Profile icon

Peter Eckersley

Senior Research Fellow

Nottingham Business School

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

Role

Peter joined NBS as a Senior Research Fellow in Public Policy and Management in 2018. He has published widely on local governance, public policy, sustainability, austerity and public accountability. At NBS he works on research projects related to central-local government relations, public policy, public services and policy analysis. He is also the Reviews Editor for Local Government Studies and a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University Business School.

Peter is a fluent German speaker and has also been a visiting scholar at the universities of Münster and Potsdam in Germany.

Career overview

Before starting at NBS he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, where he worked on an ESRC-funded project that examined the implications of Brexit on environmental protection policy in the UK. This followed on from a post as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Environment Department at the University of York, where he contributed to a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

In this post he analysed the impact of the financial crisis and austerity on environmental policy across different tiers of governance in Europe. Prior to working at York, 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.

Before entering academia he worked for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for ten years in various advisory, research and consultancy roles.

Practitioner experience

Between 2001 and 2012, Peter worked for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in various advisory, research and consultancy roles. This included:

  • Organising, facilitating and speaking at workshops and seminars to advise public sector managers on issues of performance management, e-Government, operational efficiency, project management, finance and sustainability
  • Running a network of over 100 public sector bodies (mostly local authorities) to advise them on the latest policy developments
  • Producing management guidance and briefing papers to inform practitioners of recent policy developments and innovative practices
  • Editing and contributing to quarterly magazines on issues of public policy and financial management
  • Analysing CIPFA data and conducting qualitative research into working practices in public, private and third sector clients

Prior to his time at CIPFA, Peter worked for the City of Edinburgh Council in staff development and training.

Research areas

Peter’s doctoral research at Newcastle University highlighted how higher tiers of government shape the capacity of municipalities to determine and realise their policy objectives. By examining climate protection approaches in one English and one German city, it showed how greater interdependence between tiers of governance in Germany increases the capacity of state institutions to shape policy making and implementation. In contrast, where councils receive less support and have more independence from central government (as in England), non-state actors can exert more influence over decision-making at the local level.

In addition to his interests in local governance and sustainability, Peter also focuses on broader aspects of public policy (particularly ‘wicked issues’), austerity, and how New Public Management approaches have affected policy coordination and democratic accountability.

He has published a monograph, Power and capacity in urban climate governance, co-edited a book, e-Business Fundamentals, and appeared in a range of international journals, including:

  • Public Administration Review
  • Environmental Politics
  • Environment and Planning A
  • Policy Studies
  • Financial Accountability and Management
  • Critical Perspectives on Accounting  
  • Local Government Studies
  • Public Money and Management
  • Public Policy and Administration
  • Politics
  • International Journal of Public Sector Management
  • Journal of Finance and Management in Public Services

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 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 various parliamentary committees and the Kerslake Review of HM Treasury.

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:

Externally, he has worked closely with Anthony Zito (Newcastle University), Laurence Ferry (Durham University), Charlotte Burns (University of Sheffield), Paul Tobin (University of Manchester), Rüdiger Wurzel (Hull University), Zamzulaila Zakaria (International Islamic University, Malaysia) and Klaus-Peter Timm-Arnold (North Rhine-Westphalian Audit Commission).

Publications

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

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

Eckersley, P., England, K. and Ferry, L. 2018. Sustainable development in cities: collaborating for urban climate resilience. Public Money and Management, 38 (5), 335-343.

Eckersley, P. 2017. A new framework for understanding subnational policy-making and local choicePolicy Studies 38 (1), 76-90.

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
  • UK politics and policy
  • Brexit
  • Austerity
  • Sustainability
  • German politics