Referendum on how Bath & North East Somerset Council is run

Bath & North East Somerset Council has received a valid petition seeking to change the way the Council is run, from a Leader and Cabinet Executive to an Elected Mayor and Cabinet Executive. Under The Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions) Regulations 2011 the Council must hold a referendum to consider the proposed change.

The referendum was held on Thursday 10 March 2016, between the hours of 7am and 10pm.

Result of Referendum 

Background to the Referendum

 

Referendum questions

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to answer a question on a particular proposal. Voters will be asked to vote on their preferred choice by marking the ballot paper.

The question asked at the referendum on Thursday 10 March

The question to be asked in this referendum is:

How would you like Bath & North East Somerset Council to be run?

By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now.

OR

By a mayor who is elected by voters. This would be a change from how the council is run now.

How to vote at this referendum

The question printed on the ballot paper is:

How would you like Bath & North East Somerset Council to be run?

By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now.

OR

By a mayor who is elected by voters. This would be a change from how the council is run now.

When you are given the ballot paper at your local polling station on Thursday 10 March (or when you receive your postal vote if you have applied to vote by post), mark a cross (X) in the box on the right hand side of the answer of your choice. Vote ONCE only. Put no other mark on the ballot paper, or your vote may not be counted.

Is there a minimum turnout required for the referendum proposal to be implemented?

There is no minimum turnout threshold. The answer with the majority of votes cast at the referendum will be implemented.

What happens if the majority of votes cast in the referendum is in favour of the Council being run by a leader?

As this is how the Council is run now there will be no change to the Council's governance arrangements.

What happens if the majority of votes cast in the referendum is in favour of the Council being run by a mayor?

The way the Council is run would change, and an election for a mayor would take place in October 2016.

The Council has drawn up proposals on the operation of its governance arrangements under a directly elected mayor. The proposals can be viewed here.

If there is a change to the way the Council is run, could there be another petition to revert to the previous system?

If a local authority changes its governance arrangements as a result of a referendum, then the local authority cannot hold another referendum to make a further change (such as reverting back to the previous system) for ten years.

Who decides how the referendum is run?

The organisation and administration of the referendum, which is conducted in accordance with procedures similar to those used at local government elections, is regulated by legislation. The conduct of the referendum is the personal responsibility of the Counting Officer who, although appointed by the Council, is not responsible to the Council, but is directly accountable to the courts as an independent statutory office holder.

Register to vote

You can vote at this referendum if you are registered to vote, are 18 or over on Thursday 10 March 2016 and are:

  • a British citizen
  • a European Union citizen
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen

British citizens living abroad and registered to vote as overseas electors cannot vote at this Referendum.

If you are not yet registered at your current address, it's easy and quick to do online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Remember to have your National Insurance Number available before you start.

You must be registered to vote by midnight on Tuesday 23 February 2016 in order to be able to vote at this Referendum.

Voting in person at the polling station

Most people vote in person at their polling station. It's straightforward but if you're not sure what to do, a member of staff will always be there to help.

You should receive a poll card between 2 February and 10 February telling you where your polling station is. If it doesn't come, you can contact us to ensure that you are registered to vote and to find out where your polling station is.

You don't need your poll card to vote, so don't worry if you lose or forget it.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. Make sure you arrive in plenty of time.

Voting by post

If you can't go to the polling station on Thursday 10 March you can apply to vote by post.

To apply to vote by post you need to be registered to vote by Tuesday 23 February 2016. Once you are registered to vote, you'll need to send an application form to vote by post to the Counting Officer, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW, to arrive by 5pm on Wednesday 24 February 2016.

You can download a postal application form and find out more details about voting by post here.

If you are registered to vote by post, you will receive your ballot paper about a week before polling day. If it doesn't arrive by Friday 4 March 2016 you can contact us and ask a replacement up until 5pm on Thursday 10 March 2016.

Voting by proxy

If you can't go to the polling station on Thursday 10 March and don't wish to vote by post, you may be able to vote by proxy. This means allowing somebody you trust to vote on your behalf.

To apply to vote by proxy you need to be registered to vote by Tuesday 23 February 2016. Once you are registered to vote, you'll need to send an application form to vote by proxy to the Counting Officer, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW, to arrive by 5pm on Wednesday 2 March 2016. When you apply for a proxy vote you have to state why you can't vote in person.

You can download a proxy application form and find out more details about voting by proxy here.

If you have a medical or work related emergency, which occurs after 5pm on Wednesday 2 March 2016 and this means you can't go to the polling station, you can apply to vote by emergency proxy.

You can download an emergency proxy application form here.

Referendum official notices

Notice in connection with the referendum

Published on Thursday 17 December 2015

Notice of referendum

Published on Tuesday 2 February 2016

Notice of poll and situation of polling stations

Published on Wednesday 2 March 2016

Notice of result

Due to be published on Friday 11 March 2016

 

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