Role of Lord Mayor
In addition to the Full Council itself, there are four, rather than the sometimes quoted three, principal areas of municipal function. These are Executive, Regulatory, Scrutiny and Civic. The fourth of these, which is delivered through the Lord Mayor’s Office, has the longest tradition and is the most widely recognised by our citizens.
The Civic Office carries out a wide range of public duties on behalf of the Council and the people of Birmingham. While there are great variations in roles, the concept of ‘Mayor’ is recognised throughout the country and indeed worldwide. Thus the Lord Mayor has many occasions on which to promote the image and importance of Birmingham in a regional, national and international context.
The tradition, standing, and impartiality of the office of Lord Mayor help to transcend barriers; and the Lord Mayor represents the Birmingham community at formal ceremonies and on both joyous and tragic occasions.
There are two distinct aspects of the office of Lord Mayor:
The Lord Mayor is the Chair of Council meetings
This is a legal provision of the Local Government Act 1972, enabling Council business to be carried out in an orderly and proper manner, having regard to statutory obligations and the Constitution of the Council for the conduct of meetings. The fact that the first citizen chairs the meetings of the full City Council is an important symbol of the fact that the Council itself is the council of the people of Birmingham.
The Lord Mayor is the first citizen of Birmingham
The majority of the Lord Mayor’s responsibilities relate to the ‘first citizen’ function of representing the Council. Many of the Lord Mayor’s duties are ambassadorial, representing the people and the City both at home and abroad. In so doing they meet a wide range of voluntary organisations, charities, employers, agencies, civic heads from other Local Authorities, consular and diplomatic representatives, visiting Heads of State and members of the Royal Family.
The Lord Mayor also has a role in friendly relations between Birmingham and other cities and regions both at home and abroad. In more recent times, trade and the economic considerations have played a major role but the importance of cultural and social linkage and understanding should not be lost.
The office of Mayor, together with the Domesday Book and the Feudal System, were brought to this country by the Normans. In continental Europe the office has existed since at least the fifth century.