Won't you just get a mayor from the party in charge today?
Our campaign is focused on a fairly system for electing a leader of Croydon council. One which we think will make them more accountable to all the voters of the borough. What happens after the trigger point, the people of Croydon must decide.
I already vote for councillors. How does this improve democracy?
A democratically elected mayor would replace a council leader who we have no ability to vote for. It is the council leader, or mayor, who sets policies, such as for planning matters and Croydon's Local Plan. Taking planning as an example, the Planning Committee must adhere to these policies when deciding individual planning applications. Currently, if voters disagree with these policies, we have no recourse, however with a mayor, if we disagreed with their policies, he/she could potentially be voted out of office.
What powers will the Mayor have and are these different to the council leader?
The powers of the mayor have broadly similar functions to that of the council leader. These are described as either "exclusive" powers or "co-decision" powers and are defined in the Local Government (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000.
Co-decision powers are those the mayor shares with the council, notably the power to make the local authority's annual budget and its policy framework documents. These are: Annual Library Plan; Best Value Performance Plan; Children's Services Plan; Community Care Plan; Community Strategy; Crime and Disorder Reduction Strategy; Early Years Development Plan; Education Development Plan; Local Development Framework; and the Youth Justice Plan. To amend or reject a mayor's proposals for any of these documents, the council must resolve to do so by a two-thirds majority. This is again based on secondary legislation, in this case the Local Government (Standing Orders) (England) Regulations 2001.
Exclusive powers are less easy to define, because they consist of all the powers that are granted to a local authority by Act of Parliament except those defined either as co-decision powers or as "not to be the responsibility of an authority's executive". This latter is a limited list, including quasi-judicial decisions on planning and licensing, and certain ceremonial, employment and legal decisions.
An elected mayor also has the power to appoint up to nine councillors as members of a cabinet and to delegate powers, either to them as individuals, or to the Mayor and Cabinet committee, or to subcommittees of the Mayor and Cabinet committee. In practice, the mayor remains personally accountable, so most mayors have chosen to delegate to a very limited extent—if at all.
Local authorities in Britain remain administered by a permanent staff of chief officers led by a chief executive or chief operating officer who are politically neutral bureaucrats. Their powers remain unaffected by the introduction of elected mayor. Senior officers continue to be appointed by a politically representative committee of councillors, and the mayor may not attempt to influence the decision as to who is appointed (except within the committee as a member of the committee). To maintain the staff's professional and political independence, the mayor (or any other member of the council) may not personally direct any member of staff. Accordingly, an elected mayor cannot really be accurately characterised as an executive mayor, as in parts of the US and certain other countries, but more as a semi-executive mayor.
A mayor is democratically elected by the constituents in the borough. A council leader is appointed in private by a group of councillors.
The planning committee must adhere to council policy and the Local Plan when deciding planning applications. This policy is largely controlled by the council leader, or mayor. If we dislike the policy currently, we have no recourse. If there were a mayor, we would have the power to vote against decisions we disagreed with.
DEMOC are seeking support in a borough-wide referendum where the voters will chose if they want a mayor or not, to improve democracy in Croydon.
Do other councils have an elected mayor?
Yes, there are many local authorities which have chosen an elected mayor
For an up-to-date list, head over to Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directly_elected_mayors_in_England_and_Wales
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Who runs the DEMOC campaign?
We are just a group of local residents in the borough of Croydon who have come together believing that a democratically elected mayor would benefit Croydon.
For more details see our About Us page
How can we assist the Democ Campaign?
We are after people who can help leaflet, provide financial support or just spread the word.
Please see our page "Volunteer Information” and sign up for further details……
Don’t we already have a mayor?
Yes we do, however that is largely an honorific title with no official powers.
We are proposing an elected mayor who would replace the council leader and hold the same powers as the latter.
Won’t having an election for Mayor cost the council more?
No. It is simply replacing a council leader with a mayor.
All the infrastructure is in place, the necessary personnel, the office space etc. We are just swapping one person whom the public cannot elect for a person they can.
Even with a democratically elected mayor, won’t the current Councillors still control the Planning Committee and carry on passing all applications on a 6-4 majority?
A democratically elected mayor would have significant input into the Local Plan which the planning committee must abide by when deciding on planning issues.