This year, in line with the new University wide Teaching and Learning Framework, we tried to embed a collaborative approach to teaching and learning within one of the core modules in our LondonMet MPA programme ‘Researching Public Services’.

Teaching research methods in any programme poses the same challenges: 1) how to achieve the right balance between theory and practice, 2) how to achieve the right balance between quants and qualitative approaches, and 3)how to make sure that you can fit a whole and complex curriculum within a limited number weeks, in our case, 12 weeks.

Far from saying that we…


At London Metropolitan University we aim to transform lives through excellent education. At the heart of this sits our commitment to inclusion and diversity and offering the opportunity to study to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Masters in Public Administration programme, which sits in the School of Social Professions is an excellent example of what London Met stands for. …


8.30 am on a Friday morning, East London. Buzzing room full of people waiting for the Design on the Inside (#DOTI) event to begin.

As an academic I regularly venture outside the Ivory Tower and engage with a wide range of professionals from various sectors: charities, government, creative industries, tech. It’s a healthy habit that helps me keep my teaching relevant, but also question, justify and and re-direct my own academic research.

Design on the Inside, organised by We are Snook — a brilliant agency “on a mission to make services better everywhere” , — was one of those events…


Introducing a new research project on understanding barriers and incentives to standing in elections for the National Assembly for Wales

Concerns are rising over a lack of diversity within our political classes — in Wales and beyond — and rather slow progress in addressing under-representation in elected office, as the three elections held in less than 18 months have highlighted.

‘Male, pale and stale’ is still a pretty accurate description of many local councils in Wales. Even after some small progress for women in the Welsh local elections in May 2017 — only one in four top Council posts are…


Historically, snap elections are bad news for women’s representation — so are we likely to see more female MPs from Wales at Westminster after 8 June?Diana Stirbu, Jac Larner and Laura McAllister of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre investigate.

Shortened processes of candidate selection and the costs and difficulties associated with actually standing for election combine to disadvantage women.

However, in an apparent bucking of this trend, the election will see the highest-ever proportion of women candidates standing across the UK.

A total 41% of Labour candidates UK-wide are female, 29% of Conservatives and 30% of Lib Dems.

Meanwhile, 33%…


Devolution in the UK encompasses a range of quite different solutions in three countries (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), plus lesser delegations of powers to London and some English cities. Designed to meet specific demands for national or regional control and to bring government closer to citizens, there are important issues around the stability and effectiveness of these arrangements. As part of the 2017 Audit of UK Democracy, Diana Stirbu and Patrick Dunleavy explore how far relations between Westminster and the key devolved institutions have been handled democratically and effectively.

What does democracy require of the UK’s devolution arrangements?

  • Devolved institutions must be representative and legitimate. They must rely…

Thoughts from my out of the “Ivory Tower” Escapades

Escapade 1: EVENT — ‘Well designed democracy: the practical democracy project’ — organised by The Delib Team. ‘Audacious’ title, as one of the organisers labelled it, but I felt in instant calling given my interest in mainstreaming a design approach in the way we think and relate to our democracy, policy and politics.

Escapade 2: EVENT — ‘Power and the People in the UK Constitution’ — organised by the Electoral Reform Society. …


By Diana Stirbu, Jac Larner and Laura McAllister

“Male, pale and stale” is a familiar insult levelled at politicians in many places. It certainly fits the profile of our local councillors in Wales. Asked to imagine a local councillor, we’d place a hefty bet that it will usually be a picture of a white, retired man, aged 65 plus.

Now that’s not entirely fair but, like all stereotypes, there is some important truth in it. The absence of any real diversity-of gender, age and ethnicity-in Welsh local government is a stubborn and persistent problem. For a long time, nobody seems to care much but there have been two…


Diana Stirbu and Laura McAllister discuss the limitations of the Welsh Additional Member System. They write that it is a mockery to call it a proportional system, and argue that it is in danger of alienating voters. They also indicate that its weaknesses may actually be prohibiting the development of a more mature political system.

With the dust settling on Wales’s fifth elections to its National Assembly, it’s timely to reflect on some of the inherent problems on an electoral system that delivered another ‘hung’ outcome.

The Additional Member System (AMS), a hybrid voting system combining the majoritarian First Past…

Politics & Governance Insights Prof. Diana Stirbu

Researcher and educator in politics, governance and strategy. Embracing service design doing and thinking.

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