Under the Local Government Act 2000 you have the right to ask for a referendum on changing council governance arrangements, if you’d like to move to a mayor and cabinet arrangement to manage the council.
Local authorities are required to adopt one of three types of executive arrangements, which govern how decisions will be made within the council:
- Leader & cabinet
The council elects a leader who then selects his/her own executive cabinet each with their own specific expertise/responsibility (current arrangement used by BFBC).
- Elected mayor & cabinet
Every four years electorate (residents) directly elect a mayor who has has executive powers and is responsible for the effective implementation of council policy and delivering services along with their cabinet of eight elected members each with a specific portfolio responsibility.
- Committee system
Council elects a leader to represent the authority, but they have no executive power. Power is exercised by a number of committees (normally made up of councillors).
So what’s the difference?
Buy why choose a mayor and cabinet?
An executive mayor is ‘Directly Elected’ which means YOU get to elect a new one every 4 years.
The present system has seen the same leader of the council in-place since 1997 and he is actually elected buy one of the smallest (if not the smallest) electorate in the entire borough (Little Sandhurst and Wellington) and is then selected as leader by a majority vote within the council its self.
Which sounds nice and democratic! But unfortunately its all slightly tarnished by the fact the leader chooses the executive so you can end up with a situation where the council tends to select the same leader time-and-time again to make sure a similar make-up of the executive are selected.
Regulations under the Act provide for a referendum to be held where a minimum of 5% of local government electors (residents registered to vote) petition the council for a referendum on whether the council should operate executive arrangements which involve an elected mayor.
Bracknell Forest Council are required to publish the number of electors that is equal to 5% of the number registered to vote at a local government election as shown on the electoral register on 15 February 2016. The 5% figure for Bracknell Forest Council this year is 4290. This figure will have effect for the purposes of determining the validity of petitions presented from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.
The number equal to 5% of the local government electors for 2017 will be published within 14 days of 15 February 2017. (it is estimated to be around 4,200 required signatures)