to have an elected mayor, local government minister Nick Raynsford
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
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.
LETTER TO DUDLEY COUNCIL
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