Birmingham City Council financial challenges - time to Reset

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Lord Mayor’s Office

Staff in the Lord Mayor’s Office support the Lord Mayor Councillor Chaman Lal by managing his diary and helping him to reach all sectors of the community. They also co-ordinate major events, such as Remembrance Day and meetings with regional, national and international visitors.

Along the corridor outside the Lord Mayor’s office there are photographs of every Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Mayors and Lord Mayors

Birmingham has had a Mayor (and elected council) since 1838. One of the most famous was Joseph Chamberlain (1873-76), who brought a clean water supply to the City from the Elan Valley and redeveloped the town centre. In 1889 Birmingham achieved its city status.

The right to appoint a Lord Mayor is a relatively rare honour that is even less frequently bestowed than city status. Only 23 cities in England have Lord Mayors: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Canterbury, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, the City of London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, the City of Westminster, and York. The title of Lord Mayor was granted on 3 June 1896, the first Lord Mayor of Birmingham was Sir James Smith.

Since the Local Government Act 1972 (section 3.1), the Lord Mayor must be a member of the City Council. Previously, under the Local Government Act 1933, the Lord Mayor could be elected from ‘those qualified’ - which roughly equated to all those entitled to vote in the area. In Birmingham, an agreed formula is applied so that a candidate is presented to the Council from the major political groups in a frequency proportional to their representation on the Council.

Lord Mayors act as Chair of the Council, and are non-political and non-executive during their term of office – this means that they don’t represent any political party while in the role and don’t hold any decision making powers. As the First Citizen of Birmingham, the Lord Mayor represents not only the City, but also the people of Birmingham.

Each Lord Mayor is installed (appointed) into office at the Annual General Meeting of the City Council, usually in May, and stands for one year. In normal circumstances, the Lord Mayor becomes the Deputy Lord Mayor for the following year.

Page last updated: 24 May 2023

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