Howard Elcock has a long track record of research into Local Government issues. Recent work on elected mayors and other forms of political leadership and management in local authorities in Britain and elsewhere has enabled him, working in collaboration with Professor John Fenwick of Newcastle Business School to develop a Political Leadership Matrix, which draws out the issues involved in the government, governance and allegiance functions of elected mayors, which can be applied to political leaders in other contexts. The results of this work have appeared in several journals, including Local Government Studies, Policy and Administration, Public Administration and Public Money & Management.
In recent years Professor Elcock has been considering why the ethics of government and politics have deteriorated since 1979, using the writings of the ancient Greeks, notably Plato and Aristotle, to explore what public service ethics should be and where they have become lost as a result of the rise and rise of neoliberal economic theory and its application to British politics and government. This has resulted in articles appearing in Politics, Policy & Politics and Teaching Public Administration. He read a paper exploring the issues concerning citizenship, the public interest and the public service ethic, public service education and the search for higher values, to the Political Studies Conference at Cardiff in March 2013. He is now working on the practical implications of the problem and how to restore public trust in politics and government.
Professor Elcock also has long standing research interests in regions and regionalism.