About the Commission

The Mayor of Newham pledged to create a Democracy and Civic Participation Commission to look at alternatives to the Directly Elected Mayor model which will be put to voters in Newham to determine in a local referendum.

The Commission, which has now been set up, includes local and national experts who will meet between November 2019 and March 2020.

The commission will have two main tasks:

  • To examine both the council’s current Directly Elected Mayor system of governance (introduced to Newham in 2002) and the alternative types that exist in English local government, and to make recommendations on the best system of governance for Newham’s future, and;
  • To explore ways in which local residents will have opportunities to be more engaged and involved in local decision-making and the council’s work.

As part of their work, the Commission will consider six lines of enquiry:

  • What should be the model of governance for the council? What additional reforms might be needed?
  • What does innovation look like in participative and deliberative democracy? What can we learn from innovative practice around the world?
  • What are the most effective data infrastructures and digital platforms to enable digital democratic participation? How can we use new technologies to improve local democratic debate and engagement?
  • What is the role of co-production in planning and delivering public services especially regeneration and the built environment?
  • What is the relationship of local democracy to community organising and community organisations? What is the role of the local councillor in strengthening social networks and neighbourhood-level democracy?
  • How can inequalities in voter registration, turnout and engagement be tackled?

Have your say

We want to hear about your experience of local decision-making and how you think it can be improved. Be part of a meaningful borough-wide conversation about future options for how Newham Council works and is governed.

Meet the Commissioners

The Commission brings together local and national experts who will provide their recommendations on participation and future options for how the council works and is governed politically in March 2020.

  • Professor Nick Pearce - Commission Chair

    Professor Nick Pearce

    Commission Chair

  • Fahmida Rahman - Commissioner

    Fahmida Rahman

    Commissioner

  • Kush Kanodia MBA - Commissioner

    Kush Kanodia MBA

    Commissioner

  • Dr. Elke Löeffler - Commissioner

    Dr. Elke Loeffler

    Commissioner

  • Kenny Imafidon - Commissioner

    Kenny Imafidon

    Commissioner

  • Carl Miller - Commissioner

    Carl Miller

    Commissioner

Professor Nick Pearce

Commission Chair

Nick is Director of The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Bath. He was formerly director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), as well as Head of the No 10 Downing St. Policy Unit between 2008 and 2010, with responsibility for the formulation of policy advice to the Prime Minister.

He has also worked as special advisor in the Home Office, Cabinet Office and former Department for Education and Employment. Nick was formerly chair of the advisory board to the UK Chief Scientist’s Foresight Programme and served on the Equalities Review, as well as the Teaching and Learning 2020 Review.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is also a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Diplomatic Excellence Panel, and chair of trustees at Tavistock Relationships.

Fahmida Rahman

Commissioner

Fahmida is a Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation; a think tank focused on the living standards of low and middle income earners in the UK. Her work focuses on income and structural inequality, as well as welfare policy, which she has written extensively about.

She is a member of WebRoots Democracy; a think tank which explores the intersection between technology and democracy. In this forum, she champions the need to raise democratic participation amongst marginalised groups, particularly women and ethnic minorities.

Fahmida has previously worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office, and holds an MSc in violence, conflict and development from SOAS, University of London. She has been a Newham resident for two years and has extensive family networks in the area.

Kush Kanodia MBA

Commissioner

Kush is a social entrepreneur, who has developed a portfolio career helping several charities, social enterprises and non-profit organisations, with a focus upon disability, technology and healthcare. He was recently appointed on the inaugural public advisory board of Health Data Research UK, the new national institute for health data science in 2019.

Kush also advises the world first Museum of Happiness, a non-profit social enterprise, on how to tackle one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, depression. He is also an advisor to the world’s first Global Disability Innovation Hub, founded in 2017.

Kush co-founded the global diversity and equality NGO, Choice International, which is based in Stratford. He has been a Torch Bearer for the 2012 London Paralympic Games and was recognised as being in the top 10 most influential BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) Leaders in technology at Parliament in 2018.

He also recently received the Asian Achievers Award for Entrepreneur of the Year, was included in the BAME 100 Business Leaders Index by Green Park and featured second in the Disability Power 100. He is currently leading a campaign to abolish all disabled car parking charges from NHS hospitals in England.

Dr. Elke Loeffler

Commissioner

Elke is Senior Lecturer at Strathclyde University in Glasgow and Director of Governance International. She has delivered research, executive training and university teaching on public management and local governance issues in over 30 countries and has worked with many governments, public service organisations and international organisations such as the OECD and EU Commission.

In the UK, Elke has worked with many local councils to deliver the CPD certified Governance International Co-production Star Training Programme and facilitated Co-Production Labs at the local level to experiment with new citizen co-production initiatives. Governance International also coordinates the Midlands Co-Production Network which aims to foster learning and disseminate good practice of effective co-production of public services and outcomes with citizens.

Elke has published more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, as well as numerous book chapters and policy reports. She is the co-editor of the textbook Public Management and Governance (Routledge), now in its third edition. Her published work has over 5000 citations on Google Scholar. She serves on the editorial board of academic journals (including Public Money and Management and the International Review of Administrative Sciences) and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Guardian Public Leaders Network. Previously, she worked at the OECD as a policy analyst and the Research Institute of Public Administration in Speyer, Germany.

Kenny Imafidon

Commissioner

Kenny is the co-founder and Managing Director of ClearView Research Ltd; a social and market research agency. He is an award-winning social entrepreneur and has led on innovative partnerships with global brands such as Uber and Deliveroo.

Previously, Kenny was Director of the party-neutral ‘Bite the Ballot’ charity, working to empower young people to evolve UK democracy and register-to-vote as part of UK elections and the EU referendum. His work has taken him abroad to countries such as Austria, Tunisia, Israel, Brazil, Hong Kong, and the United States.

He is an advisory board member of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a School Governor, and trustee of several charities including BBC Children in Need, City Gateway and Spark Inside. He has also received a Winston Churchill fellowship and written reports about youth engagement in democracy.

Carl Miller

Commissioner

Carl is the Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos. He is interested in how digital technology influences society and democracy, and how researching it can inform important decisions such as cyber-bullying, cybercrime, and online disinformation. He researches and writes widely on these issues, including for Wired, New Scientist, the Sunday Times, the Economist, the Telegraph and the Guardian.

He is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a member of the Society Board of the British Computing Society. His first book, ‘The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab’ examines the new centres of power and control in the twenty-first century, and was published by Penguin RandomHouse in August 2018.