Work with us

The Local Democracy Research Centre (LDRC) is where LGIU gathers the evidence and develops the ideas for change and innovation in local government. We bring together experts, practitioners and academics to investigate the key challenges for local democracy around the world.

If you share our passion for local government and our commitment to strengthening local democracy then we’d love to work with you. We can help you to connect with the right people in local government, understand the issues that councils face and develop innovative ideas for change that will be compelling to the key decision makers.

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Why work with us?

LGIU is a trusted voice in the sector. This is because of our network, our reach and our understanding of local government. But it is also thanks to our track record of using cutting-edge research to stand up for the sector and to drive positive change.

Our expertise and rigorous research approach ensure that we and our partners are recognised as innovative thought leaders in local government. Our projects incorporate high-profile events, publications and networking opportunities to ensure that our partners maximise their positive engagement with decision-makers.

We are always solutions-focused. If you work with us we can help you engage with local authorities around their most prominent challenges and speak to their concerns.

We are experts in local government – the LGIU has been supporting the sector for more than 40 years. We know how to talk to councils and we understand the problems they face, their aspirations and what they need from thought leaders. But crucially we know how to build on our research to develop new and innovative ideas that grab the attention of policymakers.

What do our projects involve?

There is no fixed template for our projects. We tailor our approach to the partnership and the research topic. Ultimately, we look for ways to help you have the most productive conversations with local government.

Often this will involve primary research. LGIU has a long history of surveying councillors and officers in local government, interviewing decision-makers and convening discussions with leading figures. We always achieve impact for our partners thanks to our knowledge of the sector and our connected networks.

We also write excellent reports that make fresh ideas and insights accessible to those who can use them.

We host engaging events, whether as part of our research or to launch reports and connect with local authorities. We tailor the events to each partnership and project, but they are an integral part of what we do.

Get in touch

If you’d like to explore opportunities for working with the Local Democracy Research Centre please get in touch with Head of Research, Andrew Walker, to start the conversation: [email protected]

Track record

We’ve helped many organisations from the private, public and third sector to develop new ideas and practice that have real impact in local government. Examples of recent LDRC projects include:

Find out more.

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The role of the monitoring officer (with Browne Jacobson and Lawyers in Local Government)

In this project we investigated the changing role of the monitoring officer in English local government. A monitoring officer’s responsibilities – to ensure legal governance and conduct in local government – are essential for good democratic governance. Our report asks a series of questions, including:

  • What are the contextual challenges and tensions for monitoring officers?
  • What are the existing models, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skills, capacities, resources and structures does a successful monitoring officer require?

Our report was published in November 2023 and followed up with sector events.

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Ieromin via istock

The state of local government finance

The LGIU has run an England local authority finance survey since 2012 and as a result, has a deep and recognised understanding of local authority finances. Each year we survey chief executives, directors of finance, and council leaders and cabinet members on topics related to local government finance, including:

  • the sustainability of local government finance;
  • steps councils are taking to balance their budgets;
  • the state of local services;
  • the future of local government finance

The findings of the 2024 survey can be found here.

Our research findings have been extensively covered by among others the BBC, the Guardian, The Times, Independent and Channel 4. LGIU’s chief executive Jonathan Carr-West recently gave evidence at the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on the financial distress in local authorities – coverage here.

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Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

Parking strategies and innovation (with RingGo)

The LGIU worked in partnership with RingGo between November 2022 and July 2023 on a project investigating parking strategies and innovation.

The project was triggered by a need to better understand the level of awareness within councils of new requirements and opportunities. The project kicked off with a survey on parking policies and operations, receiving responses from 108 local authorities. The 94 identifiable respondents represented a breadth of opinion across London, metropolitan boroughs, county and district councils, covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We followed this up with a series of online interviews which we used as evidence for our final published report.

This report was then launched on the House of Commons Terrace at the APPG on Local Government summer reception. The reception was attended by over 100 senior industry stakeholders, with the introductions and speeches provided by Lee Rowley MP (the minister for Local Government, Levelling up and Communities), Chris Clarkson MP (the chair of the APPG), Peter O’Driscoll (Managing Director of RingGo) and Michael Payne (chair of LGIU’s Executive Board).

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Building democratic support for local climate action (with Browne Jacobson)

The Local Democracy Research Centre at LGIU partnered to investigate local government’s democratic leadership on climate action. The research showed how councils are building consensus and support among local communities for big decisions around decarbonisation, as well as the challenges of doing so in the context of a rising cost of living and other pressures on council budgets. The final report was published in September 2023 at a dedicated launch event.