What is the difference between the Current Leader model and the Directly Elected Mayor model?
We found this very useful:
It’s a briefing paper from the website of Briefing on proposals for directly elected mayors
The legislation allowing for directly elected mayors has been in place since 2000. Since the powers were introduced 37 referendums have taken place. 24 have been rejected and 13 approved. Currently 14 UK towns and cities have chosen to have directly elected mayors.
The post of mayor of London was introduced without a referendum in 2000. In Stoke on Trent local people voted in favour of a directly elected mayor in 2002 but in 2008 voted again, and choose to abolish the post.
The Localism Act requires a referendum to be held in May 2012 to decide whether to introduce directly elected mayors in England’s 11 largest towns (including Bristol). If supported, the government says an election for a directly elected mayor will take place ‘shortly after’, probably in May 2013.
The election for mayors will use the supplementary voting system, where a first and second choice can be cast. If no single candidate receives a majority the top two candidates go through to a second count, and other candidates are eliminated. If a voters first choice is eliminated their second vote is allocated.
What powers do existing elected mayors currently have?
Currently local authority elected mayors outside London have powers similar to those of the executive committee in a Leader and Cabinet model local authority such as Bristol. The mayor of London has extended powers particularly around transport, economic development and housing. Local authority elected mayors have:
o The power to appoint up to nine councillors as members of a cabinet and to delegate power (although the mayor remains ultimately accountable).
o Co-decision powers which the mayor shares with the council, notably the power to make the local authority’s annual budget and its policy framework documents.
What powers don’t directly elected mayors have?
Apart from council tax, elected mayors don’t currently have tax raising powers or powers over quasi-judicial decision making such as planning and licensing. 1
What is the difference between an elected mayor and a council leader?
Unlike council leaders, the Localism Act says that elected mayors will:
o Be elected on four year terms, during which they will not be able to be removed by the council members (unlike council leaders).
o Only need one third of councillors to agree the budget and local policy frameworks, in contrast to the majority required by the council leader.
o Have the option for greater administrative power by merging the role of the mayor and the chief executive.
The Localism Act enables the Secretary of State to confer new powers, and the functions of public bodies, onto elected mayors or any local authority. They will be eligible to make an application to the Secretary of State to take over other ‘local public functions that are a high priority for their communities’.
Consultation on proposed powers
The government is consulting on what other powers elected mayors should have (until Tuesday 3 January, 2012).
The consultation requires that any suggestions http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2021265for powers for elected mayors’ should explain:
o What the benefits are that this would bring to the city and its people
o Why the mayor would be the most appropriate level for this responsibility.
o How this power would promote economic development or wealth creation or increase local accountability.
Find out more
Full details of the consultation on proposals for elected mayors can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website