The Mayoral Election: what does it mean for you?

Voters will be heading to the polling station this week to vote in the mayoral referendum. Photo: IT\

The way three great Midlands cities are run could change completely if enough people vote yes in the Mayoral Referendums on May 3rd.

So, what happens at the moment?

Well, at Local Elections you get to choose a councillor to represent your neighbourhood, and if they win, they head to the council chamber where councillors get their heads together and decide who they want to lead the council.

You don't get to vote directly for a council leader, just as you don't directly vote for a Prime Minister.

But what if your city votes in favour of a mayor on Thursday?

Well, this time you still get to vote for your local councillor, but you also get to vote for who you want to lead the city.

Whoever wins that vote doesn't have to bother with the vote of councillors, they just go straight to the top job; putting forward their ideas on how to run the city.

In Nottingham the debates have been raging. The current ruling Labour group at the town hall has been urging people to vote NO.

But some small and medium-sized businesses think that having a mayor will give cities a boost.

In Coventry, the life president at Coventry City says having mayors would mean 'too much power for one person's hands' and argues that 'good robust discussion' will be lost if just one person takes the reins.

The biggest battles and highest profile campaigns for the elections have taken place in Birmingham.

Liam Byrne is one of the high profile politicians going for the role of Mayor of Birmingham Credit: ITV Central

A number of famous Westminster names have put themselves forward, including Sion Simons, Gisela Stuart and Liam Byrne.

The YES campaign is a slick operation with the full backing of the Chamber of Commerce but there is a strong voice of dissent, with politicians from across the spectrum leading the campaign.

Three Midlands cities have a big decision to make this week and the decision lies firmly in the voters' hands.