The Local Government Act 2000 introduced the possibility of referendums on whether councils should in principle have elected mayors.
A referendum is a necessary step before a council can adopt the elected mayor option for its executive arrangements. A referendum must be held if an authority receives a valid petition from the required number of electors. The number required is published each February, in the form of an advertisement in the local newspaper. The number represents 5% of the electorate of the area.
Once it has been determined, following a successful referendum, that an elected mayor is to be elected, the term of office is 4 years.
There are about a dozen elected mayors throughout the country.
For further information and advice on (a) the procedure for organising a petition and (b) elected mayors generally, visit www.nlgn.org.uk/public