The Mayor's role
The ancient office of Mayor dates back to the days when Mayors had much wider authority and power than they do today.
The position today is a civic role with the exception of the chairing of Council meetings.
However, the importance of the position is still widely recognised and remains the highest office that the citizens of a borough, through their elected representatives, can confer. It makes the holder their first citizen, and, within the borough, the Mayor takes precedence over everyone except the sovereign or the sovereign's representative.
Each Mayor will adopt their own personal approach to the role, establishing their own priorities and interests, such as youth, disabled or elderly people. In all cases however there is a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the office.
The Mayor's main duties
The responsibilities of the Mayor include:
- preside over meetings of the Council so that its business can be carried out efficiently
- ensure that the council meeting is a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community and the place at which members who are not on the Executive are able to hold the Executive to account
- promote public involvement in the Council's activities
- attend such civic and ceremonial functions as the council and he or she determines is appropriate
- sign legal documents
Duties at Council meetings
One of the main duties of the Mayor is to preside over meetings of Council and to ensure Council meetings are conducted in accordance with the certain legal procedures and Havering's Constitution. If present at the meeting the Mayor must preside.
Duties at extraordinary meetings
The Mayor can call an extraordinary meeting of Council at any time subject to procedures being followed. The Mayor has to fix an extraordinary meeting if a requisition signed by at least five members is received. If the Mayor fails to do so after seven days, the members concerned may do so.
Duties as first citizen
There are also a number of functions the Mayor fulfils as First Citizen. The Mayor can be asked by the Metropolitan Police to provide letters of support for organisations wishing to hold charity collections in the borough, currently up to a limit of ten per year. The Mayor also decides on the borough civic awards.
Other than these specific duties the Mayor is generally required to uphold the position of First Citizen by representing the borough at civic and non-civic events within Havering and at ceremonial events for Greater London, such as the Lord Mayor's Show and the London Mayors' Association Civic Service.
Duties at civic ceremonies and functions
The Mayor officiates at the following civic ceremonies:
This service is generally held towards the end of the Mayor's term of office. The Mayor determines where it should be held, but it is a service that celebrates the life of the Borough. Invitations are sent to Council members, past Mayors, clergy, community leaders', representatives of community organisations, senior officers and distinguished citizens. This event is organised by the Mayor's Secretary.
Havering Remembrance Service is held on the Sunday nearest Remembrance Day. There is also an observance of two minutes silence on Remembrance Day.
These are presented to citizens who have served the Borough with distinction. Individuals can be nominated by anyone and are determined by the Mayor with agreed criteria.