Politics is what connects the public sector to its communities, and can be sometimes viewed as the lifeblood of local government. At their best politicians know and understand their communities intimately, create aspirations out of local desires, draw compelling pictures of the future and bring people together to achieve great things.

The Leadership Centre pioneered the Civic Pride initiative which addressed the imbalance between the development opportunities available to politicians over the years, in comparison to officers in local government. The range of programmes within Civic Pride were designed to support local politicians at each stage of their political lives, helping to reinvigorate local democracy and encourage more people to get involved, creating a greater sense of civic pride in our communities.

The Leadership Centre has also facilitated projects within party traditions, taking a closer look at the evolving role of councillors and exploring the changing nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state – or ‘the big society question’. The reports from these pieces of work are available to download below.

Today, politicians are expected to shape the place where citizens live and work. The Leadership Centre helps them to lead beyond their authority in these complex, messy and difficult times so they can make lasting change possible for the good of their citizens and places. We are unrivalled in our approach to working at this political and managerial coalface.

21st Century Councillor


As part of it’s work looking at the Politics of Place, the Leadership Centre ran the ’21st Century Councillor’ programme. This programme aimed to change the perception of what the role of a councillor entails.

The 21st Century Councillor is one who is a supported, confident, talented and professional community leader. One who understands but can also transform their place. One who can think strategically, as well as be informed and inspired by their local roots. In short, being a 21st Century Councillor is a job that many more people should understand and aspire to fulfilling for at least a part of their lives, in the same way they become school governors, JPs, join voluntary associations and campaign members for their local areas.

As part of the ’21st Century Councillor’ work, the Leadership Centre released a series of publications looking at both the aims and real life experience of the programme. These are available to view and download below:


21st Century Councillor: Manifesto for Modern Local Politics

Lessons from election 2010: local politics and social media

Reaching the hearts of Herefordshire: Restoring confidence in rural democracy

The 21st Century guide to member induction

Finding the X factor: the premier guide to recruiting local government talent in your area

If you found this section useful, you may also want to explore the following areas of our work:

Devolution & Combined Authorities

Sustainability & Transformation Plans


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