Skip to content

Peter Eckersley

Senior Research Fellow

Nottingham Business School

Staff Group(s)
Department of Accounting and Finance Public Service Management (Research Group)


Dr Peter Eckersley is a Senior Research Fellow in Public Policy and Management at NBS. His research focuses on central-local government relations, public policy, climate change, public services, sustainability and public accountability. He also supervises PhD students and chairs a support network for early career researchers. Peter is also an Editor of Local Government Studies.

Alongside his post at NBS, Peter also works part-time at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space in Erkner (near Berlin), where he studies climate policy in German cities. This builds on longstanding connections with academia in Germany: he has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Münster (in 2013) and Potsdam (in 2016), and also spent one year at the University of Leipzig in the late 1990s as an Erasmus student.

Career overview

Academic experience

Prior to working for NBS, Peter was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, where he worked on a project that examined the implications of Brexit on environmental policy in the UK. This followed on from working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Environment Department at the University of York, where he analysed the impact of the financial crisis and austerity on environmental policy across different tiers of governance in Europe. Before that, he was a Research Associate at Newcastle University Business School, where he conducted research into local governance, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

His PhD in Political Science from Newcastle University highlighted how contrasting intergovernmental systems in England and Germany led one city in each country to adopt very different approaches to climate protection.

Peter also holds an MA in European Union Studies (Pass with Distinction) and a BA in Government and EU Studies (First Class) from Newcastle. In addition to his current part-time post in Erkner (Germany), he has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Münster (in 2013) and Potsdam (in 2016), and also spent one year at the University of Leipzig in the late 1990s as an Erasmus student.

Practitioner experience

Between 2001 and 2012, Peter worked for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) where he advised municipal governments on issues of performance management, e-Government, operational efficiency, project management, finance and sustainability. Prior to his time at CIPFA, Peter worked for the City of Edinburgh Council in staff development and training.

Research areas

Peter’s research focuses on how public bodies, particularly at the local level, seek to achieve their policy objectives. This involves analysing relationships between public bodies and other state and non-state actors, as well as the specific policies that governing institutions adopt as a result. He is especially interested in how austerity, New Public Management and central-local dynamics shape the strategies that public bodies adopt to collaborate with these other governing actors when addressing ‘wicked’ issues.

He has published a single-authored monograph, Power and capacity in urban climate governance, co-authored a book with NTU colleagues, Rebuilding the Fire and Rescue Services, and co-edited a multi-authored volume, e-Business Fundamentals. He has also published over twenty articles in various peer-reviewed international journals, including:

  • Journal of European Public Policy
  • Environmental Politics
  • Policy & Politics
  • Environment and Planning A
  • Public Administration Review
  • Critical Perspectives on Accounting  
  • Policy Studies
  • Financial Accountability and Management
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Public Money and Management
  • Politics

He is primarily a qualitative researcher and interested in a range of research methods, including interviews, focus groups, and policy and documentation analysis.

Peter is a member of the International Centre for Public Service Management at NBS, and the Public Policy and Management Research Group.

External activity

As an academic, Peter has featured on BBC Radio Newcastle, in the Municipal Journal and Public Finance magazine, and has written for Conversation. He helped to write a report for the National Audit Office on the evolving nature of public accountability in 2015, and has also contributed to submissions to several parliamentary committee inquiries into local government and environmental protection.

As a practitioner, he has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars on issues of local governance, public service reform, performance management and sustainability.

Sponsors and collaborators

Peter has been awarded research funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (full scholarships to undertake both his MA and PhD), the GermanAcademic Exchange Service (to support his doctoral fieldwork in Germany), and the Political Studies Association (in return for working on the journal Politics as a postgraduate research student).

Whilst at CIPFA he undertook consultancy projects for central and local government, public sector contractors and third sector organisations.

Peter’s academic collaborators within NTU include Pete Murphy and Katarzyna Lakoma. Externally, he has worked closely with Anthony Zito (Newcastle University), Laurence Ferry (Durham University), Kristine Kern and Wolfgang Haupt (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space), Charlotte Burns (University of Sheffield), Paul Tobin (University of Manchester) and Anthony Flynn (Cardiff University).


Eckersley, P. 2018. Power and capacity in urban climate governance: Germany and England compared. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Eckersley, P. and Tobin, P. 2019. The impact of austerity on policy capacity in local government. Policy & Politics 47 (3), 455-472.

Burns, C., Eckersley, P. and Tobin, P. 2019. EU environmental policy in times of crisis. Journal of European Public Policy.

Eckersley, P. 2018. Who shapes local climate policy? Unpicking governance arrangements in English and German citiesEnvironmental Politics, 27 (1), 139-160.

Eckersley, P., Ferry, L. and Zakaria, Z. 2014. A ‘panoptical’ or ‘synoptical’ approach to monitoring performance? Local public services in England and the widening accountability gapCritical Perspectives on Accounting 25 (6), 529-538.

See all of Peter Eckersley's publications...

Press expertise

  • English local government
  • Climate change
  • Sustainability
  • Austerity