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LONDON MAYOR SIMULATION JUDGED STIMULATING

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The Financial Times (p16) carries a report on a simulation exercise organised by the Office for Public Management, ...
The Financial Times (p16) carries a report on a simulation exercise organised by the Office for Public Management, the public services consultancy, to test how the new mayor of London and other London institutions are likely to work together.

The exercise was supposed to represent a possible situation in around five year's time. The article says of the mayor, the broadcaster John Snow: 'His office seemed somewhat shambolic at first. But a few hardened professionals such as Heather Rabatts, chief executive of Lambeth LBC and a renowned collector of problems to solve, soon imposed order.'

In the simulation leading representatives of London interests including borough councils, business, transport, police, health and the voluntary sector played themselves.

They worked through imaginary, but realistic, scenarios that are likely to arise under the new arrangements.

When it started, councillors from the London boroughs flexed their statutory rights and independent elective mandates at the mayor. By the end, many sought to work in collaboration with him. Any party difference showed signs of becoming subordinated to the need to maximise borough-level influence alongside the powerful new arrivals.

The Office for Public Management and Gerry Stoker, professor of government at Strathclyde University, will analyse the exercise and compile lessons for London.

The simulation ended on familiar territory. Mr Snow observed in his address that, although his term had begun amid skirmishes with borough councillors, experience showed the mayor's real problems were in dealing with central government. In that moment, says the article, he became the first of an unknowable number of mayors who will utter those words.

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