Referendums and verification number

Information about referendums at local and national levels and the verification number which is equal to 5% of the local government electorate on 15 February every year.

UK-wide, national and regional referendums

The political parties, elections and referendums act 2000 establishes a legal framework for the conduct of any referendum held across the UK or in Scotland, Wales, England or Northern Ireland. It also applies to regional referendums within England.

Governance referendums

The Local Government Act 2000 sets out the governance arrangements for local authorities in England and Wales. Most local authorities, except some of the smaller district councils, operate "executive arrangements". Two types of executive arrangements are set out in the Act - a directly-elected mayor and cabinet, or a leader, who is elected as leader of the executive by the authority, and cabinet.

Since 2001, we have operated a leader and cabinet form of executive.

The act, and supporting regulations, require a local authority that receives a petition that complies with the regulations to hold a referendum on whether the authority should have the governance arrangements proposed in the petition.

Local residents can require a referendum on prescribed constitutional changes (for example, from leader and cabinet executive to mayor and cabinet executive) by organising a petition signed by five per cent of the local government electors on the electoral register. For North Yorkshire, in the year to 15 February 2023, this means 23,942 people.

Further information is available on the Electoral Commission website.

Other referendums

Referendums are used by some local councils to test public opinion on local issues. These are not regulated by law.

Verification number notice

The authority’s proper officer has published the number that is equal to 5% of the number of local government electors shown in the electoral registers having effect for North Yorkshire on 15 February 2023, for the purposes of determining the validity of any petition for a referendum on whether the authority should change to a different form of governance presented after 31 March 2023 and before 1 April 2024.

2024 Verification number notice

This Notice is published in accordance with Regulations 4 and 5 of the Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions) (England) Regulations 2011.

The authority’s proper officer has published the number that is equal to 5% of the number of local government electors shown in the electoral registers having effect for North Yorkshire on 15 February 2024.  

The number so published is 24,244. This number will have effect for the purposes of determining the validity of any petition for a referendum on whether the authority should change to a different form of governance presented after 31 March 2024 and before 1 April 2025, unless a different number has effect by virtue of the following paragraph.  

Where the number equal to 5% of the number of local government electors as shown in the registers having effect on 15 February 2025 is less than that now published, the lesser number shall be used for verification purposes in relation to any petition received during the period beginning on the date of publication of the lesser number and ending immediately before 1 April 2025.

Barry Khan, Assistant Chief Executive Legal and Democratic Services

North Yorkshire Council, County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AD

15 February 2024