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The Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2001

Draft Legislation:

This is a draft item of legislation. This draft has since been made as a UK Statutory Instrument: The Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2001 No. 1298

Citation, commencement and application

1.  (1)  These Regulations may be cited as the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2001 and shall come into force on the day after that on which they are made.

(2) These Regulations apply to the holding of referendums by local authorities in England.

Interpretation

2.  (1)  In these Regulations, and in any provision as applied by these Regulations—

“the 2000 Act” means the Local Government Act 2000;

“the Elections Act” means the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000(1);

“the RPAct 2000” means the Representation of the People Act 2000(2);

“the 1985 Act” means the Representation of the People Act 1985(3);

“the 1983 Act” means the Representation of the People Act 1983(4);

“the 1986 Regulations” means the Representation of the People Regulations 1986(5);

“the Elections Regulations” means the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001(6);

“the European Parliamentary Elections Rules” means the rules set out in the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999(7);

“the GLA Elections Rules” means the Greater London Authority Elections (No. 2) Rules 2000(8);

“the LGA Referendum Rules” means so much of the Principal Areas Rules as are applied, with or without modification(9), in relation to a referendum by regulation 8 of these Regulations;

“the Parliamentary Elections Rules” means the rules set out in Schedule 1 to the 1983 Act;

“the Petitions and Directions Regulations” means the Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions and Directions) (England) Regulations 2000(10);

“the Principal Areas Rules” means the Local Elections (Principal Areas) Rules 1986(11);

“counting observer” means a person appointed by a counting officer under regulation 13(1)(b);

“counting officer” means a person referred to in regulation 11(1);

“elected mayor”, in relation to a local authority, means an individual elected as mayor of the authority by the local government electors for the authority’s area in accordance with provisions made by or under Part II of the 2000 Act;

“further referendum” means a referendum held in pursuance of an order under regulation 21(3);

“outline fall-back proposals”—

(a)

in relation to proposals under section 25 (proposals) of the 2000 Act, means an outline of the proposals that a local authority intend to implement if their proposals under section 25 are rejected in a referendum;

(b)

in relation to proposals under regulation 17 (action before referendum) or regulation 19 (action on receipt of direction) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations, means an outline of the proposals that a local authority intend to implement if proposals that are to be the subject of a referendum under Part II or Part III of those Regulations are rejected in that referendum;

(c)

in relation to proposals under an order under section 36 (referendum following order) of the 2000 Act, means—

(i)

if the authority are then operating executive or alternative arrangements, a summary of those arrangements;

(ii)

in any other case, an outline of the proposals that the authority intend to implement if proposals that are to be the subject of a referendum are rejected in that referendum;

(d)

in relation to proposals under regulations under section 30 (operation of different executive arrangements) or section 33 (operation of alternative arrangements) of the 2000 Act, means a summary of the authority’s existing executive arrangements or existing alternative arrangements, as the case may be;

“petition organiser”, in relation to a referendum, means a person who is treated for the purposes of paragraph (4) or, as the case may be, paragraph (5) of regulation 10 (formalities of petition) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations, as the petition organiser of any valid petition (whether an amalgamated petition, a constituent petition or a post-announcement petition) received by the council by or in respect of which the referendum is held(12);

“polling observer” means a person appointed by a counting officer under regulation 11(3);

“proper officer” has the meaning given by section 270(3) of the Local Government Act 1972(13);

“proposals date”—

(a)

in relation to a referendum, other than a further referendum, means the date on which proposals—

(i)

under section 25 of the 2000 Act which involve a form of executive for which a referendum is required;

(ii)

under regulation 17 or 19 of the Petitions and Directions Regulations;

(iii)

under an order under section 36 of the 2000 Act; or

(iv)

under regulations under section 30 or 33 of that Act,

are sent to the Secretary of State; and

(b)

in relation to a further referendum, means the day which falls 2 months before the day on which the further referendum is held;

“referendum” means a referendum held under section 27 (referendum in case of proposals involving elected mayor) of the 2000 Act, or by virtue of regulations or an order made under any provision of Part II (arrangements with respect to executives etc.) of the 2000 Act;

“referendum period”, in relation to a referendum (including a further referendum), means the period beginning with—

(a)

where the proposals date precedes the coming into force of these Regulations, the date on which these Regulations come into force;

(b)

in any other case, the proposals date,

and ending on the date of the referendum; and

“voting area” means the area in which a referendum is held.

(2) Any reference in the following provisions of these Regulations to a section followed by a number is, unless the context otherwise requires, a reference to the section of the 2000 Act that bears that number.

The question to be asked in a referendum

3.  (1)  Where the proposals in relation to which a referendum is to be held involve a mayor and cabinet executive(14), the question to be asked in that referendum shall be in the form set out in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 1 to these Regulations.

(2) Where the proposals in relation to which a referendum is to be held involve a mayor and council manager executive(15), the question to be asked in that referendum shall be in the form set out in paragraph 2 of Part I of Schedule 1.

(3) Where the proposals in relation to which a referendum is to be held involve a leader and cabinet executive(16), the question to be asked in that referendum shall be in the form set out in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 1.

Publicity and other information in connection with referendums

4.  (1)  The proper officer shall, as soon as reasonably practicable after the proposals date, but subject to paragraph (2), publish in at least one newspaper circulating in the local authority’s area, a notice which contains—

(a)a statement that, as the case may be—

(i)proposals under section 25 involving a form of executive for which a referendum is required,

(ii)proposals under regulation 17(3) or 19(1) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations,

(iii)proposals under an order under section 36, or

(iv)proposals under regulations under section 30 or section 33,

have been sent to the Secretary of State;

(b) a description of the main features of the proposal and of the outline fall-back proposals;

(c) a statement—

(i)that a referendum will be held,

(ii)of the date on which the referendum will be held,

(iii)in a case to which regulation 14(1), (7) or (11) applies, that the poll in the referendum will be taken together with the poll in an election of a description which shall be specified in the statement,

(iv)of the question to be asked in the referendum,

(v)where the authority have made a determination under regulation 10(1), that the votes in the referendum may be cast only by postal ballot,

(vi)where no such determination has been made, that the referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures similar to those used at local government elections,

(vii)of the referendum expenses limit (as defined in regulation 6(1)) that will apply in relation to the referendum, and of the number of local government electors by reference to which that limit has been calculated,

(viii)of the address and times at which a copy of the proposals, and of the authority’s outline fall-back proposals, may be inspected,

(ix)of the procedures for obtaining a copy of the proposals and outline fall-back proposals, and

(x)if the proper officer then knows that the poll in the referendum (whether or not it is to be taken together with the poll in an election) will be taken together with the poll in a referendum for another area, that polls will be taken together for two (or more) areas, which shall be specified in the statement.

(2) At least 14 days before he publishes a notice in accordance with paragraph (1) the proper officer of an authority shall, by notice in writing, advise—

(a)if he is the proper officer of a county council, the proper officer of the council of each district comprised in the county;

(b)if he is the proper officer of the council of a district comprised in an area for which there is a county council, the proper officer of—

(i)the council of the county in which the district lies; and

(ii)each of the other district councils in that county,

that he intends to publish a notice under paragraph (1) and of the date of the referendum to be held in his area.

(3) It shall be the duty of each proper officer—

(a)to whom notice has been given under paragraph (2); and

(b)whose council are considering the holding of a referendum in their area,

to consider whether it would be reasonably practicable to combine that referendum with the one of which such notice has been given; and each such officer shall reply to the notice within seven days of its receipt, indicating whether his authority wish to combine their referendum with that to which the notice under paragraph (2) refers.

(4) Unless the notice required to be published by paragraph (1) (“the first notice”) is published less than 56 days before the date of the referendum, the proper officer shall publish a second notice containing the particulars specified in paragraphs (i) to (ix) of sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (1) and, if paragraph (x) of that sub-paragraph applies (whether or not it applied in relation to the first notice), the particulars specified in that paragraph.

(5) The second notice shall be published—

(a)in the same newspaper or newspapers as were used for the publication of the first notice, and

(b)not more than 55 days before the date of the referendum and not less than 28 days before that date.

(6) The authority shall make available for inspection throughout the referendum period, at the address and times stated in the notice, and free of charge, a copy of their proposals and outline fall-back proposals, and shall secure that sufficient copies are available for persons who wish to obtain copies.

(7) The authority may provide (whether or not in pursuance of any duty to do so) any other factual information relating to the proposals, the outline fall-back proposals and the referendum so far as it is presented fairly.

(8) In determining for the purposes of paragraph (7) whether any information is presented fairly, regard shall, in accordance with section 38, be had to any guidance for the time being issued by the Secretary of State under section 38.

Restriction on publication etc. of promotional material

5.  (1)  This regulation applies to any material which—

(a)provides general information about the referendum;

(b)deals with any of the issues raised by the question to be asked in the referendum; or

(c)puts any arguments for or against a particular answer to that question.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), no material to which this regulation applies shall be published by or on behalf of a local authority during the period of 28 days ending with the date of the poll at the referendum.

(3) Paragraph (2) does not apply to—

(a)material made available to persons in response to specific requests for information or to persons specifically seeking access to it;

(b)the publication of information relating to the holding of the poll at the referendum; or

(c)the publication of press notices containing factual information where the sole purpose of publication is to refute or correct any inaccuracy in material published by a person other than the local authority.

(4) In this regulation “publish” means make available to the public at large, or to any section of the public, in whatever form and by whatever means (including, in particular, by inclusion in any programme included in a programme service within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990(17)); and “publication” shall be construed accordingly.

General restriction on referendum expenses

6.  (1)  In this regulation and regulation 7—

“campaign organiser” means the individual or body by whom, or on whose behalf, referendum expenses are incurred (including expenses treated as incurred) in connection with a referendum campaign;

“referendum campaign” means a campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcome in relation to the question to be asked in a referendum;

“referendum expenses” means expenses incurred by or on behalf of any individual or body during the referendum period for referendum purposes in respect of any of the matters set out in paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to these Regulations, as read with paragraph 2 of that Schedule;

“referendum expenses limit” means the aggregate of £2,000 and such amount as is found by multiplying by five pence the number of entries in the relevant register;

“for referendum purposes” means—

(a)

in connection with the conduct or management of any campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcome in relation to the question asked in the referendum; or

(b)

otherwise in connection with promoting or procuring any such outcome; and

“the relevant register”—

(a)

in relation to any referendum as regards which the proposals date is before 1st April 2001, means the register (or registers) of local government electors published under section 13 (publication of registers) of the 1983 Act (as originally enacted)(18) which is to be used (or which are to be used) in the area of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is held, for elections at which the date fixed for the poll falls within the period ending on 15th February 2001 (whether or not the persons to whom those entries relate are entitled to vote in the referendum);

(b)

in relation to any referendum as regards which the proposals date is after 31st March 2001 and before 1st January 2002, means the register (or registers) of local government electors published under section 13 (publication of registers) of the 1983 Act (as originally enacted) which is to be used (or which are to be used) in the area of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is held, for elections at which the date fixed for the poll falls within the period beginning on 16th February 2001, (whether or not the persons to whom those entries relate are entitled to vote in the referendum); and

(c)

in relation to any referendum as regards which the proposals date is after 31st December 2001, means the register (or registers) of local government electors published under section 13 (publication of registers) of the 1983 Act (as substituted) after the conclusion of the canvass conducted under section 10 of that Act in the year immediately preceding that in which the referendum is held, which has (or have) effect in the area of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is held (whether or not the persons to whom those entries relate are entitled to vote in the referendum).

(2) The total referendum expenses incurred or, in accordance with regulation 7, treated as incurred, by or on behalf of any individual or body shall not exceed the referendum expenses limit.

(3) Where any referendum expenses are incurred in excess of the referendum expenses limit, a person who knew or reasonably ought to have known that that limit would be exceeded, or who, without reasonable excuse, authorises another person to exceed that limit, is guilty of an offence.

(4) Where information is given to the Director of Public Prosecutions that an offence under paragraph (3) has been committed, it is his duty to make such inquiries and institute such prosecutions as the circumstances of the case appear to him to require.

(5) Where an offence under paragraph (3) which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any other person purporting to act in any such capacity, he, as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

(6) A person who commits an offence under paragraph (3) shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both; or

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.

(7) Nothing in paragraph (2) affects the right of any creditor who, when the expense was incurred, was ignorant of that expense being in contravention of that paragraph.

Notional referendum expenses

7.  (1)  This regulation applies where—

(a)property, services or facilities is or are provided for the use or benefit of any person either—

(i)free of charge; or

(ii)at a discount of more than 10 per cent. of the commercial rate for the use of the property or for the provision of the services or facilities; and

(b)the property, services or facilities is or are made use of by or on behalf of that person in circumstances such that, if any expenses were to be (or are) actually incurred by him or on his behalf in respect of that use, they would be (or are) referendum expenses incurred by him or on his behalf.

(2) Subject to paragraph (5), where this regulation applies an amount of referendum expenses determined in accordance with paragraph (3) shall, unless it is not more than £200, be treated for the purposes of regulation 6 as incurred by that person during the period for which the property, services or facilities is or are made use of as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b).

(3) The amount mentioned in paragraph (2) is such proportion of either—

(a)the commercial rate for the use of the property or the provision of the services or facilities (where the property, services or facilities is or are provided free of charge), or

(b)the difference between that commercial rate and the amount of expenses actually incurred by or on behalf of that person in respect of the use of the property or the provision of the services or facilities (where the property, services or facilities is or are provided at a discount),

as is reasonably attributable to the use made of the property, services or facilities as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b).

(4) Where the services of an employee are made available by his employer for the use or benefit of a person, the amount which is to be taken as constituting the commercial rate for the provision of those services shall be the amount of the remuneration or allowances payable to the employee by his employer in respect of the period for which his services are made available (but shall not include any amount in respect of contributions or other payments for which the employer is liable in respect of the employee).

(5) No amount of referendum expenses shall be regarded as incurred by virtue of paragraph (1) in respect of the provision by any individual of his own services which he provides voluntarily in his own time and free of charge.

Application of provisions

8.  (1)  Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), and regulations 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 20 and 25, the provisions set out in column (1) of Tables 1 to 4 in Schedule 3 shall have effect in relation to the referendum with the modifications shown in column (2) of those Tables and any other necessary modifications; and in particular, except where the context otherwise requires—

(a)a reference to an election shall be construed as a reference to the referendum;

(b)a reference to a returning officer shall be construed as a reference to the counting officer;

(c)a reference to a constituency, an electoral division or a ward shall be construed as a reference to a voting area;

(d)a reference to voting for, or a vote for, a candidate shall be construed as a reference to voting for, or a vote for, an answer;

(e)a reference to promoting or procuring the election of a candidate, or furthering a person’s candidature, shall be construed as a reference to promoting or procuring a particular result in the referendum;

(f)references to nomination papers and, except as mentioned in sub-paragraphs (d) and (e), references to candidates, shall be ignored;

(g)a reference to the return of a person shall be construed as a reference to a particular result in the referendum;

(h)a reference to a person voting as an elector shall be construed as a reference to a person voting on his own behalf;

(i)a reference to a person’s entitlement as an elector to an absent vote shall be construed as a reference to a person’s entitlement to vote by post on his own behalf or to vote by proxy;

(j)except where the polls at the referendum and an election are taken together in accordance with regulation 14(1), (7) or (11), where anything is required to be done in the presence of election, polling, counting or other agents, the reference to the presence of agents shall be ignored;

(k)a reference to anything being prescribed shall be construed as a reference to its being provided for by a provision of subordinate legislation applied by these Regulations;

(l)a form which is required to be used may be used with such variations as the circumstances may require;

(m)a reference to the registration officer, in relation to a district or a London borough, is a reference to the relevant registration officer appointed under section 8 of the 1983 Act; and for the purpose of the exercise of a registration officer’s functions in relation to the referendum, sections 52(1) to (4) (discharge of registration duties) and 54(1), (3) and (4) (payment of expenses of registration) of that Act(19) shall have effect;

(n)a reference to an election petition shall be construed as a reference to a referendum petition;

(o)any reference to an enactment or instrument made under an enactment shall be construed as a reference to that enactment or instrument as applied by these Regulations; and

(p)so much of any provision as applies only in relation to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, shall be ignored.

(2) A provision set out in column (1) of Table 4 in Schedule 3 and expressed to apply only in circumstances there mentioned, and any modification shown in column (2) as applicable to any such provision, shall have effect only in those circumstances.

Ballot papers

9.  (1)  Where the question to be asked in the referendum is that set out in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 1, the front of the ballot papers to be used in that referendum shall be in Form A set out in Part II of that Schedule.

(2) Where the question to be asked in the referendum is that set out in paragraph 2 of Part I of Schedule 1, the front of the ballot papers to be used in that referendum shall be in Form B set out in Part II of that Schedule.

(3) Where the question to be asked in the referendum is that set out in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 1, the front of the ballot papers to be used in that referendum shall be in Form C set out in Part II of that Schedule.

(4) The back of the ballot papers to be used in any referendum shall be in the form set out in Part III of that Schedule.

(5) Every ballot paper—

(a)shall be capable of being folded up;

(b)shall have a number printed on the back; and

(c)shall have attached a counterfoil with the same number printed on it.

Postal ballots and postal votes

10.  (1)  Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), a local authority may determine, in relation to a referendum which they are to hold, that the votes in the referendum shall be cast only by postal ballot; and where such a determination is made—

(a)no polling station shall be used at the referendum;

(b)any person who, but for the determination, may vote in person, either as a person entitled to vote in the referendum(20) or as proxy, may only vote by post; and

(c)the references in these Regulations(21) and any reference in the Elections Act, the RPAct 2000, the 1983 Act, rules under section 36 of the 1983 Act, the Elections Regulations, the 1986 Regulations, or any enactment relating to the qualification or disqualification for election to, or membership of, a local authority—

(i)to polling day, the day or date of the poll or the date fixed for the poll, shall continue to have effect, in respect of that referendum, as a reference to the date of the referendum; and

(ii)to the close of the poll, shall continue to have effect, in respect of that referendum, as a reference to 9 p.m. on the day of the referendum.

(2) A determination may not be made under paragraph (1) if, when the issue is before the authority for consideration, the referendum is then one at which the poll is required by regulation 14 to be taken together with the poll at an election.

(3) A determination may not be made under paragraph (1) in relation to a referendum at which the poll is required by regulation 14 to be taken together with the poll at another referendum unless the counting officer for that other referendum agrees that votes at the referendums shall be cast only by postal ballot.

(4) Where a determination under paragraph (1) has effect, the provisions (as applied by regulation 8) of the 1983 Act, with the exception of section 31, the 1985 Act, the Elections Act, the RPAct 2000, the Elections Regulations, with the exception of regulations 55, 62 and 79, and the Principal Areas Rules shall apply, as regards the referendum; but the provisions set out in column (1) of Schedule 4 shall apply subject to the further modifications set out in relation to them in column (2) of that Schedule (in addition to the modifications having effect by virtue of regulation 8).

Counting officer’s functions, and assistance for counting officers

11.  (1)  Subject to regulations 15(5) and 17(2), functions conferred by these Regulations on the counting officer shall be exercised in each voting area by the person who is for the time being the returning officer at elections of councillors for that area under subsection (1) or (3) of section 35 (returning officers: local elections) of the 1983 Act(22).

(2) It is the counting officer’s general duty at the referendum to do all such acts and things as may be necessary for effectually conducting the referendum in the manner provided by these Regulations.

(3) The counting officer may appoint persons to attend at polling stations for the purpose of detecting personation (“polling observers”).

Hours of polling

12.  (1)  Subject to paragraph (2), the hours of polling shall be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the day of the referendum.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply in relation to a referendum—

(a)as regards which a determination under regulation 10(1) has effect; or

(b)at which the poll is taken together with the poll at a parliamentary or European Parliamentary election.

(3) The hours of polling in a referendum to which paragraph (2)(b) applies shall be those applicable to the election concerned.

Counting of votes etc.

13.  (1)  The counting officer—

(a)shall appoint and pay such persons as may be necessary for the purpose of the counting of the votes; and

(b)shall appoint persons to observe the counting of the votes and the verification of the ballot paper account (“counting observer”).

(2) For the purpose of assisting the counting officer in the discharge of his functions under paragraph (1)(b), a petition organiser may, not less than the fifth day before the date of the poll, by notice in writing to the counting officer, nominate persons who, in the opinion of the petition organiser, are suitable for appointment as counting observers; and the notice shall also contain the address of each nominee.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4) of rule 24 of the LGA Referendum Rules, the counting officer shall not, without good cause, decline to appoint as a counting observer a person nominated by a petition organiser.

(4) The counting officer shall, as soon as practicable after the close of the poll, make arrangements for counting the votes in the presence of the counting observers, and shall give those observers notice in writing of the time and place at which he will begin to count the votes.

(5) Subject to regulations 15(9) and 17(9), no person may attend the counting of votes for any voting area unless he is—

(a)the counting officer for that area;

(b)a person appointed by him under paragraph (1);

(c)the elected mayor, if any, of the council in respect of which the referendum is held;

(d)a petition organiser; or

(e)permitted by the counting officer for that area to attend the count.

(6) The counting officer shall give the counting observers such reasonable facilities for observing the proceedings at the counting of votes, and all such reasonable information with respect to them, as he can give them consistently with the orderly conduct of the proceedings and the discharge of his duties in connection with them.

Combination of polls: general

14.  (1)  Where, but for this paragraph, the poll at a referendum would be taken on a day that falls within the period beginning 28 days before the day on which the poll is to be taken at an election of a description mentioned in paragraph (2) and ending 28 days after the day on which the poll is to be taken at any such election, the poll at the referendum shall, subject to paragraphs (3) and (5), be taken on the day on which the poll is to be taken at the election; and the polls shall be taken together.

(2) The descriptions of election referred to in paragraph (1) are—

(a)an ordinary election of councillors for a county electoral division or, as the case may be, a district or London borough ward of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is to be held;

(b)an ordinary election of councillors for a county electoral division or, as the case may be, a district or London borough ward of any other local authority, where that division or ward is wholly or partly within the area of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is to be held;

(c)a parliamentary general election;

(d)an election to fill a vacancy in a parliamentary constituency that is wholly or partly within the area of the local authority by which, or as regards which, the referendum is to be held;

(e)a European Parliamentary general election within the meaning of the Representation of the People Act 1985(23);

(f)a European Parliamentary election within the meaning of that Act(24);

(g)an ordinary election within the meaning of Part I (the Greater London Authority) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999(25);

(h)an election (other than an ordinary election) of the Mayor of London under subsection (2) of section 16 (filling a vacancy in the office of Mayor) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

(3) Where, but for this paragraph, the poll at a referendum would be taken together with the poll at an election of a description specified in paragraph (2)(c), (d), (f) or (h), paragraph (1) shall not apply where—

(a)notice of the date of the referendum is given under regulation 4 before the date on which notice is given of the date of the election; and the date of the referendum is not the same as that of the election; or

(b)a determination has been made under paragraph (1) of regulation 10.

(4) In a case to which paragraph (3) applies, the poll at the referendum shall be taken on the day of which notice has been given under regulation 4.

(5) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall require the poll at a referendum to be taken together with the poll at an election where, but for this paragraph, the day on which those polls would be taken falls within the period beginning five months after the date that, in relation to the referendum, is the petition date or, as the case may be, the direction date, and ending six months after the petition date or, as the case may be, the direction date.

(6) In paragraph (5)—

  • “petition date” has the same meaning as in Part II (Petitions and Referendums) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations(26); and

  • “direction date” means the date on which the Secretary of State gives a direction under regulation 18 (circumstances in which Secretary of State may require referendum) of those Regulations.

(7) The poll at a referendum may be taken together with the poll at an election under section 89 (filling of casual vacancies in case of councillors) of the Local Government Act 1972(27) or under section 10 (filling a vacancy in an Assembly constituency) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999—

(a)where the referendum is to be held in compliance with a direction of the Secretary of State, if he so determines;

(b)in any other case, if the authority by whom the referendum is to be held so determines.

(8) Notice of a determination under paragraph (7) shall be given in writing—

(a)where the determination is made by the Secretary of State, to the authority or, as the case may be, the authorities by which the election and the referendum concerned are to be held;

(b)where the determination is made by an authority, to the authority (other than itself) by which the election concerned is to be held.

(9) Subject to paragraph (10), where an authority (“the first authority”) have given notice under regulation 4(1) of the date on which a referendum will be held in their area, no other authority—

(a)whose area includes that of the first authority; or

(b)whose area is part of that of the council of the same county as that of the first authority,

may hold a referendum in their area within the period beginning 28 days before the date of the first authority’s referendum and ending 28 days after that date unless the polls at the referendums are combined.

(10) Where the date on which a referendum is to be held in a county is the same as that on which a referendum is to be held in any district within that county,

the polls shall be taken together.

(11) Where, in accordance with any of the preceding paragraphs, the poll at a referendum is required to be taken together with, and on the same day as—

(a)the poll at an election; and

(b)the poll at another referendum,

the polls shall all be taken together on that day.

Combination of referendum and election polls: supplementary provisions relating to referendums

15.  (1)  Paragraphs (2) to (9) of this regulation shall apply, in relation to the referendum, where polls are taken together in accordance with regulation 14(1) or (7).

(2) The ballot papers shall be of a different colour from that of any ballot papers used at the election.

(3) The polling stations shall be the polling places or, as the case may be, polling stations designated for the purposes of the election.

(4) The Principal Areas Rules shall have effect subject to the modifications set out in Part V of Schedule 5.

(5) The functions in relation to the referendum specified in rules 18(3), 19, 20, 21, to the extent that that rule concerns the appointment of presiding officers and clerks to assist them, 23, 25(a), 26(3), 27(2)(b) and 39(1) and (5) of the LGA Referendum Rules shall be discharged—

(a)where the election with which the poll at the referendum is combined is a European Parliamentary election, by the local returning officer;

(b)where the election with which the poll at the referendum is combined is a GLA election, by the constituency returning officer;

(c)in any other case, by the returning officer at the election with which the poll at the referendum is combined.

(6) The back of the ballot papers (the form of which is set out in Part III of Schedule 1) may include a reference to the name of the electoral division or ward for the purposes of the election.

(7) If the counting officer and the returning officer at the election or, where the poll at the referendum is to be taken with the poll at more than one election, the returning officers at those elections, think fit, one ballot box may be used at the referendum and the election or elections; but if separate boxes are used, no vote at the referendum shall be rendered invalid by the ballot paper being placed in the ballot box intended for the ballot papers at the election.

(8) Where a person applies under the RPAct 2000 to vote by post, or to vote by proxy, at the election, he shall be treated as applying also to vote by post, or to vote by proxy, at the referendum.

(9) Nothing in regulation 13(5) shall preclude the attendance at the counting of the votes of a person who would be entitled to attend for that purpose in relation to the election at which the poll is taken together with that at the referendum.

Combination of referendum and election polls: supplementary provisions relating to elections

16.  (1)  The following paragraphs of this regulation shall apply, in relation to the election or, as the case may be, the elections, where polls are taken together in accordance with regulation 14(1), (7) or (11).

(2) Where a person applies under the RPAct 2000 or the Elections Regulations (as applied, with modifications, by regulation 8) to vote by post, or to vote by proxy, at the referendum, he shall be treated as applying also to vote at the election by post or by proxy.

(3) The ballot papers at the election shall be of a different colour from that of any ballot papers used at the referendum.

(4) The functions specified in regulation 98 of the 1986 Regulations shall be discharged—

(a)where the election is a European Parliamentary election, by the local returning officer;

(b)where the election is a GLA election, by the constituency returning officer;

(c)in any other case, by the returning officer at the election.

(5) If the returning officer at the election or, where the poll at more than one election is to be taken with the poll at the referendum, the returning officers at those elections, and the counting officer think fit, one ballot box may be used at the election (or elections) and the referendum; but if separate boxes are used, no vote at the election (or elections) shall be rendered invalid by the ballot paper being placed in the ballot box intended for the ballot papers at the referendum.

(6) The 1985 Act, the RPAct 2000, the 1986 Regulations and the Elections Regulations shall have effect subject to the modifications provided for in Part I of Schedule 5.

(7) In relation to an election to which the Principal Areas Rules apply, in rule 4 (interpretation)(28) of those Rules, there shall be inserted, at the appropriate place, the following definition—

“referendum” means a referendum to which the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2001 apply;.

(8) The Parliamentary Elections Rules, the European Parliamentary Elections Rules, the Principal Areas Rules, and the GLA Elections Rules, shall have effect subject to the modifications set out in Part II, Part II, Part III, and Part IV, respectively, of Schedule 5.

Combination of polls: supplementary

17.  (1)  Paragraphs (2) to (8) of this regulation shall apply where polls at referendums are taken together in accordance with regulation 14(9) or (10).

(2) The functions specified in rules 18(3), 19, 20, 21, to the extent that that rule concerns the appointment of presiding officers and clerks to assist them, 23, 25(a), 26(3), 27(2)(b), and 39(1) and (5) of the LGA Referendum Rules shall be functions of such one of the counting officers for the referendums as may be agreed between them.

(3) The polling stations at the combined poll shall be those that would have been used at the single poll at which the person by whom the functions specified in paragraph (2) are to be discharged, in accordance with the agreement under that paragraph, would have been the counting officer.

(4) Schedule 2 to the Principal Areas Rules, as modified by Schedule 4 to those Rules (modifications where polls at local government elections are combined), shall have effect in relation to the combination of polls at referendums as it has effect in relation to the combination of polls at elections, subject to the further modifications set out in Part V of Schedule 5; and a provision set out in column (1) of that Part and expressed to apply only in circumstances there mentioned, and any modification shown in column (2) as applicable to any such provision, shall have effect only in those circumstances.

(5) The cost of taking the combined poll (excluding any cost solely attributable to one referendum) and any cost attributable to the combination shall be apportioned equally among the referendums.

(6) The ballot papers at each referendum shall be of a different colour.

(7) The back of the ballot papers (the form of which is set out in Part III of Schedule 1) may include a reference to the name of the electoral division or ward.

(8) If separate boxes are used for the ballot papers at each referendum, no vote at a referendum shall be rendered invalid by the ballot paper being placed in the ballot box intended for the ballot papers at another referendum.

(9) Nothing in regulation 13(5) shall preclude the attendance at the counting of the votes of a person who would be entitled to attend for that purpose in relation to a referendum at which the poll is taken together with that at another referendum or at an election.

Result of referendum or further referendum

18.  (1)  Subject to regulations 20 and 21, if the majority of the votes cast in a referendum other than a further referendum are “yes” votes, the result of the referendum is—

(a)for the purposes of section 27(7), to approve the authority’s proposals under section 25;

(b)for the purposes of regulation 23 (action where referendum proposals approved) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations or, as the case may be, the comparable provisions of any other regulations or order made under any provision of Part II of the 2000 Act, to approve the proposals that were the subject of the referendum.

(2) Subject to regulations 20 and 21, if the majority of the votes cast in a referendum other than a further referendum are “no” votes, the result of the referendum is—

(a)for the purposes of section 27(8), to reject the authority’s proposals under section 25;

(b)for the purposes of regulation 24 (action where referendum proposals rejected) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations or, as the case may be, the comparable provisions of any other regulations or order made under any provision of Part II of the 2000 Act, to reject the proposals that were the subject of the referendum.

(3) Subject to regulations 20 and 21, if the majority of the votes cast in a further referendum are “yes” votes, the result of the referendum is to approve the continuation of the authority’s existing executive arrangements or, as the case may be, their existing alternative arrangements.

(4) Subject to regulations 20 and 21, if the majority of the votes cast in a further referendum are “no” votes, the result of the referendum is to reject the continuation of the authority’s existing executive arrangements or, as the case may be, their existing alternative arrangements.

(5) In a case to which paragraph (4) applies, subsections (8) to (12) of section 27 shall then apply as if the result of the further referendum were the rejection of the authority’s proposals under section 25, but subject—

(a)in subsection (8)(b), to the insertion, after “outline fall-back proposals”, of “that were proposed at the time of the referendum”;

(b)in subsection (9), to the omission of “outline fall-back proposals or”; and

(c)in subsection (10), to the substitution, for “Outline fall-back proposals and detailed”, of “Detailed”.

Procedures for questioning a referendum

19.  (1)  A referendum under these Regulations may be questioned by petition (“referendum petition”)—

(a)on the ground that the result of the referendum was not in accordance with the votes cast;

(b)on the ground that the referendum was avoided by such corrupt or illegal practices, within the meaning of the 1983 Act, as are relevant to referendums by virtue of regulation 8 or paragraph (8) below;

(c)on the grounds provided by section 164 (avoidance of election for general corruption etc.) of the 1983 Act, as applied for the purposes of these Regulations by paragraph (8) below; or

(d)subject to paragraph (3), on the ground that a payment of money or other reward has been made or promised since the referendum in pursuance of a corrupt or illegal practice relevant to referendums by virtue of regulation 8 or paragraph (8) below.

(2) A referendum petition on any of the grounds specified in paragraph (1)(a) to (c) shall be presented within 21 days after the day on which the referendum was held.

(3) A referendum petition on the ground mentioned in paragraph (1)(d) may be presented only with the leave of the High Court.

(4) An application for leave shall be made, not later than 28 days after the date of the alleged payment or promise, by application notice to the court at such time and place as the court may appoint.

(5) Not less than seven days before the day so appointed the applicant shall—

(a)serve the application notice on the respondent and the Director of Public Prosecutions and lodge a copy in the election petitions office; and

(b)publish notice of the intended application in at least one newspaper circulating in the voting area for the referendum to which the application relates.

(6) The application notice shall state the grounds on which the application is made.

(7) A referendum petition shall be tried by an election court, that is to say, a court constituted under section 130 (election court for local election in England and Wales, and place of trial) of the 1983 Act for the trial of an election petition, as applied by paragraph (8) below.

(8) The provisions set out in column (1) of Schedule 6 shall have effect in relation to the questioning of a referendum as they have effect in relation to the questioning of an election under the Local Government Act 1972(29) subject to—

(a)the modifications set out in sub-paragraphs (a) to (p) of paragraph (1) of regulation 8;

(b)the substitution, for “an election petition”, wherever that term appears, of “a referendum petition under the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2001”; and

(c)the further modifications set out in column (2) of Schedule 6.

(9) The Election Petition Rules 1960(30) shall have effect in relation to a referendum petition as they have effect in relation to a local election petition within the meaning of those Rules subject to the modifications set out in Schedule 7.

Immediate consequences of referendum petitions

20.  (1)  Where a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum—

(i)at which the question asked was in the form set out in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 1; and

(ii)in which the majority of the votes cast are “yes” votes; and

(b)before the authority have passed a resolution under section 29,

the authority shall take no further steps in consequence of the referendum until the election court has certified its determination in the matter of the referendum petition.

(2) Where a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum—

(i)at which the question asked was in the form set out in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 1; and

(ii)in which the majority of the votes cast are “yes” votes; and

(b)after the authority have passed a resolution under section 29,

the authority shall continue to operate the executive arrangements that are the subject of that resolution.

(3) Where a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum—

(i)at which the question asked was in the form set out in paragraph 1 or 2 of Part I of Schedule 1; and

(ii)in which the majority of the votes cast are “yes” votes; and

(b)without an election for the return of an elected mayor having taken place in consequence of the referendum,

the authority shall take no further steps in consequence of the referendum until the election court has certified its determination in the matter of the referendum petition.

(4) Where leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum—

(i)at which the question asked was in the form set out in paragraph 1 or 2 of Part I of Schedule 1; and

(ii)in which the majority of the votes cast are “yes” votes; and

(b)after an election for the return of an elected mayor has taken place in consequence of the referendum,

the elected mayor shall continue in office.

(5) Where—

(a)a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition in relation to a referendum in which the majority of the votes cast are “no” votes; and

(b)the authority’s outline fall-back proposals are based on the executive or alternative arrangements which they were operating at the date of the referendum,

they shall continue to operate those arrangements.

(6) Except in a case to which paragraph (5) applies, where a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum in which the majority of the votes cast are “no” votes; and

(b)before the authority have passed a resolution under section 29 (operation of, and publicity for, executive arrangements) or section 33 (operation of alternative arrangements),

the authority shall take no further steps in consequence of the referendum until the election court has certified its determination in the matter of the referendum petition.

(7) Where a referendum petition is presented on any of the grounds specified in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1) of regulation 19, or leave is granted for the presentation of a referendum petition—

(a)in relation to a referendum in which the majority of the votes cast are “no” votes; and

(b)after the authority have passed a resolution under section 29 or section 33,

the authority shall continue to operate the executive arrangements or, as the case may be, the alternative arrangements that are the subject of that resolution.

Determination of referendum petitions, and subsequent procedures

21.  (1)  Where an election court certifies, as its determination of a referendum petition, that the result of the referendum declared under regulation 18 is or, as the case may be, is not in accordance with the votes cast, any reference (in whatever terms) in the timetable—

(a)included in the authority’s proposals under section 25;

(b)included in their proposals under regulation 17(3)(a) or 19(1)(c) of the Petitions and Directions Regulations(31);

(c)prepared pursuant to section 27(4), regulation 17(7)(a)(ii), or 20(3)(a)(iii) of those Regulations; or

(d)prepared pursuant to any other regulations or an order made under any provision of Part II (arrangements with respect to executives etc.) of the 2000 Act,

to the date of the result of the referendum shall be construed as a reference to the date on which the election court certifies its determination.

(2) Where an election court certifies, as its determination of a referendum petition specifying any of the grounds mentioned in regulation 19(1)(b) to (d), that the referendum was avoided, the authority concerned shall, not earlier than two months, and not later than three months, after the election court has certified its determination in the matter of the referendum petition, hold another referendum.

(3) On the substantive hearing of a referendum petition for which leave has been granted where the circumstances are as mentioned in regulation 20(4)(a) and (b), the election court shall either—

(a)dismiss the petition; or

(b)allow the petition,

and, where the court allows the petition, it shall declare the referendum to be tainted, and order that a further referendum be held.

(4) Where an election court makes such an order as is mentioned in paragraph (3), subject to regulation 14(1), the authority shall hold the further referendum as soon as reasonably practicable after the expiration of the period of five years beginning with the date on which the tainted referendum was held.

(5) If the majority of the votes cast in a further referendum are “yes” votes—

(a)where the authority are operating executive arrangements, they shall continue to operate those arrangements unless and until they are authorised or required to operate different executive arrangements or authorised to operate alternative arrangements in place of their existing executive arrangements; and

(b)where the authority are operating alternative arrangements, they shall continue to operate those arrangements unless and until they are authorised to operate different alternative arrangements or authorised or required to operate executive arrangements in place of their existing alternative arrangements(32).

(6) If the majority of the votes cast in the further referendum are “no” votes, the authority shall implement the proposals that were their outline fall-back proposals at the time of the tainted referendum; and, subject to paragraphs (7) and (8), subsection (13) of section 27 (referendum in case of proposals involving elected mayor) shall apply to the implementation of detailed fall-back proposals as if those outline fall-back proposals were outline fall-back proposals in the event that proposals under section 25 (proposals) are rejected in a referendum under section 27.

(7) Where the authority’s outline fall-back proposals are the executive or alternative arrangements which they were operating at the date of the tainted referendum, subsection (13) of section 27 shall apply (as mentioned in paragraph (6)) as if, for “in accordance with the timetable mentioned in subsection (4)”, there were substituted “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

(8) Where the authority’s outline fall-back proposals are executive arrangements which involve a form of executive for which a referendum is not required(33)—

(a)subsection (1) of section 29 (operation of, and publicity for, executive arrangements) shall apply for the purpose of enabling the authority to operate the executive arrangements set out in their detailed fall-back proposals as it applies for the purpose of enabling an authority to operate executive arrangements in other circumstances; and

(b)subsection (2) of that section shall apply as if, in paragraph (b), for sub-paragraph (i), there were substituted “(i) states that, in consequence of the rejection in a further referendum of the authority’s existing executive arrangements, the authority have resolved to operate the different executive arrangements that were described in their outline fall-back proposals at the time of the referendum,”.

(9) These Regulations, except where the context otherwise requires, shall apply (so far as relevant), to the conduct of the further referendum as they apply to the conduct of any other referendum, subject to—

(a)in regulation 4—

(i)in paragraph (1), the omission of sub-paragraph (a);

(ii)in sub-paragraph (b) of that paragraph, the substitution, for “the proposals”, of “the authority’s existing executive arrangements”;

(iii)in paragraph (viii) of sub-paragraph (c), the substitution, for “a copy of the proposals”, of “a document in which are set out the main features of the authority’s existing executive arrangements”;

(iv)in paragraph (ix) of that sub-paragraph, the substitution, for “the proposals and”, of “that document and those”;

(v)after paragraph (x) of that sub-paragraph the insertion of the following paragraph—

(xi)if it be the case, that the referendum is being held in consequence of the determination of an election court that the referendum last held in the authority’s area was void or, as the case may be, declared to be tainted by reason of a payment of money or other reward made or promised since the referendum in pursuance of a corrupt or illegal practice.;

(vi)in paragraph (6), the substitution, for “a copy of their proposals”, of “a document in which are set out the main features of the authority’s current executive arrangements”; and

(vii)in paragraph (7), the substitution, for “the proposals”, of “the main features of the authority’s current executive arrangements”; and

(b)in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part I of Schedule 1, and in Forms A and B in Part II of that Schedule—

(i)the omission of “the proposal for”; and

(ii)the substitution, for “to be run in a new way”, of “continuing to be run in a way”.

(10) On the substantive hearing of a referendum petition for which leave has been granted where the circumstances are as mentioned in any paragraph of regulation 20 other than paragraph (4), the election court shall either—

(a)dismiss the petition; or

(b)allow the petition,

and, where the court allows the petition, it shall declare the referendum avoided.

Time

22.  In calculating any period for the purposes of—

(a)any provision of the LGA Referendum Rules; or

(b)regulation 4(1) of these Regulations,

the following days shall be disregarded—

(i)a Saturday or Sunday,

(ii)Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971(34) in England, and

(iii)any day appointed as a day of public thanksgiving or mourning.

Advertisements

23.  The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992(35) shall have effect in relation to the display on any site in a voting area of an advertisement relating specifically to the referendum as they have effect in relation to the display of an advertisement relating specifically to a local government election.

Non-domestic rating: premises used for referendum purposes

24.  In relation to premises in a voting area, section 56(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (occupation for election meetings and polls)(36) shall have effect as if—

(a)the reference to public meetings in furtherance of a person’s candidature at an election included a reference to public meetings promoting a particular result in the referendum; and

(b)the reference to use by a returning officer for the purpose of taking the poll in an election included a reference to use by a person exercising functions of a returning officer in accordance with regulation 11 for the purpose of taking the poll in the referendum.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State,

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

2001

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