Academic CV

Dr Dave Mckenna

For a full copy of my academic CV please contact me.


  • Experienced local government practitioner
  • Achieved part time PhD while working full time
  • Qualitative researcher experienced in public sector settings
  • Author of peer reviewed journal articles
  • Former manager of scrutiny and partnership support teams



PhD in Politics, Swansea University, Department of Political and Cultural Studies

Thesis Title:  UK Local Government and Public Participation: A Discourse on Incompatibility (pdf)

This thesis explores how the institutional structures of local politics limit the impact of public participation initiatives within the policy process. The empirical material came from three local government case studies

  • Supervisor:  Professor Jonathan Bradbury
  • External Examiner:  Professor Vivien Lowndes, University of Birmingham
  • Internal Examiner:  Dr Dion Curry

2002-2005 MA. (Distinction), Public Policy & Management, Swansea University, National Centre for Public Policy

Dissertation Title: Cogs, community and car boot sales: Understanding motivation in policy networks (pdf)

1992–1995 Msc. Housing, Cardiff University, Centre for Housing Management and Development

Dissertation Title: Talking gets you nowhere: Critical and tenant centred approaches to participation in the management of council housing (pdf)

1985–1989 Bsc. Econ (2:1), Politics and Social History Swansea University


From 2007 to 2015 I completed a PhD while working full time.  The majority of the publications below are my research output during this period.

Journal Articles

McKenna, D. (2012) ‘Local politicians’ attitudes towards participatory initiatives: a Bulpittian perspective’, Public Money and Management, 32, 2, 103-110.

McKenna, D. (2011) ‘UK Local Government and Public Participation: Using Conjectures to Explain the Relationship’, Public Administration, 89, 3, 1182-1200.

Conference Papers

Mckenna, D (2014) Exploring the representative behaviours of local politicians: The example of biased mediation. (pdf) Paper for Rebels and Radicals, 64th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Manchester

Mckenna, D (2013) Strategies, Norms and Rules: Applying the Grammar of Institutions to Local Politics. (pdf) Paper for The Party’s Over?, 63rd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Cardiff

Resende P.E.R, Karlsson, M and Mckenna D. (2012) Context versus structure: How local political elites respond to co-governance initiatives in different national settings. (pdf), Paper for the European Group for Public Administration Annual Conference, Bergen, Norway

McKenna, D. (2012) The prospects for regional collaboration scrutiny: A view from Wales. (Pdf) Paper to “Sustainability, Regionalism and Changing Public Administration” The Annual Conference of the Public Administration Committee (PAC), Plymouth University July 2012

McKenna, D. (2010) An Elite Approach to Institutional Analysis of Local Government: Local Governing Codes and the Local Political Leadership Reform Process in the UK. (Pdf) Paper Presented at the 61st Political Studies Association Annual Conference “Transforming Politics: New Synergies”, London, April 2011

McKenna, D. (2010) Using Local Statecraft to Explain the Attitudes and Behaviours of Local Political Elites Toward Public Participation Initiatives. (Pdf) Paper for the Public Administration Committee Conference “Public administration in an era of austerity” Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham Trent University. Also presented to: “Interpreting Democratic Governance”, De Montfort University, Leicester, September 2010

McKenna, D. (2009) UK Local Government and Public Participation: Using Conjectures to Explain the Relationship. (Pdf) Paper for the Public Administration Committee Annual Conference, University of Glamorgan, September 2009

McKenna, D. (2009) Get to Your Ivory Towers: Local Government and Research Degrees. (Pdf) Paper for the Public Administration Committee Conference University of Glamorgan, September 2009

Other Articles

McKenna, D. (2006) ‘The new localopolis: three principles’, (Pdf) in Localopolis: Governance and citizenship in the 21st century. Bennett, M (Ed). SOLACE Foundation Imprint


As an academic I have a continuing interest in:

  • Public governance and accountability in single and multi-agency settings
  • Public participation in local government and the effectiveness of democratic innovations
  • Institutional analysis specifically Ostrom’s Institutional Grammar Tool
  • Local political elites and the opportunities / constraints of local politics


  • Critical realist assumptions applied within PhD
  • Used mixed method case studies in PhD research to explore institutional effects in different organisational settings
  • Experienced researcher in public service settings including survey instruments, focus groups and semi structured interviews


Teaching Assistant, Swansea University

  • 2017  British Political History (level 2)
  • 2016  British Political History (level 2)
  • 2014 Public Policy (MA) seminars ( Policy Transfer and Elite Politics)

Conference Panel Chair

Coproduction: a participatory model for public service delivery Rebels and Radicals, 64th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Manchester

Different with Digital: Scenarios for a Rewired Local Democracy Civic Pride, 65th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Sheffield

Professional Memberships

  • Political Studies Association (Member of the Local Politics Group)