North Tyneside to hold council referendum

Press release: An abstract view of the Council crest

Voters in North Tyneside are to be asked if they want the council to continue to be run by an Elected Mayor or by an alternative system.

This follows a promise made by Norma Redfearn, the borough’s Elected Mayor, to allow the electorate to decide on the form of local governance they want.

At a meeting of the full council last night (Thursday) councillors agreed that a referendum should be held on May 5, the same day as local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections which is the most cost-effective way to do it.

They also decided that voters will have two choices – stay with the current Elected Mayor and Cabinet model or change to a committee system (with a leader) where decisions are taken by committees comprising members from all political groups.

If the referendum results call for a change then this will take effect at the end of the Elected Mayor’s current term of office in May 2017.  If the outcome is to support the current system the next Mayoral election will take place on 4 May 2017.

Councillors were informed that a consultation on a possible referendum and options available was held in November and December and included a web-based survey and discussions with a residents’ panel, staff and business partners.

Welcoming the announcement, Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “Before I was elected in May 2013, residents asked me to hold a referendum and I promised I would take it forward. This referendum will give the voters of North Tyneside the opportunity to choose how they want their council to be governed from May next year.”

North Tyneside Council adopted the Elected Mayor model of governance from May 2002, following a referendum held in November 2001. The Elected Mayor is the authority's principal public spokesperson, gives political direction to the authority and appoints the Cabinet and Deputy Mayor to work with them.