The Local Government Act 2000 allows you to petition your council to hold a referendum on whether local people should elect a mayor to lead the council. This is conducted under the Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions and Directions) (England) Regulations 2011.
What is our current arrangement?
For each local authority there is an executive. Depending on the local arrangements, the executive is organised in one of three ways:
- a directly elected mayor and a cabinet of councillors; or
- a leader elected by the council and a cabinet of councillors: or
- a directly elected mayor and a council manager appointed by the council
Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils both have a leader, elected by the council and a cabinet of councillors.
What is a directly elected mayor?
A directly elected mayor is elected by all the voters in the council's area to be the head of the council's decision-making body. A directly elected mayor should not be confused with a ceremonial mayor.
Why is a referendum necessary?
The introduction of a directly elected mayor is a significant constitutional change and so a referendum is held to give all voters in the area the chance to choose if they would want this to happen.
In order to call a referendum for a directly elected mayor, a petition must be compiled which is signed by 5% of the number of local government electors that are shown in the current Register of Electors. This 5% figure is called the 'verification figure' and is published annually as a formal notice.