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Michael Cole  top

Job title

Research Fellow


School of Law & Social Science

Email address  
     Research Publications Consultancy


Honorary Research Fellow with the
Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre

Qualifications and background



Michael Cole received his BSc in politics from the University of Southampton in 1985.  He stayed at Southampton for his M.Phil thesis on the accountability of quangos, which he received in 1991.  He also has a MSc in Information Science from City University (1990). He has held full-time research appointments at the universities of Glamorgan, Northumbria, Exeter and Plymouth.


Interests Consultancy  







* Research interests *

As a British politics specialist, Local government has been the main focus of research.  Aspects include the executive and scrutiny reforms; member allowances; the role(s) of local councillors; local elections; departmentalism; community appraisals; consultations; and history and structure. Research has also incorporated quangos: Welsh devolution: the UK Parliament: the Civil Service; public choice theory; national and regional elections; and an evaluation of the Health Action Zone in Plymouth.



* Consultancy *


Further details of Michael Cole's fields of consultancy can be found by clicking here.


Journals Reports Conferences  
































* Journal Articles*

M.S. Cole, September 2005, ‘Quangos: The Debate of the 1970s in Britain’,   Contemporary British History, 19, 3, pp.321-352.

 M.S. Cole and L. Cotterill, March 2005, ‘UK Health Action Zones’, Urban Studies, 42,  3., pp.397-416.

 M.S. Cole, Summer 2004, ‘Consultation in Local Government: A Case Study of Practice  at Devon County Council’, Local Government Studies, 30, 2, pp.196-213.

M.S. Cole, Autumn 2003, "The Health Action Zone Initiative: Lessons from Plymouth",  Local Government Studies, 29, 3.

J. Fenwick, M.S. Cole and A. Hutchinson, 2003, "Local Government: The Debate about Election by Thirds", Representation.

M.S. Cole and J. Fenwick, Summer 2003, "UK Local Government: The Impact of  Modernization on Departmentalism", The International Review of the Administrative Sciences, 69, 2, pp.259-270.

M.S. Cole, Spring 2003, "Local Government Reform in Britain 1997-2001: National Forces and International Trends", Government and Opposition, 38, 2, pp.181-202.

M.S. Cole, Winter 2002, "The Role(s) of County Councillors: An Evaluation", Local Government Studies, 28, 4, pp.22-46.

M.S. Cole, Summer 2002, "The Relationship between County Councillors and other Tiers of Elected Local Government: The Case of Devon", Local Governance, 28, 2, pp.103-113.

M.S. Cole, Winter 2001, "Executive and Scrutiny Reforms: The Agenda and its Impact at Devon County Council", Local Government Studies, 27,4, pp.19-34.

M.S. Cole, Summer 2001, "Elections to the Welsh Assembly: Proportionality, Continuity and Change", Regional and Federal Studies, 11,2, pp.147-163.

M.S. Cole, April-June 2001, "Local Government Modernisation: The Executive and Scrutiny Model", The Political Quarterly, 72,2, pp.239-245.

M.S. Cole, January 2001, "The Crowning of Red Ken: The Battle for London in 2000", Talking Politics, 13,2, pp.97-102.

M.S. Cole, Autumn 2000, "Quangos: UK Ministerial Responsibility in Theory and Practice", Public Policy and Administration, 15,3, pp.32-45.

M.S. Cole, Summer 2000, "The Changing Governance of London", Talking Politics, 13,1, pp.22-26.

M.V. Flinders and M.S. Cole, 1999, "Opening or Closing Pandora’s Box?: New Labour and the Quango State", Talking Politics, 12,1, pp.234-239.

M.S. Cole, April-June 1999, "Adversary Politics and Proportional Representation", The Political Quarterly, 70,2, pp.166-174.

M.S. Cole, Spring 1999, "Accountability and Quasi-Government: The Role of Parliamentary Questions", The Journal of Legislative Studies, 5,1, pp.77-101.

G.A. Boyne and M.S. Cole, April 1998, "Revolution, Evolution and Local Government Structure: An Empirical Analysis of London", Urban Studies, 35,4, pp.751-768.

M.S. Cole, Spring 1998, "Quasi-Government in Britain: The Origins, Persistence and Implications of the Term ‘Quango’", Public Policy and Administration, 13,1, pp.65-78.

M.S. Cole and C. Talbot, Autumn 1997, "The Geographical Distribution of Civil Servants: The Politics of Change", Teaching Public Administration, 17,2, pp.41-53.

G.A. Boyne and M.S. Cole, November 1996, "Fragmentation, concentration and local government structure: top tier authorities in England and Wales, 1831-1996", Government and Policy, 14,4, pp.501-514.

M.S. Cole and G.A. Boyne, Spring 1996, "Evaluating the Structure of Local Government: the importance of tiers", Public Policy and Administration, 11,2, pp.63-73.

M.S. Cole and G.A. Boyne, Summer 1995, "So You Think You Know What Local Government Is?",  Local Government Studies, 21,2, pp.191-205.


Research Reports  *

M.S. Cole and J. Fenwick, March 2001, New Labour and the Corporate Agenda in Local Government. Public Policy Research Unit, Research Paper No.9, Newcastle, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.


Conference Papers  *

M.S. Cole, August/September 2001, The Modernisation of UK Local Government: An Analysis of the impact of the Executive and Scrutiny Reforms and the changing role(s) of local councillors: A Case Study of Devon County Council. Paper presented to the American Political Science Association Annual Conference, San Francisco.

M.S. Cole, October 2000, The Modernisation of UK Local Government: An Evaluation of the Executive, Scrutiny and Partnership Reforms at Devon County Council. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, Cork. Published at