Introducing Y-PERN Policy Fellow Dr Peter Mukarumbwa

Dr. Peter Mukarumbwa is Y-PERN Policy Fellow for West Yorkshire, helping to enhance the contribution of academic research to support evidence-based policymaking across the region.

Peter is responsible for…

Research, policy and engagement support in respect of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) economy. His work will include exploring the potential impact of the Bradford 2025 City of Culture on the SMEs in Bradford and Yorkshire and Humber more widely and work on the SME manufacturing economy in the region. Thus, enhancing the contribution of academic research to support evidence-based policymaking across the region with specific focus on the needs and requirements of SMEs.

Peter is most looking forward to…

Working closely with local businesses, academics and other stakeholders in the Yorkshire and Humber region on knowledge exchange which will contribute towards developing policy, analysis reports and briefings based on research and evidence.  Exchange of ideas with Y-PERN Fellows across the network and see the impact of his work in the region.

Key areas of focus for Peter are…

On exploring the policy requirements and implications for and from SMEs in the region and particularly in Bradford. This will include a focus on SMEs not currently engaging with SME support and development activities across the region. It will require innovative approaches to SME engagement and working with a diverse range of governmental, non-governmental, and community partners to include Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Bradford City of Culture, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Federation of Small Business and the Chamber of Commerce.

Ultimately, his work will link into the West Yorkshire systems review and economic strategy. Specific areas of focus within this will include but not limited to exploring challenges and opportunities for SME manufacturers in West Yorkshire; unearthing reasons for SME non-engagement in existing business support; understanding barriers to growth in Yorkshire and Humber family businesses; and developing of an SME and family business index for Yorkshire and Humber region.

Peter joins us with a background in …

Agricultural Economics, in a career which spans over 15 years working with teams from multicultural backgrounds in diverse fields across five Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, namely: Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. He acquired substantial knowledge in academic policy engagement, rural economy, youth and gender mainstreaming, quantitative and qualitative research methods. His last role before joining Y-PERN was leading the design of the USA Millenium Challenge Cooperation (MCC)-funded project Market Driven Irrigated Horticulture (MDIH), working closely with the Business Environment and Technical Assistance (BETA) Project in Lesotho.

Introducing Y-PERN Policy Fellow Pratichi Chatterjee

Dr Pratichi Chatterjee is Y-PERN Policy Fellow for West Yorkshire (based at the University of Huddersfield) and facilitates engagement between academics, policymakers and the community around housing in the region.

Pratichi is responsible for…

Delivering research and promoting community engagement on issues of homelessness and housing quality in West Yorkshire. In her role Pratichi will also support the development of more effective ways for academics and policymakers to work together.

Pratichi is most looking forward to…

Learning about the barriers to just housing outcomes in the region, and collaborating with local housing and health partnerships, academics and communities to work within these constraints, but hopefully also to challenge them.

Key areas of focus for Pratichi are…

homelessness among non-UK nationals, especially people seeking asylum. Specifically, in her role she will collaborate with the West Yorkshire Housing and Health Network to identify and evaluate realistic ways to support people at risk of homelessness.

Pratichi will also work on problems with social housing quality, especially those of damp and mould which social housing providers now have a duty to address, as per the Social Housing (Regulation) Act.  Her research will contribute to social landlords finding ways to better support tenants on such issues.

Pratichi joins us with a background in…

Human/Urban geography. Her past work has been on topics of housing development, displacement and homelessness. Prior to joining YPERN Pratichi worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds investigating the prefab house-building market in England, including the types of homes and places it is delivering.

In a previous role outside of academia, Pratichi has carried out research with the charity Crisis looking at the relationship between societal racism and homelessness.

Pratichi completed her PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia. Here her work focussed on the drivers and impacts of public housing redevelopment and infrastructure building, and the continuing influence of colonisation on such city-building processes.

Reflecting on the local elections: a Y-PERN perspective

Y-PERN’s Chief Policy Fellow, Dr Andy Mycock reflects on the mayoral and local election results in Yorkshire and the Humber and what it could mean for Y-PERN and YPIP’s ongoing mission.

The local and combined authority elections held across the Yorkshire and Humber region in May 2024 provide some important insights into how the political and electoral ‘tectonic plates’ shifted. The overall voting patterns across Yorkshire and Humber were largely similar to those across the rest of England. Labour’s share of the overall vote (about 35%) was similar to last year. The local elections gave us some indication of the likely outcomes in a general election, but the Blackpool South by-election was likely a more insightful indication of where the country stands in terms of national party politics. Below are some headline thoughts on our region: 

Mayoral Elections

The mayoral election in York and North Yorkshire (YNY) provided the headline result in the region, with David Skaith (Labour) beating Keane Duncan (Conservative) by almost 15,000 votes. Skaith’s campaign centred on local economic growth while not making any significant spending commitments. 

One significant point of note was the turnout of 191,279 (just under 30%) – higher than many expected and a positive sign of initial recognition and buy-in from voters for the new combined authority (and in line with most previous initial mayoral elections in England).

Skaith will seek to hit the ground running and will welcome the proactive approaches to pre-election engagement by our Y-PERN universities in supporting the YNY Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) transition team. Y-PERN will actively seek to develop existing relationships with YNY MCA officers and also the new mayor’s advisory team. 

The other two mayoral contests went as many expected – with Tracy Brabin and Oliver Coppard both winning comfortably. Comparisons with previous elections in terms of party support are somewhat difficult due the change in voting system to ‘first past the post’. Brabin received just over 50% of the vote share, as did Coppard (50.9%). Both mayors and officers in the Combined Authorities in South and West Yorkshire will likely be concerned about the somewhat poor turnouts in relatively mature Combined Authorities. While South Yorkshire turnout increased marginally from 2022 (26.4%) to 27%, West Yorkshire’s turnout dropped from 36.5% to 32%, a surprise considering local elections were held across the region on the same day.

Key Takeaways

The victorious Labour mayoral candidates all showed restraint in the policy remit of their manifestoes, largely resisting the temptation to speak to policy areas beyond their current delegated powers. Moreover, the focus of all the mayoral candidate manifestoes spoke strongly to the shared work of predominant Y-PERN and YPIP areas of interest (climate/sustainability, local economic growth and skills, transport, arts and culture). Furthermore, the shared focus of Y-PERN and YPIP on enhancing the reach and resonance of community engagement could help support future voter engagement with the Combined Authorities and turnout in elections.

Local Elections

As expected, Labour also had healthy returns in many of the local council elections across the region. It is interesting to note that support was not however as sizeable in terms of vote share (35%) as the 1996 local elections (43%) which preceded the 1997 general election. This in parts reflects that Labour has been in power in many local authorities across the Yorkshire and Humber region for some time and some of the issues concerning finances and governmental competency are viewed by the electorate to reside at local as well as national level.

Overall, Labour-led councils strengthened their hold on power, but with some notable exceptions. All five local authorities in West Yorkshire remained Labour-led, but the party lost overall control in Kirklees; they remain the largest party there but new Kirklees Labour party group leader, Carole Pattison, will need to work with other political parties to address significant fiscal challenges facing the council. They also lost some councillors in Bradford. However, this should not impact too strongly on any forthcoming general election as voting switches have taken place in wards where Labour has very strong existing support. 

In South Yorkshire, Sheffield City Council remains in no overall control (NOC), with Labour still leading the council as the largest party. Barnsley and Rotherham also saw Labour make modest gains. Notable across West and South Yorkshire was some growth in the Green and Lib Dem vote and councillors, and the relative success of Reform UK where they took votes from all the main parties (though they didn’t stand candidates in many seats). 

In Hull, the Lib Dems fought off a strong Labour challenge to maintain control of the Council (Labour made a gain of one councillor). There were no elections in East Riding, but the other notable result was Labour taking the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner post from the Conservatives (this has not been connected to the forthcoming mayoral role in Hull and East Riding MCA). The turnout was very low at 17%. There were no local elections in York and North Yorkshire.

Key Takeaways

The overarching messages is that the political landscape is both increasingly monochrome in one sense, as Labour is now in control of most local authorities across the region and the three mayoral roles. This will see some closer synchronisation of local and sub-regional policymaking in each of the three areas with a mayor. This noted, the political landscape remains complex and often influenced by a range of local, regional and national issues.

The Next Steps

Y-PERN and YPIP will continue to seek to support local and combined authorities across the region by listening and learning from our local and combined authority officer and elected representative colleagues. Our collective mission is to enhance cross-local and combined authority capacity and collaboration across the Yorkshire and Humber region. The emergence of the Policy Campus in Sheffield – which is part of a growing civil service footprint beyond Whitehall – is another significant opportunity for Y-PERN and YPIP to build multi-level policymaking capacity across the region.

Multi-level and cross-regional collaboration facilitated and supported by Y-PERN and YPIP will though need to adapt to the widening remit of our region’s Combined Authorities – particularly in the areas of local economic strategy and growth – as regional devolution deepens at a time of limited resources for some of local authorities. The forthcoming UK general election will also provide new challenges and opportunities for local and combined authorities, further highlighting the importance of collaboration with the region’s universities through Y-PERN and YPIP. 

Opportunity: Y-PERN Policy Fellow role

Y-PERN is recruiting a new Policy Fellow based at the University of Bradford‘s School of Management to become a key part of our team changing the way academics and policy makers collaborate.

Y-PERN Policy Fellows are impact-focused academic positions working across Y-PERN partner institutions and policy organisations, reflecting the increasing importance of the impact agenda in academia. They form a bridge between academia and the policy world with the aim of enhancing the contribution of academic research to support evidence based policymaking across the region.

As the Bradford Y-PERN Policy Fellow this role will coordinate and deliver the University of Bradford’s work within and across the network. The post will work closely within the University with Professor David Spicer, the Y-PERN academic lead at the University of Bradford, the Y PERN Chief Policy Fellow, and with other Y-PERN Policy Fellows across the network.

The University of Bradford focus within Y-PERN is on the policy and engagement support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and on the potential and impact of the Bradford 2025 city of culture on the small business economy for Bradford and Yorkshire and Humber more widely. The role will be responsible for leading your own programme of research focussed on local Bradford business, as well as contributing to wider Y-PERN policy research objectives and representing the University of Bradford when working with external partners and wider networks.

Apply for the role here: HR0164994 Yorkshire & Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network Policy Fellow – Jobs at the University of Bradford

Introducing Y-PERN Policy Fellow Chau M. Chu

Dr Chau M. Chu is the Policy Fellow for West Yorkshire and provides data and quantitative analyses for West Yorkshire Combined Authority to support the delivery of strategic local plans.

As the Y-PERN Policy Fellow for West Yorkshire, Chau is responsible for…

Providing data and quantitative analyses for West Yorkshire Combined Authority in delivering strategic local plans. She has been working closely with the academic team based at the Department of Economics, University of Leeds, and other Y-PERN partners to deliver regional reports. Her policy work on a range of topics such as nowcasting West Yorkshire economic outputs and housing retrofit have successfully contributed to place-based evidence-informed policymaking in the region.


Chau is most looking forward to…

Gaining wider understandings of the region’s evolution, its strengths/weaknesses as well as its placed-based characteristics, to further support policy interventions of West Yorkshire authorities. Chau also aims to ensure academic rigour in terms of data and evidence-based analysis. Reflecting on her experience of producing regional economic nowcasts as per requests by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Mayor of West Yorkshire, Chau believes that the knowledge exchange generated has increased local authorities’ evaluation capacity and has enabled policy interventions which draw on a strong evidence base.


Chau’s key areas of focus are…

Regional development, regional institutions, and financial economics. Her policy work is mainly focused on regional economic nowcasts and housing retrofit. Her academic research focuses on understanding the impacts of financial behaviour and regional institutions on business performance and regional development. Capitalising on her experience in terms of both academic and policy work, she adds value to Y-PERN by addressing the research needs of West Yorkshire Combined Authority in order to identify other critical issues for future regional policy.


Chau joins us with a background in…

Economics and applied econometrics. She obtained her PhD degree in Economics from the University of Leeds in 2021 before joining the Y-PERN. Since her PhD, she has been involved in several research projects which use econometrics and geospatial techniques to analyse region- or firm-level large-scale datasets.

Introducing Y-PERN Policy Fellow Tom Haines-Doran – West Yorkshire

Dr Tom Haines-Doran is Y-PERN Policy Fellow for West Yorkshire, helping to foster relationships between the combined mayoral authority and academics, with particular research interests in the informal economy, future of work and childcare.

As the Y-PERN Policy Fellow for York and North Yorkshire, Tom is responsible for…

Providing knowledge brokerage and research capacity support in West Yorkshire. Tom is responsible for fostering relationships between the new combined mayoral authority and academics. Beyond this, he also responds to policy demand-led research within the region, and chairs the Y-PERN West Yorkshire Steering Group.

Tom’s most looking forward to…

Working with fellow academics and those ‘on the ground’ to identify where academic research support and engagement can help. Tom is also looking forward to applying the ‘systems of provision’ approach to regional policy questions. This approach is an especially powerful tool of political economy when applied to policy questions.

Key areas of focus for Tom are…

Tom works with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) on helping with academic evidence for its Economic Plan. This involved convening a roundtable in summer 2023 with WYCA officers, academic experts from the region, and Y-PERN staff. This was on the subject of three areas of research interest: the informal economy, the future of work, and childcare. This was followed, later in the year, by a call for evidence to West Yorkshire Universities on these topics, which generated responses from all universities in the West Yorkshire region.

The call for evidence work resulted in two main developments: a workshop on the future of work and the informal economy, to further identify evidence and research needs, and collaborating on a mapping of the ‘systems of provision of childcare’, in order to address fundamental policy questions. Tom is really looking forward to both, as it will help cohere expertise and emerging evidence from a number of major research projects across West Yorkshire universities. Tom is particularly looking forward to speaking with and learning from those at the coalface of childcare.

Tom joins us with a background in..

Political economy. Tom’s undergraduate degree was in Politics. After a few years working in various sectors, and travelling, Tom undertook a masters’ degree in international political economy, before moving into local government transport research. Tom then undertook a PhD in Economics at SOAS, before moving into transport research at the University of Leeds. He is the author of a number of academic journals, as well as a monograph.

Introducing Y-PERN Policy Fellow Neil Barnett – Yorkshire & the Humber

Neil Barnett is Y-PERN Policy Fellow for Yorkshire & Humber Councils, helping local policy-makers negotiate an increasingly complex set of governing arrangements around the devolution agenda.

As the Y-PERN Policy Fellow for the Yorkshire & Humber Councils, Neil is responsible for…

Research into governance arrangements in the region and issues around the devolution agenda. Neil is liaising between the  local governments, Combined Authorities and other public agencies in the region and the Y-PERN network to identify on-going research needs, particularly as new governance structures come into being and develop.

Neil’s most looking forward to…

Helping local policy-makers as they negotiate an increasingly complex set of governing arrangements and an ever more acute set of demands for public service delivery. This will be a process of mutual learning in an evolving landscape, so he’s also looking forward to seeing how the relationship develops between academics and policy makers, and how Y-PERN can help to establish a model for ‘feeding in’ research to the policy cycle.

Key areas of focus for Neil are…

The devolution agenda, with the established and newly created Combined Authorities developing patterns of working and collaboration with the local governments and other stakeholders in a environment of multi-level governance.  Initially, this has involved him collating international evidence re devolution and decentralisation, and a key area of focus will be on how these trends play out in our particular places – the region, sub-regions, cities, towns and neighbourhoods. In addition, councils continue to grapple with the consequences of austerity and budget-tightening, necessitating that this be conducted against the background of ensuring that organisational arrangements are focussed on effective delivery of public services.

Neil joins us with a background in…

Politics and public management. Neil was a local government officer before moving to (the then named) Leeds Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy. He has developed and led management development programmes, delivered in-house to councils in the region, including Leeds, Kirklees, Rotherham and North East Lincolnshire, and taught and delivered on a range of undergraduate and post graduate programmes. He’s authored and co-authored articles in a range of Journals, including Local Government Studies, Political Studies, and Environment and Planning (C) and a series of research reports for the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE).

Introducing The Y-PERN Chief Policy Fellow – Andy Mycock

Chief Policy Fellow Andy Mycock

Dr Andy Mycock is Y-PERN Chief Policy Fellow, providing overall strategic leadership of the programme and coordination of the team of Y-PERN policy fellows across the region.

As Chief Policy Fellow, Andy is part of the Y-PERN directorate providing overall strategic leadership of the programme, working closely with the Senior Programme Manager, Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett. Andy leads on the coordination of the team of Y-PERN policy fellows across the region, and the delivery and evaluation of the four programme Work Packages. He has responsibility for delivering Work Package 3 which focuses on policy engagement training, dissemination, and community engagement. Andy is the key contact point for engagement and networking with academic and policy communities across Yorkshire and the UK more widely, and dissemination of Y-PERN outputs.

Andy Mycock

Chief Policy Fellow of the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network

A political scientist with extensive experience of research-led academic policy engagement, Andy collaborates with a wide range of government and non-government stakeholders across the UK and internationally. Andy sits on the executive committee of the University Policy Engagement Network and is an elected trustee of the Political Studies Association. He was invited to sit on the UK Government Youth Citizenship Commission (2008-9) and chaired the Kirklees Democracy Commission (2016-2018) and have frequently advised UK and devolved governments on youth citizenship policies. Andy is an academic member on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Literacy and has submitted a wide range of evidence to UK and devolved parliamentary select committees. He contribute regularly to BBC local and national media, and a range of print and broadcast media across the UK and internationally.

Andy’s key research interests and publications focus on democratic and community engagement and participation in public policy, and devolution politics and policy in the UK, and has co-edited special editions on devolution and constitutional reform in England. Recent funded research projects include ‘Lowering the Voting Age in the UK’ and ‘The Civic Journey’Andy has also published widely on the legacies of the British EmpireBrexit, and the Anglosphere and Commonwealth, and co-organised the British Academy-funded special conference on the theme of ‘The Anglosphere and its Others: The English-Speaking Peoples in a Changing World Order’.

Andy was President of the Children’s Identities and Citizenship in Europe Association (CiCea) network (2020-22) and sit on the executive committee of the Erasmus+ funded Citizenship Education in the Context of European Values project (2020-24). He is also a trustee of Youth Focus North West, a leading regional youth work body, and have worked closely with local, regional, and national policymakers in designing and implementing youth representation bodies such as the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority.

Andy’s PhD, studied at the University of Salford, was a comparative study of the legacies of empire in the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, with a focus on issues of identity, citizenship, and government. Before moving to the University of Leeds, Andy held academic positions at the University of Salford, University of Manchester, and most recently the University of Huddersfield, where he was Reader in Politics and a Director of External Engagement with responsibility for policy engagement.