Referendum on future of Elected Mayor system?

Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn.

A referendum could be held on whether North Tyneside maintains its current Elected Mayor governance.

A report will go to North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet next month asking Full Council to hold a public referendum.

If approved, a referendum would be held on whether electors wish to maintain the current Elected Mayor and Cabinet model or change to another system.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “When I was elected I promised to be a listening Mayor and to consider everyone’s views.

“As I confirmed in a Council meeting last year, I understand that there are differing views on the form of governance that should be implemented in North Tyneside.

“I have therefore asked that this item be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting.

“Cabinet will be asked to invite Full Council – therefore all 60 councillors representing the borough’s residents – to consider this and decide whether they agree a referendum should be held to retain the Elected Mayor and Cabinet form of governance.

“This would allow any referendum to be held on May 5, 2016, alongside the local elections and the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Following the referendum, if a change in governance is needed, that would then be able to be implemented from May 2017.”

Prior to Full Council considering whether to carry out the referendum there will be an engagement process to consider which alternative option to the current Mayor and Cabinet governance arrangements, should be on the ballot paper.

The Local Government Act 2000 allows local authorities to change their governance arrangements and requires that this must be either:

• An Executive arrangement – which involves either an Elected Mayor (elected by residents of North Tyneside) and Cabinet, or an Executive Leader (elected by councillors) and Cabinet

• Or a committee system – where decisions are taken by committees comprising members from all political groups.

North Tyneside Council adopted the Elected Mayor model of governance from May 2002, following a referendum held in November 2001.

The Elected Mayor is the authority’s principal public spokesperson, gives political direction to the authority and appoints the Cabinet and Deputy Mayor to work with them.

The Cabinet will consider the future governance arrangement for the Authority at a meeting on November 23