Mayoral petitions

You can petition the council to hold a referendum on whether local people should elect a mayor to lead the council and the community it serves.

What is our current arrangement?

Each local authority has an executive - a group of people who are in charge of what the council does. Depending on the local arrangements, the executive is organised in one of three ways:

  • a directly elected mayor and a cabinet of councillors
  • a leader elected by the council and a cabinet of councillors
  • a directly elected mayor and a council manager appointed by the council.

West Suffolk Council has adopted the second option of 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. In many local authority areas, a ceremonial mayor represents the area.

Why is a referendum necessary?

The introduction of a directly elected mayor is a significant constitutional change and so a vote 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 five per cent of the number of local government electors who are shown in the current Register of Electors. This five per cent figure is called the 'verification figure' and is published annually as a formal notice.

West Suffolk Council governance arrangements petition figure: West Suffolk Council - The Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions) (England) Regulations 2011 - Publication of Verification Number


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