In England, local authorities are required to adopt one of three types of executive arrangements, which govern how decisions will be made within the council. There are currently two principal modes of executive arrangement. They are the "leader and cabinet" and "elected mayor and cabinet" models. A third option "elected mayor and council manager" was withdrawn in 2007. District councils in areas with a county council are entitled to propose alternative executive arrangements.
Leader and cabinet
It consists of the leader and the cabinet itself, which is usually formed by the majority party in the local authority. Each member of the cabinet holds a separate portfolio, such as culture, economic development, education, etc. Also included are committees, such as a standards committee, as well as a scrutiny committee.
The leader and cabinet are responsible for policies, plans and strategies, and for recommending them to the overall council, which is of course convened as a whole, at regular council meetings. Ordinary committees take decisions within the policies, etc., that have been approved by the council. The standards committee ensures the standards of conduct are set and adhered to and the overview and scrutiny committee holds the cabinet to account for its decisions and is responsible that the democratic checks and balances are maintained.
Elected mayor and cabinet
The elected mayor and cabinet model was introduced by the Local Government Act 2000 and a change to this form of executive arrangement requires a local referendum. Since the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 it is also possible for a council to resolve to adopt the model. As of May 2013, fifteen councils are using this model.
Elected mayor and council manager
The elected mayor and council manager option was also introduced by the Local Government Act 2000, but withdrawn by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. The only local authority to adopt the model was Stoke-on-Trent City Council, reverting to leader and cabinet in 2008.
Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2000 allows district councils in two tier areas, with populations under 85,000, to propose alternative executive arrangements. There are around 50 district councils that are eligible to propose alternative arrangements under this provision.
- Act in full at National Archive Accessed: 2 February 2011