Home > Elections > Mayoral petitions

Mayoral petitions

You can petition your council to hold a referendum on whether local people should elect a mayor to lead the council and the community it serves.

What is our current arrangement?

Each local authority has an executive - a group of people who are in charge of what the council does. Depending on the local arrangements, the executive is organised in one of three ways:

  • A directly elected mayor and a cabinet of councillors
  • A leader elected by the council and a cabinet of councillors
  • A directly elected mayor and a council manager appointed by the council

We have adopted the second option of a leader elected by the council, and a cabinet of councillors.

What is a directly elected mayor?

A directly elected mayor is elected by all the voters in the council's area to be the head of the council's decision-making body.

A directly elected mayor should not be confused with a ceremonial mayor. In many local authority areas a ceremonial mayor represents the area. (For example there are ceremonial mayors for the Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Lowestoft areas).

Why is a referendum necessary?

The introduction of a directly elected mayor is a significant constitutional change and so a vote is held to give all voters in the area the chance to choose if they would want this to happen.

In order to call a referendum for a directly elected mayor, a petition must be compiled which is signed by 5% of the number of local government electors that are shown in the current Register of Electors. This 5% figure is called the 'verification figure' and is published annually as a formal notice.