The residents of Torbay voted in a referendum to decide whether or not Torbay should have an Elected Mayor. This resulted in a ‘yes’ vote and Nick Bye became Torbay’s first Elected Mayor on 20 October 2005. Gordon Oliver succeeded Nick Bye as Torbay's Mayor in the mayoral election held on 6 May 2011. Gordon Oliver was re-elected as Mayor on 8 May 2015.

Following a Governance Referendum in May 2016, Torbay’s electors voted to change the governance arrangements from a Mayor and Cabinet to a Leader and Cabinet.  Therefore Torbay Council will only have an elected Mayor up until May 2019, after this time one of the 36 Councillors will be appointed by the Council to be the Leader of the Council.  To find more about the difference between the two arrangements see Governance Referendum

The Mayor is responsible for most of the Council’s major decisions. He can make most decisions as long as they are within the budget and policy framework that is set by the Council (which includes the Mayor and all 36 councillors). The Mayor makes most of his decisions at public meetings of the Policy Development and Decision Groups. The Executive includes up to 9 councillors chosen by the Mayor and they help and advise the Mayor.

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Major decisions are set out in a ‘Forward Plan’.

Our Ambitions: A prosperous and healthy Torbay

Mayoral Manifesto Promises:

We will continue the drive to create jobs and work with the Local Enterprise Partnership to gain maximum, economic and social benefits from government funding, including the pursuit of European funding to support specific projects.

Torbay will be a place where our town centres are revitalised and thrive to build our economic prosperity.

We will work to address inequalities of health, wealth and opportunity in Torbay, providing the right kind of help and support at the right time.

Torbay will be a place where we celebrate and champion the diversity of our population and every individual, organisation, business and community is encouraged to play an active role in the life of Torbay.

Torbay will be a place more in control of its future, where its governance is modernised as part of the Government’s devolution agenda working with our neighbouring authorities.

We will support a referendum with reference to the Elected Mayor system as soon as is permitted in 2016.

Torbay will be a place where the cared for and caring, young and old, are respected and valued members of our society; and where healthy, happy and safe lives and homes are shared aspirations for every citizen.

Torbay will be a place where every citizen has access to a good education and is able to acquire the skills they need to join South Devon’s workforce, where education, training and apprenticeship opportunities are available to all.

Torbay will be a place of well-connected neighbourhoods with a strong sense of identity and belonging, where a diverse mix of housing types and tenures ensures that homes are increasingly affordable to all that need them including the most vulnerable.

Torbay will be a lively and thriving tourist and event destination.

We will continue to plan long term for our sea defences and flood protection to ensure our three towns are protected from rising sea levels.

We will work to improve transport links across Torbay, ensuring it is effective, reliable and sustainable.