Directly elected mayors in England and Wales
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Directly elected mayors are council leaders who have been directly elected by the people that live in the local authority. This is in contrast to the "leader and cabinet" model in which the leader of the council is chosen by other elected councillors; this is the most common form of local government in the UK.
The post of elected mayor is different from that of Lord Mayor, which is ceremonial.
The first directly elected mayor was introduced in Greater London in 2000 as part of the statutory provisions of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Elsewhere in England and Wales, since the Local Government Act 2000, there have been a range of options for how a local council leadership can be constituted, and installing a directly elected mayor is one of these options. It is possible to introduce or remove the office of mayor in any local council, other than the Greater London Authority, by triggering a local referendum with a signed petition. There are currently seventeen directly elected mayors, including the Mayor of London.
In 2000, the Labour government led by Tony Blair passed the Local Government Act 2000, which introduced the option of directly elected mayors (also known as directly elected Council Leaders) for local authorities in England and Wales. The Act ended the previous committee-based system, where functions were exercised by committees of the council.
The position of the elected Mayor of London is a strategic regional one, and quite different from that of local authority Mayors. In addition to the Mayor of London, twelve councils in England now have directly elected mayors with powers and an advisory cabinet to assist them. The changes were encouraged by the central government but usually required local request and ratification by referendum. This system had been considered by the previous government, and former Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine had been a proponent of it.
A number of areas with Elected Mayors have also Lord Mayors. Lord Mayors are ceremonial roles conferred on acting councillors, and are separate from Elected Mayors.
 Regional variations
Some of the first mayoral elections were won by independents, notably in Hartlepool, where the election was won by Stuart Drummond, who played Hartlepool United's mascot; and in Middlesbrough, where it was won by former police officer Ray Mallon, who left the local police force to stand for election. Having receded somewhat as an issue after 2002, it has now moved up the political agenda again, following positive reports of mayors' performance under the new system and recent Labour gains in several mayoralties. In February 2006, the Labour-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research published a report calling for elected mayors in Birmingham and Manchester, which was positively received by the government, but not by the two city councils concerned.
In October 2006, the DCLG White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities proposed that in future the requirement for a referendum to approve the establishment of an elected mayor for a council area be dropped in favour of a simple resolution of the council following community consultation. It also proposed the direct election of council cabinets where requested, and that the mayor-and-council manager system in Stoke-on-Trent be reformed into a conventional mayor-and-cabinet system, it having been the only English council to adopt that system.
 Wales and Scotland
Although Wales is included in the legislation, only one Welsh authority, Ceredigion, has held a referendum on such a proposal. The referendum, in May 2004, resulted in the proposal being rejected by over 70% of the voters.
The Act does not apply in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament has chosen to reform local government instead by introducing the Single Transferable Vote electoral system. The Scottish Conservatives support elected mayors where there is found to be "local demand in our major towns and cities". A mayor in Scotland is traditionally known as a provost.
 Political attitude to system
There has been councillors backlash about perceived excessive power of directly elected mayors. There has also been some academic comment[who?] to the effect that the role "may merely attract mavericks and self-publicists". But British Prime Minister David Cameron is broadly in favour of the system, saying directly elected mayors are "accountable" and can "galvanise action".
Voters in Stoke-on-Trent voted to remove the post of elected mayor on 23 October 2008, to be replaced with a system of council leader and cabinet. In November 2012 Hartlepool also voted to scrap the position of directly elected mayor in a referendum.
There have also been campaigns in four of the twelve local authorities with directly elected mayors to hold referendums to abolish the posts. In Doncaster, in March 2007, "Fair Deal" campaigners presented an 11,000-signature petition to the council calling for a new referendum. The council voted 31–27 in favour of a new referendum, which was held in May 2012. In Lewisham, the Bring Back Democracy campaign is calling for a new referendum, citing poor turnout and a very close result in the 2001 referendum. In April 2007, Lewisham Council voted 28–24 against a motion calling for consultation over the issue.
There are a number of private citizen campaigns underway for a referendum to introduce directly elected mayors in a number of English councils. Some of the most notable are in Shropshire, Stockport, Carlisle, Workington, and Stafford.
In September 2011 citizens of Salford collected the requisite number of signatures to force a referendum. It was held in January 2012 with a narrow victory for the yes camp of 56%-44%. The referendum was notable for its poor turnout of just 18.1%. The first mayoral election took place in May 2012.
On 3 May 2012, referendums were held in 10 English cities to decide whether or not to switch to a system that includes a directly elected mayor. Only one, Bristol, voted for a mayoral system. Doncaster voted to retain its elected mayoral system in a referendum held on the same day. Liverpool City Council has decided to have a directly elected mayor with effect from May 2012, without a referendum.
A local-authority elected mayor has powers similar to those of the executive committee in a Leader and Cabinet model local authority. These are described as either "exclusive" powers or "co-decision" powers and are defined in the Local Government (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000.
Co-decision powers are those the mayor shares with the council, notably the power to make the local authority's annual budget and its policy framework documents. These are: Annual Library Plan; Best Value Performance Plan; Children's Services Plan; Community Care Plan; Community Strategy; Crime and Disorder Reduction Strategy; Early Years Development Plan; Education Development Plan; Local Development Framework; and the Youth Justice Plan. To amend or reject a mayor's proposals for any of these documents, the council must resolve to do so by a two-thirds majority. This is again based on secondary legislation, in this case the Local Government (Standing Orders) (England) Regulations 2001.
Exclusive powers are less easy to define, because they consist of all the powers that are granted to a local authority by Act of Parliament except those defined either as co-decision powers or as "not to be the responsibility of an authority's executive". This latter is a limited list, including quasi-judicial decisions on planning and licensing, and certain ceremonial, employment and legal decisions.
An elected mayor (in a mayor and cabinet system) also has the power to appoint up to nine councillors as members of a cabinet and to delegate powers, either to them as individuals, or to the Mayor and Cabinet committee, or to subcommittees of the Mayor and Cabinet committee. In practice, the mayor remains personally accountable, so most mayors have chosen to delegate to a very limited extent—if at all.
Local authorities in Britain remain administered by a permanent staff of chief officers led by a chief executive, who are politically neutral bureaucrats. Their powers remain unaffected by the introduction of elected mayor. Senior officers continue to be appointed by a politically representative committee of councillors, and the mayor may not attempt to influence the decision as to who is appointed (except within the committee as a member of the committee). To maintain the staff's professional and political independence, the mayor (or any other member of the council) may not personally direct any member of staff. Accordingly, an elected mayor cannot really be accurately characterised as an executive mayor, as in parts of the US and certain other countries, but more as a semi-executive mayor.
Consultations have taken place in 12 English cities due to have referendums over the introduction of elected mayors, over what powers those mayors should have, and how they should be scrutinised.
 List of directly elected mayors
As of 2013[update] there are 16 directly elected mayors in England (including the Mayor of London).
- Stuart Drummond (Independent), Hartlepool (2002-2013)
- Peter Davies (English Democrats/Independent), Doncaster (2009-2013)
- Linda Arkley (Conservative), North Tyneside (April 2003 - May 2005 and 2009-2013)
- Nick Bye (Conservative), Torbay (October 2005 - May 2011)
- John Harrison (Labour), North Tyneside (2005–2009)
- Chris Morgan (Conservative), North Tyneside (May 2002 – April 2003)
- Mike Wolfe (Independent), Stoke-on-Trent (October 2002 – May 2005)
- Mark Meredith (Labour), Stoke-on-Trent (May 2005 - June 2009)
- Ken Livingstone (Independent/Labour), London (2000–2008)
- Martin Winter Labour/Independent, Doncaster (2002–2009)
- Frank Branston (Independent), Bedford (2002–2009) (deceased)
 Mayoral referendums
To date there have been 47 referendums on whether to establish an elected mayor in English local authorities. Thirteen have been passed and 34 rejected by the voters.
To trigger a referendum, the normal procedure is for the council to request it, which has happened in 22 cases. In 14, electors themselves have requested a referendum by petition. In Southwark, the government forced the holding of a referendum. Councillors have had the right in law to introduce the post of Elected Mayor instead of the appointed Council Leader, by a two-thirds majority vote in Council under the Local Government Act 2000 and 2007.
"Yes" majority shown in green, "No" majority shown in red.
|Local authority||Date||Yes Votes||Yes Vote %||No Votes||No Vote %||Turnout %|
|Berwick-upon-Tweed||7 June 2001||3,617||26||10,212||74||64|
|Cheltenham||28 June 2001||8,083||33||16,602||67||32|
|Gloucester||28 June 2001||7,731||32||16,317||68||31|
|Watford||12 July 2001||7,636||52||7,140||48||25|
|Doncaster||20 September 2001||35,453||65||19,398||35||25|
|Kirklees||4 October 2001||10,169||27||27,977||73||13|
|Sunderland||11 October 2001||9,375||43||12,209||57||10|
|Brighton & Hove||18 October 2001||22,724||38||37,214||62||32|
|Hartlepool||18 October 2001||10,667||51||10,294||49||34|
|Lewisham||18 October 2001||16,822||51||15,914||49||18|
|Middlesbrough||18 October 2001||29,067||84||5,422||16||34|
|North Tyneside||18 October 2001||30,262||58||22,296||42||36|
|Sedgefield||18 October 2001||10,628||47||11,869||53||33|
|Redditch||8 November 2001||7,250||44||9,198||56||28|
|Durham||20 November 2001||8,327||41||11,974||59||29|
|Harrow||6 December 2001||17,502||43||23,554||57||26|
|Plymouth||24 January 2002||29,559||41||42,811||59||40|
|Harlow||24 January 2002||5,296||25||15,490||75||25|
|Newham||31 January 2002||27,263||68||12,687||32||26|
|Southwark||31 January 2002||6,054||31||13,217||69||11|
|West Devon||31 January 2002||3,555||23||12,190||77||42|
|Shepway||31 January 2002||11,357||44||14,438||56||36|
|Bedford||21 February 2002||11,316||67||5,537||33||16|
|Hackney||2 May 2002||24,697||59||10,547||41||32|
|Mansfield||2 May 2002||8,973||55||7,350||45||21|
|Newcastle-under-Lyme||2 May 2002||12,912||44||16,468||56||31.5|
|Oxford||2 May 2002||14,692||44||18,686||56||34|
|Stoke-on-Trent||2 May 2002||28,601||58||20,578||42||27|
|Stoke-on-Trent||23 October 2008||14,592||41||21,231||59||19.23|
|Corby||1 October 2002||5,351||46||6239||54||31|
|Ealing||12 December 2002||9,454||45||11,655||55||10|
|Ceredigion||20 May 2004||5,308||27||14,013||73||36|
|Isle of Wight||5 May 2005||28,786||43.7||37,097||56.3||60.4|
|Fenland||14 July 2005||5,509||24.2||17,296||75.8||33.6|
|Torbay||14 July 2005||18,074||55.2||14,682||44.8||32.1|
|Crewe and Nantwich||4 May 2006||11,808||38.2||18,768||60.8||35.3|
|Darlington||27 September 2007||7,981||41.6||11,226||58.4||24.6|
|Bury||3 July 2008||10,338||40.1||15,425||59.9||18.3|
|Tower Hamlets||6 May 2010||60,758||60.3||39,857||39.7||62.1|
|Great Yarmouth||5 May 2011||10,051||39.2||15,595||60.8||36|
|Salford||26 January 2012||17,344||56.0||13,653||44.0||18.1|
 2012 referendums
On 3 May 2012 the following cities held referendums to decide whether or not to switch to a system that includes a directly elected mayor:
The referendum to move to an elected mayoral system was successful in Bristol but was rejected by voters in all the other cities.
 See also
- Hunt, Tristram (16 May 2004). "Why cities can thank the Tories". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Tory elected as mayor of Torbay". BBC News. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Local government reform - England". City Mayors. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "Voters' 'No' to mayor". BBC News. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- Annabel Goldie: A One-Nation party - News and Press - Scottish Conservative Party[dead link]
- Watson, Nick (19 October 2006). "West Midlands: Government 'night-mayor'". BBC. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Manchester 'should have elected mayor'". BBC News. 16 April 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "City votes to eject elected mayor". BBC News. 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- Mulholland, Hélène. "Mayor H'Angus the Monkey finally loses his Hartlepool habitat". The Guardian (16 November 2012). Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Sherman, Jill (4 September 2006). "Voters aim to throw out mayors they say are acting like dictators". The Times (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Waugh, Rob. "Councillors back referendum on mayoral system - Yorkshire Post". Yorkshiretoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "Parallels H-Sphere". Bringbackdemocracy.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "Salford referendum votes for directly elected mayor". BBC News. 27 January 2012.
- Godwin-Pearson, Graham. "Bow Group - Why England's cities should say 'Yes' to elected mayors". bowgroup.org. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "Liverpool council votes to elect city mayor". BBC News. 7 February 2012.
- "Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 2853". Opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) Regulations 2001". Opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "Directly-elected mayors: Final day of public consultation". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- Directory of current mayors
- NLGN mayoral pages (inc. FAQ)
- Arguments for elected mayors
- Arguments against elected mayors
- UK Parliament briefing paper (PDF)
- Institute for Government mayoral pages
- Warwick Commission on Elected Mayors and City Leadership