There are three important aspects to the role of Mayor in today’s local authority:
to act as First Citizen of the borough
to be a symbol of an open society
to be an expression of social cohesion by acting as a link between various organisations - this can be done by both taking the council’s messages into the community and feeding back views and concerns of the borough’s people
The Mayor’s responsibilities are:
chairing full council meetings - the role of Mayor is not political and the Mayor has no formal power on decision making except to chair council meetings
making sure the Constitution is followed
organising and hosting a number of civic events
representing the borough at ceremonial occasions
supporting local schools, organisations and businesses by attending a wide range of events including awareness-raising promotions, fund-raising events, Annual General Meetings, opening new or refurbished facilities and launching new services or businesses - the many varied engagements undertaken each year will bring the Mayor into contact with a very wide range of people from all parts of the Borough
The Mayor’s office sends a representative to, on average, 300 events every year. As not every event can be attended by the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor or last year’s Mayor will attend if the Mayor is busy attending another event or unavailable.
The Mayor’s Consort is there to support the Mayor during engagements when he/she is representing the Borough of Bracknell Forest. The Consort will never carry out engagements on his/her own. If the Mayor chooses a female companion she would be known as the Mayoress, but if it is a male companion then he would be known as the Mayor’s Consort. The Mayor’s companion does not have to be his/her partner.
The Deputy Mayor attends events when the Mayor is unavailable. Although there is no official role the Deputy Mayor should be treated just like the Mayor as he/she is there on the Mayor’s behalf. It is tradition at Bracknell Forest for the Deputy Mayor to be elected Mayor. There are only two occasions when it would be appropriate for the Deputy to attend an event wearing the chain along with the Mayor and these would be the Civic Reception and Civic Service. The Deputy Mayor may be invited to a function in his/her own right but usually this only happens if he/she has a connection to the organisation or the event. It is more likely that he/she would be invited in their capacity as local Councillor.
This is a church service and is normally the first major Civic event of the Mayor’s year. The date, venue and the content of the church service is decided by the Mayor’s Chaplain and the Mayor. The collection during the service is usually given to the Mayor’s Charity, at the discretion of the Mayor’s Chaplain.
The civic reception has traditionally been arranged by the Mayor to recognise and thank local organisations for their work in the community, including voluntary groups, town and parish councils, community associations, businesses as well as the civic dignitaries of the neighbouring areas. In the past the reception has been a formal dinner and dance, a buffet meal and recently an afternoon tea with demonstrations from local interest groups. This event is not financially supported by the council but is a fully sponsored event.
Citizenship ceremonies are an occasion for applicants to formally attain British citizenship attended by family and close friends.
Ceremonies in Bracknell Forest are held in groups, usually between 10 and 20 people, and the Mayor attends to welcome each new citizen to the Borough and present them with their citizenship certificate.
The Mayor organises charity events to raise money and awareness for his/her chosen charity. Recent events have included a Valentine’s ball, Charity ball and dinners, golf day, pancake race, bag packing at local supermarket together with traditional collection days.
The Mayor’s robes, chains and badges of office are outward signs of the civic office. The chain was originally donated to the borough by Marks and Spencer in 1999. The shields on the Mayor’s chain which form the actual chain as distinct from the badge are, in part, engraved with the names of the parishes within Bracknell Forest and also the names of previous bearers of the office of Mayor. The design of the main pendants was updated in 2010 by John Nike, OBE to reflect the council’s new logo.
The Mayor’s robes, chains and badges of office are outward signs of the civic office. The robes signify that the Mayor is representing several parties – Red represents the Queen, Black represents Law, the fur represents the People. The ceremonial robe was presented to the Borough in 2003 as a gift from the Meteorological Office. However depending on the event (or the weather) it may not be appropriate for the Mayor to wear the full regalia.