What is the difference between the two models

Both models are executive models of governance. Most of the council’s powers are held by the executive (cabinet) which takes the significant policy and strategic decisions and delegates operational decisions to officers.

Important powers are reserved for decision by full council, including setting the budget and council tax, approval of specified major policies and decisions relating to regulatory decisions (such as planning and licensing) and key governance matters. Like an executive, council can delegate those powers to committees and officers. 

Both leaders and directly elected mayors are the political leaders of the council and have overall responsibility for council policy and the delivery of services. 

A key difference between the two models is that the leader model enables other elected councillors to choose the leader, whereas the mayoral model allows the local electorate to decide who the leader of the council and decision-maker will be for the executive. 

The leader model

  • The executive is comprised of a leader and cabinet. It is the model adopted in most councils. 
  • The leader is a councillor who is elected by full council for up to 4 years. A leader stays in office except for death, disqualification, resignation or after being removed by a vote in full Council. 
  • If a leader is removed, they must be replaced by another councillor by a vote at full council. 
  • The leader must appoint a deputy leader, who acts when the leader is unable to act or on death, disqualification or resignation until a new leader is appointed by full council. 
  • The leader must appoint a cabinet of between 2 to 9 councillors including the deputy leader and decide their portfolios. 
  • The cabinet does not need to be politically balanced. 
  • The leader holds all executive powers but may delegate them to the cabinet, cabinet committees, individual cabinet members and officers. 
  • Council can only exercise powers reserved to it by law, including approval of the budget, major policies, regulatory and governance/constitutional powers. 
  • This model must have at least one overview and scrutiny committee appointed by Council, which holds the executive to account. 

The mayoral model 

  • In the mayoral model, the executive is comprised of the elected mayor and cabinet. 
  • Executive powers are held by the Mayor who may delegate powers to the executive collectively, or to individual cabinet members or a committee of cabinet members or to officers. The mayoral model under consideration in Croydon is that the Mayor would delegate powers to the cabinet so that decisions are made collectively, as at present under the leader/ cabinet model.
  • The mayor is directly elected, by the local electorate, every four years and is not a councillor. 
  • The mayor cannot be removed by council but only on resignation, disqualification or death, when a by-election is held. 
  • The mayor must appoint a deputy mayor, who acts when the mayor is unable to act or on death or resignation until a by-election is held. 
  • The mayor must appoint a cabinet of between 2 to 9 councillors including the deputy mayor and decide their portfolios. 
  • The cabinet does not need to be politically balanced. 
  • This model must have at least one overview and scrutiny committee appointed by Council, which holds the executive to account.

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