Electors can petition their local Council to hold a referendum on whether the Council should switch to a different form of governance.
This ability to petition is a result of the Local Government Act 2000.
Such a petition must be signed by at least 5% of the electors in the district.
It is a legal requirement that the proper officer for each Council annually publish the figure equal to 5% of electors in the district. This figure is called the verification number.
The verification number is published every February and following publication, is applicable between 1st April and 31st March.
However, in any given year, there is a short period of time where there are one of two figures that can be used.
This period of time is between the publication of the number and 31st March that same year.
During this time, the other number that can be used is the figure that was published the previous February.
Councils must use the lower of these two figures as the verification number for any petition submitted during that period.