Should Bracknell have an Executive Mayor?

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?

Clearly both Leader & Cabinet and (Directly Elected) Mayor & Cabinet both give the majority of executive power to a single person but the main difference is the Mayor is elected by the electorate he/she serves rather than a council leader who is selected by the council its self.

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.

Directly elected mayors are local government executive leaders, elected by the people and chairs of their area’s mayoral combined authority. The mayor, in conjunction with the combined authority, exercises the powers and functions devolved from Government. The Government believes the role ensures clear accountability over the powers, functions and funding that is devolved from national government to a local level. The earliest a mayoral election will take place is May 2017.
(more information about Directly Elected Executive Mayors can be found here: http://www.local.gov.uk/devolution/directly-elected-mayors)
How do we do this?

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.

Source: http://www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/referendumfigureforelectedmayors

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)

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