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 Elected 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 Governance Referendum

The Elected 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 Elected 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 Elected Mayor and they help and advise the Elected Mayor.

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The Elected Mayor also appoints a number of Councillors as Member Champions who act as an advocate or spokesperson for a specific area of the Council’s business. The main responsibility of each member champion is to encourage communication and positive action over the issue they represent.

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