Friday, 7 September 2007

How to get a local referendum!

Via Jonathan Miller, in the comments to previous post (but worth highlighting):
This article appeared in the January 2002 issue of Sovereignty. The info originally appeared in SchNEWS, Issue 182, 4-9-98,
Not many people know that the following extraordinarily democratic provision exists in England and Wales. It can be usefully exploited by activists on any number of issues. We need more of this kind of direct democracy.Under the 1972 Local Government Act, civic Parish Councils in England (Community Councils in Wales) can vote to request their local District Council to hold a referendum on any issue of concern to the local parish.Once the Parish Council has voted in favour, the District Council has to carry out the referendum.
1 - Choose the issue.
2 - Decide the wording of the question.
3 - With at least five other local parish residents, approach the Parish Council and request a Parish Council meeting.
4 - Advertise the meeting.
5 - At least 10 people must be present at the meeting, where a formal motion must be put forward to support a referendum (the wording of the referendum must be part of the resolution) and a vote taken.
6 - The motion can only be carried if a third of those present, or at least 10 (whichever is the least) vote in favour.
7 - Take the resolution to the District Council and submit a request for a referendum, invoking your right under Schedule 12, Part III, para.18(4) and (5) at page 2275 of the Local Government Act (1972). In Wales it is Schedule 12, Part V, para.34(4) and (5) at page 2279. The District Council must respond within a week and the referendum has to be held within 14-25 days of the request being submitted.
8 - Publicise the referendum and campaign for your cause.Getting the Council to do anything about the issue is, of course, the next step after winning the referendum, but your case will be strengthened with a democratic mandate.
Update via Jorgen: only some rural and smaller urban areas have Parish Councils. They are none in Greater London.


Henry North London 2.0 said...

Have to get a local councillor involved

Im going to message my MP with this and ask her for a referendum in Haringey

j. said...

You mean a Civil Parish (which Greater London is forbidden to have)?

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Thats why I had to ask Lynne Featherstone... I didnt think there were any parish councils left in Greater London

Mark Wadsworth said...

HNL, J, thanks. Not good news.

j. said...

1. You can't win.
2. You can't even break even.
3. You can't get out of the game.