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|London Life|||||Mayor of London|||||London Assembly|||||Media Centre|
About the GLA
1. Vision and objectives
The Mayorís vision is to develop London as an exemplary sustainable world city
This vision is based on the following three elements:
The Mayorís vision will be achieved through the following objectives:
2. The Mayor and the London Assembly
The GLA has a directly elected Mayor, and a separately elected London Assembly. Both the Mayor and the London Assembly are elected for fixed terms of four years.
What can the Mayor do?
The Mayor has a range of specific powers and duties, and a general power to do anything that will promote economic and social development, and environmental improvement, in London. Before using many of his powers the Mayor must consult with Londoners and, in all cases, the Mayor must promote equality of opportunity.
Setting strategies for London
The Mayor sets out plans and policies for London covering transport, buildings and land use, economic development and regeneration, culture, and a range of environmental issues (including biodiversity, ambient noise, waste disposal and air quality). These plans and policies must also contribute to sustainable development and the health of Londoners.
Funding services for London
The Mayor sets the annual budget for the following bodies:
These budgets total over £9 billion.
Appointing people for London
While staff in the Greater London Authority are appointed by the London Assembly, the Mayor appoints the boards of Transport for London and London Development Agency. The police and fire authorities are independent bodies, but the Mayor appoints some members of the police authority, following nominations by the London Assembly. The Mayor also appoints the fire authority, following nominations by the London Assembly and London boroughs.
A Cultural Strategy Group, now superseded by the London Cultural Consortium, appointed by the Mayor develops the Mayor's cultural strategy, which covers everything from sport to architectural heritage and the performing arts in London.
The boards directly appointed by the Mayor are chosen on merit, but also broadly mirror London in their representation of black and Asian people, women, and people with disabilities.
Other powers and duties
The Mayor's Spatial Development Strategy known as the London Plan, sets out the policies for new building and land use in London. Major planning applications have to be referred to the Mayor by London boroughs, and the Mayor can direct refusal of those that are not in accordance with the GLA's policies. The Mayor also has control over the management of two of London's most important public spaces, Trafalgar and Parliament Squares.
What is the London Assembly?
The London Assembly is a scrutinising body with 25 elected members.
The electoral system used to elect the London Assembly members is complex. It takes account of the London boroughs (which are grouped for this purpose into 14 constituencies), party lists and independent candidates. It is designed to produce a distribution of seats that will always be proportional to the total votes cast across London.
What does the London Assembly do?
The London Assembly:
How does the London Assembly keep a check on the Mayor?
The Mayor must:
The London Assembly reviews the Mayorís draft strategies and give its views on them in meetings that are open to the public.
The London Assembly scrutinises the Mayorís budget and votes on whether to approve it in open meetings. Meetings take place before the end of February each year. Budget decisions have an effect on Londonís council taxes and council tax bills which go out in March.
How is the London Assembly accountable to Londoners?
The London Assembly is elected every four years, at the same time as the Mayor. London Assembly members are required to take decisions as far as possible in full public view. For example, the records of meetings and papers submitted to the London Assembly and its reports are made available to the public on the GLA web site or on request from the GLA.
The Mayor and the London Assembly attend a twice yearly People's Question Time at which the public are able to put questions to the Mayor and the London Assembly. The meetings are held in different locations around London and are open to all.
The London Assembly plenary sessions and committee meetings are open to the public.
The results of London Assembly scrutinies are published.
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