This Civic Protocol is designed to assist the Town Mayor and Deputy Town Mayor to understand their roles and responsibilities and provide some useful information, which may be of assistance when undertaking civic duties
The protocol was last updated in April 2017.
This Civic Protocol is designed to assist the Town Mayor and Deputy Town Mayor to understand their roles and responsibilities and provide some useful information, which may be of assistance when undertaking civic duties.
The protocol at Appendix A is also designed to ensure a consistent approach when dealing with issues connected to the civic function. The object of the information is to try and ensure that the Mayor’s civic year runs as smoothly as possible.
Not all eventualities will be covered by this protocol and assistance is always available from the Council Offices.
Section 245 (6) of the Local Government Act 1972 gives Parish Councils the power by resolution to allow themselves the title of Town Council and the Chairman of a Town Council is entitled to the style of ‘Town Mayor’.
A Town Mayor has the same rights and duties as a Parish Council Chairman. The office and leadership role of Town Mayor must be respected by all members of the council at all times.
The Councillor becoming Mayor
The Mayor, by virtue of the Office, can and should seek to use his/her influence and standing in the role to stimulate community pride, encourage business, and promote the voluntary sector. The Mayor is also likely to have many meetings with various other dignitaries, other engagements, and will be in the public eye for virtually the whole year.
The Mayor is formally elected by the Council at the Annual Council Meeting held in May. A Deputy Mayor is also elected at this meeting. The new Mayor is required to make the following declaration when accepting the Term of Office at the Annual Meeting:
“I……………..having been elected to the Office of Mayor for the Town of Knutsford, hereby declare that I take the said Office upon myself, and will duly and faithfully fulfil the duties thereof according to the best of my knowledge and ability. “
The Mayor’s term in office is for one civic year and during this time the Mayor continues to be a member of the Council and presides over the meetings of the Full Council. In the event of more than one nomination being put forward, the meeting shall select the successful candidate in accordance the Council’s Standing Orders.
Role of the Mayor
Duties which the Mayor may carry out include:
- Organising events to raise funds for the Mayor’s chosen charities
- Acting as host on behalf of the Council at functions organised by the Council
- Attending functions within Knutsford, or on occasions outside the town as a ceremonial representative of the Council
- Undertaking official openings or presentations within Knutsford on behalf of the Town Council
- Representing the Council during royal visits to the town
The Mayor will choose their own consort who can be either a partner, fellow Councillor, or a family member or friend. If the consort is female, she may be referred to as the Mayoress.
The Mayor also has a number of statutory functions as set out below:
- The Mayor, when present, must preside over meetings of the Full Council and the Annual Town Meeting
- The Mayor has a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes
- The Mayor should ensure, together with the Town Clerk, that the Council makes legal decisions
- The Mayor has a duty to ensure the agenda is followed correctly and that Standing Orders are properly applied.
Support for the Mayor
Day to day support for the Mayor is provided by the Mayor’s PA, under the general direction of the Town Clerk.
The Civic Events Officer is an employee of the Town Council who, as well as carrying out other duties for the Council, assists the Mayor with organising their term in office.
The Civic Events Officer will arrange a meeting with the new Mayor once elected to plan his/her Civic Year. This will involve making plans for Civic Sunday, the Mayor’s Ball and any other fundraising events the Mayor wishes to hold. Once planned, the dates will be communicated to minimise potential clashes with other events.
The Civic Events Officer receives invitations for the Mayor and liaises with the Mayor before accepting/declining invitations.
The Civic Events Officer is responsible where necessary for arranging transport to the events. The Mayor (or the Deputy Mayor if deputising for the Mayor) will normally use their own transport to attend Civic functions within Knutsford. Depending on the circumstances, alternative means of transport may be considered for engagements out of the town.
If the Mayor is unsure of anything or requires some guidance, then this should first be raised with the Civic Events Officer, who will provide the necessary information, occasionally this may also require the assistance of the Town Clerk.
The Mayor’s Charity traditionally raises funds for one or more local charities or good causes. It is advisable to choose the organisations to be supported at an early stage. The Mayor may decide to support as many organisations as they wish.
It is preferable to announce the chosen charity as part of the incoming Mayor’s speech.
Support will be given by the Town Clerk and Civic Events Officer. However, it is helpful if a separate support mechanism is set up amongst colleagues.
The chosen organisation(s) will be notified and all funds raised at the events to be held by the Mayor will be donated to the chosen organisation(s) at the end of the Civic year.
Funds raised for the Mayor’s charities cannot be used for any other purpose other than as a donation to the charity identified when the funds were raised, save for to cover all reasonable costs to raise the funds.
Charity events vary with individual Mayors and may include a Charity Dinner/Ball. Other events may be organised by local organisations, clubs or institutions, with proceeds given to the Mayor’s Charity. Any events the Mayor wishes to organise should be organised with the Mayor’s PA.
To enable the Mayor to raise funds for local charities, the Council relies on local businesses donating prizes to be used on raffles and tombolas. Although many businesses do support the Mayor’s Charity, there are still those who will not donate prizes. The Mayor may feel it necessary to visit local businesses around the Town to request prizes as a more personal approach can encourage businesses to support the chosen charities. It is considered good practise to disclose publicly the donations received.
The Civic Events Officer will coordinate a cheque presentation and associated publicity. The Mayor will announce the total amount raised for their charity at the Annual Meeting.
The Mayor may be paid an allowance to meet the expenses of the office (LGA 1972, ss 15(5) and 34(5)). The Local Government Act does not stipulate the type or category of expenditure for which the Mayor may use the Civic Allowance. However, it is commonly described as recompense for the expenses of maintaining the dignity of the office. Furthermore, general items include:
- Consort’s clothing
- Donations to charities
- Personal hospitality (including lunches and dinners)
- One-off events held by the Mayor
It should be noted that the purchase of the above items would not necessarily qualify towards the allowance for tax-deductive purposes; it merely suggests that the items relate to maintaining the dignity of the office.
The Town Council’s budget contains provision for certain civic events including Remembrance Sunday, Civic Sunday and receiving Civic visitors. It is important for the Mayor to plan the use of the allowance over the year. Once the budget level has been reached, no payments can be made or further orders placed by Council officers.
Support by Deputy Mayor
The Deputy Mayor will support the Mayor throughout the year by representing the Council when the Mayor is unavailable or has another engagement.
If the Mayor is not present at a Full Council meeting, the Deputy Mayor shall preside.
In effect, the Deputy Mayor has no standing as Deputy Mayor when the Mayor is present but assumes the precedence and standing of the Mayor when they are deputising for the Mayor rather than acting as Deputy. Notwithstanding the presence of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor is permitted to wear insignia at Council Meetings and Civic Events within the Town.
Invitations to the Deputy Mayor should be dealt with as follows:
- Invitations to functions should not be sent to (or solicited by) the Deputy Mayor. The Deputy Mayor should not normally attend functions in their own right, except when deputising for the Mayor.
- All invitations should be sent for consideration by the Mayor as First Citizen and, if the Mayor cannot attend, it may be appropriate to ‘pass down’ an invitation firstly to the Deputy Mayor, then previous Mayor and then another Councillor chosen by the Mayor.
- On the rare occasion when the Deputy Mayor is invited to a function in their own right, there should be a clear procedure whereby the invitation is shown formally by the Mayor’s PA to the Mayor, in order that there is no misunderstanding
Invitations to Councillors
Invitations to Councillors other than the Mayor or Deputy Mayor to represent the Town or the Town Council should be dealt with in the same way as invitations to the Deputy Mayor.
The Mayor’s chain is the outward signs of the civic office held, i.e. its insignia.
The Mayor should wear the chain at ceremonial occasions, such as Civic Sunday, Remembrance Sunday, Royal visits etc. and when chairing Town Council meetings.
The Mayor may also wear the chain, when officially invited as Town Mayor, to external functions.
The Mayor should not wear the civic insignia in another area without express permission from the Council for that area. Civic chains should never be worn with a military uniform. However, a Mayor who is a member of the clergy may wear full canonicals with the chain over the gown. Similarly, the chain may be worn over academic dress.
Precedence and Protocol
A formal distinction has to be made between the style of address of a Borough Mayor and that of a Town Mayor. It is suggested that, at least in the presence of the Borough Mayor, Town Mayor’s should be addressed as ‘Mr/Madam Town Mayor’.
A female Mayor should still be termed as Mayor, not a Mayoress.
Precedence and protocol for visits and events is often set by custom and practice, with the exception of Royal visits.
The Town Clerk or Mayor’s PA will be able to offer further advice and assistance on these matters.
Receipt of Gifts
In the course of the duty of being Mayor, often gifts will be offered to the Mayor. It is suggested that all Members should treat with extreme caution any offer of a gift, favour or hospitality that is made to them personally.
As is the case with Town Councillors in general, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor remain subject to the Code of Conduct for Members which is in force at the time.
The Code of Conduct requires Members, including Mayors, to register any gifts or hospitality worth £100 or over that are received in connection with their official duties as a Member, and the source of the gift or hospitality. You must register the gift or hospitality and its source within 28 days of receiving it.
Be aware that this will be a non-pecuniary interest and if a matter under consideration is likely to affect a person who gave you a gift or hospitality that must be declared.
If in doubt, consult the Town Clerk.
The Civic Year
Below is a list of typical events which are organised during the Mayor’s Year in Office. These dates should be discussed and arranged during a meeting with the Mayor, Town Clerk and Civic Events Officer at the beginning of each new year to suit the Mayor’s diary.
The Civic Service is held in one of the Town’s places of worship. Consultation for the date of the Service is carried out by a meeting with the minister or leader of the place of worship.
The Civic Service can be held in the early part of the Mayoral year but care should be taken to avoid clashes with similar events organised by neighbouring authorities.
Civic Dignitaries from the Town Council designated list together with colleagues, friends and family are invited and partake of refreshments at the conclusion of the service.
Annual Parish Meeting
This is not the Annual Meeting of the Town Council. It is a legal requirement that all Parishes in England hold an ‘Annual Parish Meeting’ to which all local electors are entitled to attend. It must be held between 1st March and 1st June each year, and must start no earlier than 6pm. The Town Council usually holds this in April.
Remembrance Sunday is held on the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of Armistice Day which is on November 11th. The Town Mayor lays a wreath at four sites in the Town as First Citizen of Knutsford.
Mayor’s Charity Ball
The Charity Ball is a highlight of the Mayor’s year. Invitees will include Civic Dignitaries from the Unitary Authority and neighbouring Town and Parish Councils, Town Councillors and representatives of local organisations. Other invitees will be at the discretion of the Town Mayor.
The date of the Ball will be at the discretion of the Town Mayor but every effort will be made to avoid any clash with a similar event organised by a neighbouring authority.
Other events may be organised in the Mayor’s year.
Miscellaneous Events within the Town
Various miscellaneous events are attended by the Mayor, examples of which are listed below:
- Presenting Awards and Prizes to individuals and organisations
- Entertaining guests and visitors at the Town Council Offices
- Presentations at local schools
- Christmas Lights Switch-on
- Attending and meeting Royal Visitors to the Town
Miscellaneous Events outside of the Town
The Mayor is invited to a number of events organised by Civic Dignitaries from the surrounding areas which may include:
- Civic Services
- Civic Carol Services
- Civic Dinners
- Charity Evening
Mayor’s End of Year
The outgoing Mayor needs to consider a number of matters:
- Thanks to support employees is always appreciated
- Thanks to the Mayor’s personal supporters – partner, family, friends, etc.
- Thanks to the Deputy Mayor for support and assistance
- Thanks to the Mayor’s Chaplain
- Thanks to the Mayor’s Charity supporters, those Councillors who have helped – and anyone else
- Talking to the successor, when announced, giving advice and information
The agenda of the Annual Meeting will be formatted to allow the outgoing Mayor to offer thanks.
A cadet will be chosen alternately from the Air Training Corps, Army Cadets, Fire and Rescue Cadets, Scouts or Guides. The Council shall invite the Commanding Officer of the relevant organisation to nominate candidates to the position each February.
Should an organisation have insufficient members to nominate an appropriate cadet, the alternative organisation will be invited to nominate. The nominated cadets should expect to be in the locale for their term of office i.e. from Mayor Making to Mayor Making (May to May)
The Deputy Town Mayor shall review the nominations and appoint a Mayoral Cadet to serve the next Civic Year by April 1st.
The chosen cadet will be informed of the decision, and invited to attend the Mayor Making ceremony.
The chosen cadet will be appointed regardless of whether the Deputy Town Mayor is elected Mayor at the Mayor Making.
The Mayor’s Cadet will be sworn in at the Mayor Making ceremony and presented with a badge of office.
The Mayor’s Cadet’s term of office runs until the appointment of the new Mayor’s Cadet
The Mayor’s Cadets duties will be:
- Attendance at the Mayor Making
- Participation in Mayoral Processions / Civic Service
- Participation in the Remembrance Sunday Parade and Services
- Briefing the incoming cadet of their duties
- Other occasions as requested by the Town Mayor
It is anticipated opportunities will arise to attend (with the Mayor) a wide variety of local cultural and community events, including those of other local towns and civic dignitaries. (The cadet’s education and cadet’s organizational needs to take precedence.)
The Town Mayor’s Cadet is expected to:
- Be clean and smart at all times
- Keep confidential any matters learned as a result of the exercise of the office
- Inform the Civic Events Officer if they are unable to attend any function
Annex A – Protocol
Mayor and Deputies
All invitations should be sent to the Mayor at the Town Council Offices.
If the Mayor cannot attend then, with the agreement of the inviting body, the Deputy Mayor should be asked to deputise and then in their absence the previous Town Mayor. If the previous Town Mayor is unable to attend the current Town Mayor may choose a councillor as a representative.
For events out of the town, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor may attend different functions on behalf of the Council.
For events in the Town, it is envisaged that there may be occasions when the Mayor is attending one function and the Deputy Mayor or other representative could attend another.
If an invitation to any function, in or out of the Town is sent directly to the Deputy Mayor then he/she should inform the Mayor’s PA who will inform the Mayor and seek his/her views.
As a general rule, the Deputy Mayor will not attend as Deputy at functions at which the Mayor is present, save for those occasions set out specifically below:
Council Meetings: The Deputy Mayor should wear the Chain of Office and must deputise in the absence of the Mayor.
Knutsford Civic Events: The Deputy Mayor should wear the Chain of Office.
Royal Visits: The invitations will only go to the Mayor. If the Mayor is unable to attend then the Town Clerk will check with the Lord Lieutenant’s office whether the Deputy Mayor can deputise. If the Deputy Mayor is able to deputise, then he/she will wear the Deputy Mayor’s chain.
Charity Nights If the Mayor wishes to hold his/her own charity night then he/she should discuss the proposal with the Town Clerk or Mayor’s PA to be clear as to the full implications of so doing.
Annex B – Civic Invitees
All invitations are to include partners and to encourage an alternative representative of the body to attend as necessary. The Mayor is entitled to extend invitations to a reasonable number of personal friends and family to Town Council Civic Events.
The Mayor shall advise officers each year which Parish Councils and Community Groups should be invited to Civic events in their year in Office. The Civic Events Officer should thoroughly update the Civic Invitee database every June. Former Town Councillors shall be asked annually if they wish to remain on the Civic List.
- Knutsford Town Councillors
- Cheshire East Mayor & Consort
- Knutsford Ward CEC Councillors
- All former Knutsford Town Councillors
- All former Knutsford Mayors or widows/widowers
- Tatton MP
- Lord Mayor of Chester
- Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire
- High Sheriff of Cheshire
- Recipients of Knutsford Civic Awards
- Congleton Town Mayor & Consort
- Crewe Town Mayor & Consort
- Macclesfield Town Mayor & Consort
- Middlewich Town Mayor & Consort
- Nantwich Town Mayor & Consort
- Northwich Town Mayor & Consort
- Poynton Town Mayor & Consort
- Sandbach Town Mayor & Consort
- Alsager Town Council Chairman
- Wilmslow Town Council Chairman
- Bollington Town Mayor & Consort
- Winsford Town Mayor & Consort
Community Groups and Organisations
- All Knutsford Church Leaders: Lay and Clerical
- Knutsford Police Station, Inspector
- Manchester Airport, Community Relations
- North West Ambulance Service
- Knutsford Heritage Centre, Patron
- Chairman (or equivalent) of Community Organisations
- All Heads of Knutsford Schools
- All uniformed Youth Organisation Leaders
- Knutsford Fire Station, Manager
- Royal British Legion, Chairman
- East Cheshire Hospice, Chief Executive
- Gaskell Society, Chairman
- Knutsford District Scouts, District Commissioner