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Southwark LBC has been directed to hold a referendum on whether ...
Southwark LBC has been directed to hold a referendum on whether

to have an elected mayor, local government minister Nick Raynsford

announced today.

In line with the council's request, the secretary of state's

direction requires the referendum to be held on or before 1 February

2002. Any consequential mayoral election would be held at the same

time as normal local elections to the council, due to be held on 2

May 2002.

Mr Raynsford said:

'We have made clear that where consultation shows local support for

an elected mayor, people should not be denied the opportunity to

choose in a referendum whether or not to have one. The people of

Southwark now can make that choice.'

Ministers have also decided that they are no longer minded to direct

Dudley MBC to have a referendum, subject to the results of

further consultation supporting their original proposals for a leader

and cabinet constitution. Dudley has been asked to provide details of

the further consultation by 7 December 2001, and ministers will

review the situation then.

Mr Raynsford said:

'Dudley have now agreed to do more consultation to see just what

local support there is for their proposed new constitution, where the

council elects the leader. If local support is confirmed, the council

will be able to go ahead as they propose.'


1. Background information in relation to Part II of the Local

Government Act 2000, the introduction of executive arrangements in

local authorities, and the status of an elected mayor is set out here.

2. Today's decisions follow on from letters sent to Southwark LBC

and Dudley MBC on 4 October. Those letters indicated that the

secretary of state was at that time minded to direct those councils

to hold a referendum, and sought their comments on that view.

3. In the case of Southwark, the basis for that view was that it

appeared that the council had not had due regard to the results of

its consultation. In its reply of 18 October, Southwark accepted that

a direction would be made and requested that the direction require

the referendum to be held on or before 1 February 2002. The direction

to Southwark requires them to:

- Draw up new proposals, that include the holding of a binding

referendum on whether to adopt a form of constitution involving an

elected mayor working with an executive cabinet;

- Provide for the leader and cabinet model to be the fall-back

arrangements (to be adopted if the referendum result is a 'NO'); and

- Hold the mayoral referendum in time for any subsequent mayoral

election to be held on 2 May 2002.

4. In the case of Dudley MBC, the secretary of state felt that the

council had not taken reasonable steps to undertake the consultation

required by the legislation. In its reply of 18 October, Dudley MBC

maintained that there was no basis on which to hold a referendum, but

offered to conduct further consultation with local people in order to

alleviate the concerns of the secretary of state. The full text of

today's letter to Dudley is attached.


Thank you for your letter of 18 October 2001 in response to mine of 4


The Secretary of State has considered carefully the views of Dudley

Metropolitan Borough Council, as set out in your letter. He notes

that your council is prepared to undertake further quantitative

consultation with its Citizens' Panel and that you are able to

undertake such consultation within 3 weeks from the date of your


Subject to your council undertaking such consultation before the end

of November 2001, and to the results of that consultation supporting

the decision your council has taken to propose a Leader & Cabinet

form of constitution, the Secretary of State is no longer minded to

direct Dudley to hold a referendum.

Accordingly, I should be grateful if you would please inform me in

writing no later than 7 December 2001 as to what further consultation

your council has undertaken, including the steps which your council

has taken as part of that consultation, the outcome of that

consultation, and the extent to which that outcome supports the

decision your council has taken about its proposals for a new


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