why it’s fundamental that the thir... more >
The impact of the cyber security strategy on the public sector

26/06/2017The impact of the cyber security strategy on the public sector

Six months on from the announcement of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Talal Rajab, head of programme – cyber and ... more >
Police governance and service delivery in the 21st century

23/06/2017Police governance and service delivery in the 21st century

Barry Loveday, reader in criminal justice administration at the University of Portsmouth, considers the role that the new metro mayors will have ... more >


HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >
Leading transformational change through procurement

01/03/2017Leading transformational change through procurement

Liz Welton, chair of the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government (SOPO), tells PSE’s David Stevenson why there are lots of oppo... more >

public sector focus

View all News