The council intends to hold a referendum in May 2016 on how the Council is run from 2019 onwards.
This referendum will ask whether the council should continue to run as it is now, by a Mayor who is elected by Torbay’s voters, or by one of two alternatives. The alternatives are as follows:
• A Leader and Cabinet system
• Committee system
Only one of these alternative options can be included in the referendum and the council is giving residents the opportunity to find out more, and to say which alternative should be included, at a number of drop-in sessions being held over the next few weeks.
Although the referendum will be held in 2016 any change would not be implemented until May 2019, as the term of office for the Elected Mayor does not end until 2019.
Residents are also being encouraged to make sure they are registered to vote so that they are able to have their say in the referendum.
What’s the difference between each system?
• Directly Elected Mayor (how the council is currently run) is whereby voters of Torbay elect the Mayor who is then appointed for four years to represent the whole of Torbay. The Mayor cannot be replaced unless they chose to stand down, in which case a bi-election would be held. The Mayor is responsible for making major decisions within the council’s budget and policies which are set by the council, which includes all councillors and the Mayor. The Mayor chooses a number of councillors, up to nine, who form his Executive and he can give them decision making powers.
• Leader and Cabinet system is whereby voters elect councillors to their ward, the which area they live in. Torbay has 36 councillors and the Leader would be chosen by them. The Leader would have similar powers as the Mayor as above. However, the significant difference is the council, all 36 councillors, can chose to replace the Leader with another councillor.
• Committee System is whereby voters elect councillors to their ward, the area they live in. The committee system is different from the directly elected Mayor and the Leader and Cabinet system as no decision making powers are given to any one councillor. All decisions taken by councillors are made at council meetings or at committees or sub-committees with delegations from the council.
In order to vote in the referendum in 2016, all eligible residents must be on the register of electors.
Electoral registration forms have recently been delivered to all properties and residents are being urged to respond if they have not already done so.
Councillor Andy Lang, Executive Lead for Corporate Services, said: “Anyone who wants to vote must be registered. To make sure you are able to have your say at the referendum next year, simply check the form when it arrives and return it as promptly as possible. You can use the online service if there are any changes to the information, or the telephone or text service if there are no changes to the information.
“If you are not currently registered, we will send you information explaining how to do this or you can just go online to apply to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote .”
To find out more about the referendum, to ask any questions and to air any views, residents are invited to come and talk to us on the following dates:
• 4 August – Paignton Library and Information Centre, 11.30am to 2.30pm
• 13 August – Brixham Fore Street, 11.30am to 2.30pm
• 18 August – Torquay Union Square, 11.30am to 2.30pm
Residents can also go online to find out more and to have their say at www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation
The consultation will run from Monday 3rd August to Monday 31st August 2015.
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