UpRisers consult on city leadership
Warwick Commission Visit
KPMG, Birmingham, 8th March 2012
It is very rare that young people are given the chance to directly influence and help forge a key area of Government policy. It is for this reason therefore that the opportunity to attend and be a part of the Warwick Commission's consultation into the election of mayors was an occasion not to be missed for nearly thirty fortunate Uprisers.
Commissioned by the University of Warwick to explore the process of directly-elected mayors across twelves UK cities (including Birmingham), the commission opened it's doors to Uprisers who were keen to witness the mechanics of the democratic policymaking process in action. This was not a place for lectures or verbosity; the purpose of this event was clear: Uprisers had a unique opportunity to address key issues surrounding the proposed role of city mayor in it's city, and most importantly, it was an occasion where the views of tomorrow's young leaders were actively listened to and taken on board.
Represented on the night by John Atkinson (Director of Infrastructure Government & Healthcare, KPMG) and Doctoral Researcher Clare Holt (University of Warwick), the Commission asked Uprisers to think about the responsibilities and structures under a city mayor. Moreover, Uprisers were asked to consider which areas of policy should fall under a directly-elected mayor's jurisdiction, as well as the accessibility of the language used in the consultation paper.
What was fascinating to note was that this was a true exercise of objectivity; whilst a host of viewpoints and opinions were thrown from wall to wall by Uprisers, the Commission's remit was not to determine whether or not cities should have a mayor. The emphasis on how power should be devolved to local authorities from Whitehall, as well as the process of giving stakeholders the opportunity to voice their views on the matter, allowed the more perceptive Uprisers to witness in action the true power of the 'bottom-up approach' in equipping and empowering people with the tools to influence and participate in the decision-making process.