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School of Business and Management

Professor Martin Laffin


Professor of Public Management

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2695
Room Number: Room 3.05, Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus


Martin Laffin is Professor of Public Management. He was previously Deputy Dean (Research) and Professor of Public Policy and Management, Durham Business School, University of Durham. 

Professor Laffin served as Head of the School of Business Management from November 2011 until he was succeeded by Professor Frances Bowen in April 2016.

His research and teaching has been in the fields of central-local relations, devolved public services, politician-bureaucrat relationships, professionalism in the public sector, intergovernmental relations and regional government. 

Martin has authored or co-authored five books and numerous articles and book chapters on public policy in Britain, Australia and the USA. He has also recently finished a study of the reorganisation of social housing delivery during the last Labour government and is presently working on comparative studies of social housing and land-use planning.

Martin is a member of the Business and Management Research Excellence Framework 2014 Sub-Panel and previously served on the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008 Business and Management Studies Sub-Panel. He was, until 2011, Chair of the Joint University Council Public Administration Committee, the learned association for public administration in the UK, and Co-Convenor, European Group for Public Administration Standing Group on Local and Regional Government.  


Research Interests:

Topics for potential research students

  • Intergovernmental relations and central-local relations
  • Regional government
  • Politician-bureaucrat relationships
  • The professions in the public and private sectors


  • Laffin, M. (2018). Explaining reforms: post-New Public Management myths or political realities? Social housing delivery in England and France. International Review of Administrative Sciences, pp.1-23.Laffin, M. (2015). Planning in England: New Public Management, Network Governance or Post-Democracy?. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 82 (2), pp.354-372.
  • Laffin M, Mawson J, Ormston C, (2014), "Public services in a ‘postdemocratic age’: an alternative framework to network governance" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 32, 4, 762-776
  • Laffin M (2013), “A new politics of governance or an old politics of central-local relations? Labour’s reform of social housing tenancies in England” Public Administration 91, 195-210
  • Laffin, M. and Ormston, C. (2013)‘Disconnected Communities? ICT, Policy Learning and the Lessons for Central-Local Relations’, Public Money and Management, 33, 2.
  • Laffin, M. and Wiessert, C. (2011), ‘Introduction: Policy Formulation Processes in IGR Settings’ in A. Massey et al. Governance and Intergovernmental relations in the European Union and the United States (Edward Elgar: Cheltenham).
  • Laffin, M. (2009) 'Central-local relations in an era of governance: towards a new research agenda.’ Local Government Studies, 35, 21-37.
  • Laffin, M. (2008), ‘Local Government Modernisation In England: A Critical Review of the LGMA Evaluation Studies’, Local Government Studies, 34, 1: 109-125.
  • Laffin, M., E. Shaw and G. Taylor, ‘The Parties and Intergovernmental Relations’, in Alan Tench (ed.) Devolution and Power in the UK  (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007).
  • Laffin, M. (2007), ‘The Scottish Liberal Democrats’, The Political Quarterly, 78, 1: 147-155.
  • Laffin, M. (2007), ‘Coalition-Formation and Centre-Periphery Relations in a National party: The Liberal Democrats in a Devolved Britain’, Party Politics, 13, 6: 651-668.
  • Laffin, M. (2007), ‘Comparative British Central-Local Relations: Regional Centralism, Governance and Intergovernmental Relations’, Public Policy and Administration, 22, 1: 74-91.
  • Martin Laffin, Eric Shaw (2007), ‘The New Subnational Politics of the Labour Party’, Party Politics, 13, 1: 88-108.
  • Co-Editor, Special Edition of International Journal of Public Sector Management on ‘Partnership’, 2006.
  • Tom Entwistle and Martin Laffin (2005), ‘The Prehistory of the Best Value Regime’, Local Government Studies, 31, 2: 205-218.
  • Laffin, M. (2004), ‘Is Regional Centralism Inevitable? The Case of the Welsh Assembly’, Regional Studies, 38, 2: 213-23.
  • Laffin, M., G. Taylor and A. Thomas (2004), ‘Devolution and Party Organisation: The Case of the Wales Labour Party’, Contemporary Wales, 16: 53-74.
  • Entwistle, T. and Laffin, M. (2003), ‘The Multiple Strategies of the Local Government Association: Partner, Player or Think-tank?’ Policy and Politics 31, 1: 37-50.
  • (with Gerald Taylor and Alys Thomas) A New Partnership? The National Assembly for Wales and Local Government (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2002)
  • Thomas, A and Laffin, M. (2001), ‘The First Welsh Constitutional Crisis: The Alun Michael Resignation’, Public Policy and Administration 16, 1: 18-31.
  • Laffin, M. ‘Editorial’ (2001), Public Money and Management on ‘The Machinery of Sub-National Government – UK, Australia and Canada’ 20, 2: 3-5.
  • Laffin, M. and Thomas A. (2001), ‘Learning to Work Together: Political-Official Relations in the Welsh Assembly,’ Public Money and Management 20, 2: 45-51.
  • Laffin, M., Thomas, A. and Webb, A.(2000), ‘Intergovernmental Relations after Devolution: The National Assembly for Wales’, Political Quarterly, 71, 2: 223-33.
  • Laffin, M. and Thomas A. (2000), ‘Designing the National Assembly for Wales’, Parliamentary Affairs, 53, 3: 557-590.
  • Laffin, M. (2000), ‘Constitutional Design: A Framework for Analysis’, Parliamentary Affairs, 53, 3: 532-541.
  • Laffin, M. and Entwistle, T. (2000), ‘New Problems, Old Professions? The Changing National World of the Local Government Professions’, Policy and Politics, 28, 2: 207-20.


Current Doctoral Students

First Supervisor: 

  • Dimitra Panagiotatou, 'The role and contribution of policy networks in explaining member states’ deviation from EU regional policy: A comparative case study of Greece and the UK through the lens of ESF Framework Projects'

Second supervisor: 

  • Xu Xuhong