Consultation over future governance of Liverpool

Residents in Liverpool are set to be asked their views on how the city is governed from 2023.

It follows the passing of a motion at a Full Council meeting in January, which asked council officers to draw up and implement a full and meaningful consultation over the future model of political leadership in the city.

A report to the Cabinet on Friday, 18 March proposes a letter is sent to every household in the city, with a secure link to an online portal, to answer the question: “How would you like Liverpool City Council to be run?”

The options are the three forms of governance that are allowed by law:

• By a Mayor who is directly elected by voters every 4 years (current system)

• By a Leader who is an elected councillor, chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors

• By one or more Committees made up of elected councillors

The documentation will include a summary of how the consultation is being conducted and information about the models of governance and how they are different.

There will be instructions in multiple languages, to make it as accessible as possible and paper copies of the voting form will be available on request for those without internet access.

A digital information campaign in support of the consultation will also take place to raise awareness and encourage participation.

If approved, the consultation will begin on Monday, 28 March and end on Monday, 20 June, after which officers will collate and analyse the responses.

The outcome of the consultation will be reported to Full Council who will make the final decision on whether to change governance arrangements.

A referendum on whether to change governance arrangements was ruled out by Full Council on cost grounds as it is estimated it would have a price tag of £450k, compared to £120k for the consultation.

Any change in governance will take effect from the elections in May 2023, and will be binding on the Council for five years.

It will still be possible to hold a referendum in this period if a petition of 5% of electors is presented to the council asking for a referendum of Liverpool electors to vote on whether to change governance model.

City Solicitor, Dan Fenwick, said: “The Council wants to give as many people as possible the chance to have their say over the future governance of Liverpool City Council.

“A consultation is the only way that local people can express a preference for all three available governance models and we have made the process as clear and simple as we can.

“People’s views in the consultation will be reported back to the Council, which will make the final decision on whether to keep the mayoralty or move to a different model of governance from May 2023.

“I look forward to hearing what residents have to say and encourage everyone to take part.”

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