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.
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, this
is the system operated at Dacorum.
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 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
Referendums are now regularly used by local
councils to test public opinion on local issues. These referendums
are not regulated by law.
More information on referendums is available
on the Electoral Commission website.
For more information: