The Mayor - Roles and Responsibilities
Earliest records show that there has been a Mayor in Newcastle since 1318.
The Mayor is elected each year by Members of the Borough Council at its Annual Meeting, which is held towards the end of May. The Annual Council is referred to as the "Mayor Making" and takes place in the Council Chamber at Castle House.
The ceremony, which is open to the public, has remained unchanged for many years and provides the new Mayor with an opportunity to speak about their aspirations for the coming year and also to wear the Mayoral robe for the first time.
The Mayor and in their absence the Deputy Mayor, who is also appointed at the Annual Meeting has the following roles and functions:-
- Ceremonial Role
As first citizen of the Borough the Mayor shall take precedence in the Borough. The Mayor represents the Borough at Civic functions both locally and nationally and fulfils all the traditional ceremonial functions of the Mayor of this "Loyal and Ancient Borough". In any year it is usual for the Mayor to attend in the region of 350 engagements travelling many miles in the process. The majority of these engagements occur within the Borough.
- Chairing the Council Meetings
The Mayor and in their absence the Deputy Mayor has the following responsibilities:-
- To preside over meetings of the Council so that its business can be carried out efficiently and with regard to the rights of Councillors and the interests of the community
- To ensure that the Council meeting is a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community
- To ensure Councillors who are not members of the Cabinet and do not hold committee chairs are able to hold the Cabinet and committee chairs to account
- To uphold and promote the purposes of the Constitution and to interpret the Constitution when necessary
- To promote public involvement in the Council's activities
- To attend such civic and ceremonial functions as the Council and he/she determines appropriate
- To determine any matter referred to them requiring an urgent decision under the Urgency Procedure Rules set out in the Council's Constitution
- To be consulted on any matter where consultation with the Mayor is required under the terms of the Constitution.
The Mayor can be contacted by post, telephone or by emailing the Mayor's Secretary.
Letters should be addressed to
The Worshipful the Mayor
Tel 01782 742222
Hosting the Mayor
Once the Mayor has agreed to attend your event there are a number of rules/protocols that should be followed.
Addressing the Mayor
The correct form of address for the Mayor is “The Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Councillor Gill Heesom”
All correspondence to the Mayor should be addressed in this way and should start Dear Madam Mayor.
When greeting the Mayor it is correct to refer to her as Madam Mayor.
When introducing the Mayor (and Consort) it is correct to say “We are pleased to welcome the Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Councillor Gill Heesom and her Consort, Mr John Heesom". This year the Mayor also has a second Consort - Mr Paul Heesom who may be accompanying her on some of the engagements. The form of address here would be “We are pleased to welcome the Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Councillor Gill Heesom and her Consort, Mr Paul Heesom".
The Mayoress/Consort supports the Mayor during their year in office. The Mayoress can be a female relative or friend. Where the Mayor is female the role of Mayoress becomes one of Consort.
In accordance with the Local Government Act 1972, as long as Her Majesty’s Royal prerogative is not prejudiced, the Mayor shall have precedence in the Borough. The Mayor should remain impartial throughout his/her year in office and should not be asked to become involved in political or contentious issues.
In the event that the Deputy Mayor is attending to represent the Mayor he/she should be afforded the same precedence as for the Mayor.
Upon arrival at an engagement it is important that one of the event organisers is charged with the task of greeting the Mayor and accompanying him/her throughout the visit. Details of that person should be forwarded to the Mayor’s Secretary at the earliest opportunity together with the completed engagement proforma that should contain all other details relevant to the occasion. As the Mayor is always driven to his/her engagements a secure parking space should be reserved for the civic car.
As first citizen of the Borough the Mayor should be seated on the right hand side of the host/chairperson as the appropriate place of honour with the Mayoress/Consort seated on the left hand side of that person. The exception to this rule would be if HM Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire was present in his official capacity as Queen’s representative, or a member of the Royal family was present. In those cases they would have precedence over the Mayor.
Should the Mayor be required to speak this will usually be limited to a duration of between 2-3 minutes. Please note that if you wish the Mayor to make a speech you must provide a draft speech at least 7 days before the function enabling the Mayor( and civic officer) to look at it.
Form of Dress
In the case of a male Mayor the usual form of dress is lounge suit and for the Mayoress daywear unless the occasion is a formal dinner advised as Black Tie/Dinner Jacket. The mayoral Robe is only worn at the more important civic occasions or where considered appropriate by the civic office.
The Mayor’s Secretary, Geoff Durham, will be pleased to answer any questions which you may have about inviting the Mayor to your function or to provide information about any other aspect of the Mayoralty. He can be contacted on 01782 742222 or by e-mail at geoff.Durham@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk.
Alternatively you can write to him at Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 1BL.
High Constable, Mayor's Attendant and Chauffeur
Although the office of High Constable dates back to medieval times the first reference to the existence of a High Constable in Newcastle appears in the borough records in the 15th century although it is known that prior to that time the High Sheriff made appointments to that position.
Nowadays the Mayor appoints the High Constable at the Annual Council meeting and the incumbent serves in office for twelve months.
It is believed that Newcastle is one of only two towns to appoint a High Constable, Devizes in Wiltshire being the other. On ceremonial occasions the High Constable carries an oak staff, which has been in use since 1732. The staff is 6ft 3inches long and is emblazoned with a gold representation of the common seal surmounted by the Crown. Underneath is “G R”, the cypher of George II and the date 1732.
On the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria the staff was re-varnished and mounted with three ornaments.
In olden days the High Constable was the only official who could arrest the Mayor and detain him in the Town Hall.
The Mayor's Attendant will accompany the Mayor on to the more major civic occasions such as the annual civic service and Remembrance Sunday. He also attends Council meetings announcing the Mayor into the Council Chamber and assists at receptions hosted by the Mayor.
At these occasions he carries the Town Criers Truncheon which is believed to have been presented to the Borough by Rowland Cotton, MP for the area in 1700.
The Truncheon is a little over 40 inches long and is surmounted by a representation in bellmetal of a bust of Elizabeth I.
As the title suggests the main duties of the Mayor’s Chauffeur is to drive the Mayor to his/her many engagements.
Last updated 21 August 2018