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).
Further information on a mayoral referendum is available on The Electoral Commission