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Bristol residents vote to abolish mayoral position in favour of committee system

Bristol City Council will adopt a committee system after residents voted in favour of the new form of governance in a city-wide referendum held yesterday (5 May 2022).

In total, 59% of (56,113) residents voted in favour of a governance arrangement of one or more committees made up of elected councillors, while 40% (38,439) voted to continue having a mayor.

Bristol City Council's current mayor, Marvin Rees, will remain in his position until his term ends in May 2024. The new governance system will be implemented once his tenure is over.  

A total of 94,937 residents voted in an electorate of 332,028.

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Turnout for the referendum was 28.6%.

In a document laying out the basics of how the committee structure would work, the council said that Full Council would be the strategic decision-making body of the local authority.

However, Full Council will mainly delegate its powers to committees of councillors or to officers. As part of this, the authority said it will establish a number of committees with responsibility for the following major policy and service areas:

  • Finance and Performance
  • Adult Social Care
  • Education
  • Children's Services
  • Transport
  • Environment and Housing

The authority will also set up regulatory committees, with responsibility for matters such as planning, licensing, audit and human resources, according to the document.

Last month Sheffield City Council approved plans to adopt a committee system following a referendum held in 2020.

A number of other councils are considering the switch, including Liverpool City Council, which is set to consult residents on its governance arrangements next year.

Adam Carey

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