Professor Stephen Martin

Director of the Public Policy Institute for Wales
+44 (0)29 208 75202

Steve Martin is Professor of Public Policy and Management and Director of the Centre for Local & Regional Government Research.

Steve's research interests are in public policy evaluation and public service improvement and he is acknowledged as one of the UK's leading academic experts on local government policy. He has published more 50 papers in leading refereed academic journals, authored 30 book chapters and written in excess of 100 commissioned reports.

He has a long and successful research track record of directing large scale research programmes which have been funded by a range of agencies in the UK and internationally including: the Economic and Social Research Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, a range of central government departments, the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government, European Commission, Audit Commission, Accounts Commission, the Improvement and Development Agency, Standards Board and the Local Government Association.

Steve is Associate Editor of Local Government Studies and a member of the editorial boards of Public Money and Management and Solace Foundation Imprint. He has been a Director of the Improvement and Development Agency since 2002, is co-chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government's Local and Regional Government Research Network and was recently appointed to the board of the New Local Government Network.

He has given evidence to a range of select committees and inquiries and was the academic adviser to the Beecham Review of Local Service Delivery in Wales in 2005 and 2006. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Public Sector Management Wales and has been a consultant to the European Commission, UK government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive, as well as to the Council of Europe's Committee on Local and Regional Democracy, the Lyons Review and the Ministerial Review of the Balance of Funding. Steve was a founder member of the UK Evaluation Society and is a Director of Options for Life, a voluntary organization that develops innovative services for people with learning disabilities in the UK and internationally.


  • DipITP, University of Marseilles
  • PhD, Aston University
  • BA (Hons) First Class, Oxford University

Teaching profile

Steve teaches on the Cardiff's Masters of Public Administration programme, which he played a leading role in establishing in 2005. He also contributes to the IDeA's Leadership Programme and regularly speaks at national conferences on service improvement and local government policy.

He has provided in-house training for the National Audit Office and a range of local authorities, and he led the 'Understanding Whitehall' for senior local authority officers and elected members. He was a module leader on the European Union's MEANS programme, providing training in evaluation methods to senior Commission officials. He has taught MBA and undergraduate programmes at Aston, Birmingham and Warwick Universities and served as external examiner for Masters and Doctoral programmes at Durham University, Birmingham University and Trinity College Dublin.

Research projects

  • The impact and effectiveness of the ethical framework in local government, Standards Board for England (2008-2011)
  • Comparing for improvement: the development and impact of public services audit and inspection, Economic and Social Research Council (2006-2008)
  • Competition and contestability in public services, Audit Commission (2006-2008)
  • Review of the Best Value Audit Process, Accounts Commission (2006-2007)
  • International approaches to local governance, Department for Communities and Local Government (2004-2007)
  • Meta-evaluation of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda, Department for Communities and Local Government (2003-2007)
  • Independent review of the role and effectiveness of councillors, Welsh Assembly Government (2006-2007)
  • Evaluation of the long term impact of the Best Value regime, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2001-2006)
  • Mid tern review of structural fund Objective 1 and 3 programmes, Wales European Funding Office (2002-2003)
  • Evaluation of the Neighbourhood Support Fund, National Youth Agency (2001-2004)
  • Beyond performance management, Economic and Social Research Council (2001-2004)
  • The impact of inspection on local government, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2001-2004)
  • Partnership working between the public, private and voluntary sector, Welsh Assembly Government (2001-2003)
  • Evaluation of the Best Value Pilot Programme, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1997-2000)

Stephen led, or is currently leading the following projects:

Duration: 30th September 2013 to 29th September 2016
Sponsored by Welsh Government
Award type: Research

Process evaluation of the local service board ESF development and priority delivery project

Duration: 20th September 2012 to 31st January 2016
Sponsored by Shared Intelligence
Award type: Research
Duration: 31st May 2012 to 31st December 2015
Sponsored by Welsh Government via IFF Research
Award type: Research

Public Services Wales 2025

Duration: 31st July 2012 to 29th September 2013
Sponsored by Various charities
Award type: Research

Research on governance, accountability and contestability

Duration: 30th June 2013 to 4th September 2013
Led by Professor Stephen Martin with Professor Rhys Andrews, Dr Rachel Ashworth, Dr James Downe and Dr Tom Entwistle, Professor Alistair Cole (Cardiff School of European Languages, Translation and Politics)
Award type: Research

Stephen has contributed, or is currently contributing to the following projects:

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the Local Government Association's fire peer challenge programme

Duration: 6th March 2013 to 30th March 2014
Sponsored by Local Government Association
Award type: Research

Evaluation of LGA peer challenge programme

Duration: 8th February 2012 to 29th September 2013
Sponsored by Local Government Association
Award type: Research

Evaluating the scrutiny development fund in Wales

Duration: 25th April 2011 to 24th April 2012
Sponsored by Welsh Assembly Government
Award type: Research

Related news stories

Thursday 6th February 2014

A team of academics, researcher organisations and think tanks have been brought together to provide expert opinion to ministers on how to improve Wales’ public services.

Tuesday 21st January 2014

With the recent Williams Commission proposing councils in Wales will be cut from 22 to between 10 and 12, Professor Steve Martin from Cardiff Business School talks about the cost effectiveness of the reform.

Wednesday 27th November 2013

Cardiff Business School academics, Dr James Downe, Professor Steve Martin, and Dr Clive Grace have led an international project aimed at improving public services by bringing together policy-makers and practitioners from across the globe.


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