Civic Information - Role of the Mayor

Not sure what the Mayor of Milton Keynes does? Would you like to find out more about the Mayor's role in a new town like Milton Keynes?

Prior to the formation of Milton Keynes in 1974, the four local councils in the area, ie Bletchley Urban District Council, Wolverton Urban District Council, Newport Pagnell Urban District Council and Newport Pagnell Rural District Council all had their own Mayors.

Within the present Borough of Milton Keynes, the Town Councils of Olney, Newport Pagnell and Woburn Sands have retained their right to have a Town Mayor. However, the Mayor of Milton Keynes, as First Citizen, takes precedent over the Town Mayors, even in their own areas.

Under current legislation, ie the Local Government Act 1974, a Mayor must be a serving councillor and by definition a politician, with responsibilities to the electors of his or her ward and ties, in most instances, to a political group on the Council.

The convention has been that, during the Mayoralty, the Mayor reduces his or her political profile and attachments to his or her group. Mayors generally go out of their way to display their even handedness in political matters during the year.

As a 'new town' there are very few historic traditions associated with the office of Mayor of Milton Keynes. The main function of the Mayor is to act as the public figurehead for the Council. Apart from chairing meetings of the full Council there are three other key roles for the modern mayor to fulfill:

As Chair of the Council:

Chairing Council Meetings is one of the few legal duties associated with the role of a modern Mayor. See below for more information on Council Meetings.

As a symbol of the authority: 

The Mayor, with the Chain of Office, is seen as a symbol of the local authority and its area;

As a symbol of an open society:

Today's mayors can come from any class, gender, ethnic or religious background. This diversity reflects the more open, democratic and equal society in which we now live;

As an expression of social cohesion:

The many engagements, most of which are social, undertaken the Mayor, give an expression of cohesion to the life of the area covered by Milton Keynes Council. The Mayor can act as a link between the various bodies he or she visits and can feed back the views and concerns of the people into the political field. The Mayor is also in a position to take the Council's message and Strategic Aims out into the community and work towards achieving social, community, educational and economic policies.

Mayoress or Mayor's Consort

The Mayor may choose a Mayoress or his or her Consort for the year. This is normally the Mayor's spouse or partner, but can be any person over the age of 18 years. A Mayoress or Consort is not obligatory, and a single person who becomes Mayor, may decide not to appoint anyone to assist them.

Note: a female Mayor is not a Mayoress, a title which only applies to a Mayor's nominated female partner. A female Mayor is addressed as Madam Mayor and may appoint another female to act as her Mayoress during her year in office.

Annual Council

This is technically the AGM of Milton Keynes Council, to which various local dignitaries are invited. It is the meeting at which the election of the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor takes place and includes the ceremonial handing over of the Chains of Office. The meeting deals with very little day to day Council business. After the meeting, the new Mayor hosts a small reception for those present, including members of the public if they wish to stay.

Full Council

The Mayor is Chair of the full Council, which meets monthly throughout the year and his or her role is defined in the Council's Constitution. The Chief Executive advises the Mayor on the Constitution and on procedural matters at Council if invited to do so by the Mayor. It is a matter for the Mayor whether he or she accepts that advice. The Mayor's ruling, right or wrong, is final.

There are some matters in the Constitution on which the Mayor must accept the advice of the Chief Executive - e.g. the status of rescinding motions, interpretation of the law and the calling of special meetings.

Mayor's Charity

There is no specific Mayoral Charity, but Mayors, do normally allow their title to be associated with a charity for the purpose of fund raising.

Last Updated: 2 July 2020