Who governs Merseyside?


Liverpool (Credit: Eric the Fish, 2013, CC by 2.0)

Who Governs Merseyside? is a unique project set up to explore who wields political power on Merseyside in 2011, and how they are accountable to local people. Representing an amalgam of academic study, public inquiry and theatre, the project has been co-organised by Democratic Audit and the Bluecoat, a Liverpool-based arts centre. The project forms part of the Bluecoat’s Democratic Promenade exhibition, taking place from 30 September – 27 November 2011.

The project has been organised in the 25th anniversary year of the abolition of Merseyside County Council, and takes place at a time when new, unelected city-regional governance structures for Merseyside are emerging, such as the Liverpool City-Region Super Cabinet and the Liverpool City-Region Local Economic Partnership.

The project is organised around a two-stage event taking place at the Bluecoat. With help from local experts, residents and, of course, the powerful themselves, we hope to be able to identify who has the power to shape the policy decisions affecting Merseysiders.

The process kicked off on 6 October 2011 at 6.30pm, when we presented the findings of Democratic Audit research into how Merseyside is governed and asked a panel of local experts to discuss ‘who’s got the power?’


Who Governs Merseyside? A Democratic Audit Briefing Paper, by Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Dave Ellis and Alex Nurse, October 2011


Who Governs Merseyside? Part 1: Who’s got the power?, The Bluecoat, Liverpool; 6 October, 6.30-8pm.

Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg presented Democratic Audit research into the governance of Merseyside and a panel of experts offered their opinions on who has the power to shape public policy in the city-region. Members of the audience also made their own nominations for who has power locally.

The panel members were:

·         Phil Knibb, Communiversity

·         Professor Richard Meegan, EIUA, Liverpool John Moores University

·         Roger Phillips, BBC Radio Merseyside

·         Chair: Alastair Upton, Chief Executive of the Bluecoat

Two other invited panel members (Clare Dove MBE, Chief Executive, Blackburne House and Lord Mike Storey CBE, former leader of Liverpool City Council) were unable to attend on the night.

Who Governs Merseyside Part 2 will be held in late November, when power-holders, identified with the help of local people, are put under scrutiny.

Media Coverage

‘Who governs Merseyside project to explore who holds reigns on power’, Liverpool Daily Post, 5 October 2011.

”Who Governs Merseyside project sees Liverpool Council leader Joe Anderson emerge as early front-runner’, Liverpool Daily Post, 7 October 2011.