What is the London Assembly?
The London Assembly is a scrutinising body with 25 elected members. Of these, fourteen are constituency members (they were elected on a direct vote like MP’s and Councillors) and 11 “London members” who are appointed from a list drawn up by each party. The numbers of members per party are intended to reflect the percentage of the votes each party receive at the election.
A map of the London Assembly constituencies can be found at the bottom of this page.
What does the Assembly do?
The assembly srves as a check and a balance on the Mayor of London and has the powers to amend the Mayor’s budget provided it can acheive a two-thirds majority.
It appoints the following officers of the GLA: Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer, Chief Finance Officer and all other members of the Authority’s staff, except for the 12 appointed by the Mayor.
The Assembly investigates issues of significance and importance to Londoners and makes proposals to the Mayor. It has the power to summon the Mayor, senior staff of the Authority and parties in a contractual relationship with the Authority.
Some of its members serve on the Metropolitan Police Authority, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, and – subject to the Mayor’s approval – the London Development Agency.
In July 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government announced further powers for the Assembly. These include:
- The Assembly will be able to set its own budget and will publish an annual report setting out its work and achievements over the previous twelve months.
- The Assembly will be able to hold confirmation hearings for key appointments the Mayor proposes to make.
- The Mayor will be required to have specific regard to the views of the Assembly and the functional bodies in preparing or revising his strategies. He will need to provide reasoned justifications where he is not acting on their advice.
- The Mayor and Assembly will jointly appoint the Authority’s statutory posts. Most other GLA staff will be appointed by the Head of Paid Service.
Under the GLA Bill the Deputy Mayor, who is chosen by the Mayor, must be an elected member of the assembly.
How does the London Assembly keep a check on the Mayor?
The Mayor must:
a) consult the Assembly when preparing their strategies
b) ensure the Assembly is kept informed of all major decisions and the reasons for them
c) submit the GLA budget to the Assembly for approval or amendment
d) attend a minimum of ten question time sessions each year at which the Mayor (and members of the administration) can be questioned by the Assembly.
How is the London Assembly accountable to Londoners?
The London Assembly (and the Mayor) is elected every four years.
While in office Assembly members are required to take decisions as far as possible in full public view. For example, meetings of the Assembly are public and the records of meetings and papers submitted to the Assembly and its reports must be made available to the public.
The Mayor and Assembly attend a twice yearly People’s Question Time at which the public can put questions to them. In addition the 10 meetings a year where the Assembly question the Mayor are open to the public and are broadcast via the internet.
How much are Assembly Members paid?
AMs are currently paid £53,439 per year.