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Referenda - general information: Outline

There are a number of different Referendums that can take place. UK-wide, national and regional referendums

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) establishes a fixed legal framework for the conduct of any referendum held across the UK, or a referendum held in Scotland, Wales, England or Northern Ireland. It also applies to regional referendums within England. No referendums have yet been held under this legislation. However a recent Act of Parliament has enabled the holding of referendums on regional assemblies in England.

Mayoral referendums
The Local Government Act 2000 set out a major change in the way local authorities in England and Wales are run. Most local authorities, except some of the smaller district councils in the area of a county council, operate 'executive arrangements'. There are three types of executive arrangement set out in the Act, two of which involve a directly elected mayor: mayor and cabinet, and mayor and council manager. The other involves a leader (who is elected by councillors) and cabinet.

Local authorities consult on which arrangements local people want. If there is a proposal to have a mayor, the local authority must hold a binding referendum. Many councils in England have already conducted consultations with local people on this issue. Local residents can also require a mayoral referendum by organising a petition signed by 5% of local electors or more (10% or more in Wales).

Other referendums
Referendums are now regularly used by local councils to test public opinion on local issues. These referendums are not regulated by law and we have no responsibility for the conduct or other aspects of such referendums.

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