Birmingham City Council has launched a consultation into their community strategy in order to glean a new understanding into how well it communicates and engages with the public.
The authority is asking locals about how they find out council news, what they feel most proud of in Birmingham - and what they know about the city’s First Citizen, the Lord Mayor.
The survey is open until January 14 and the council says: “2022 is set to be a big year for Birmingham, with the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Cultural Festival and other activities ongoing throughout the year.
“We know that there are a range of ways in which you might hear from Birmingham City Council, and as we enter the new year, we would like to hear what is most relevant to you, along with your insights about what you would like to see.”
BirminghamWorld asked people in the city for their views on the Lord Mayor - it seems many are not too sure about what the role currently entails. Here’s what we were told. Please watch our video above too!
‘I’ve got a broad idea of the role, but I wouldn’t know what he does day to day’
Sarah says: “Well, I mean, I have maybe a broad idea of what the role of the Lord Mayor, I wouldn’t know he does day to day - would imagine loads of meetings, plenty of connecting with the council’s and various other charities and, you know, parts of the community of Birmingham. But no, that’s about as far as it goes really.”
‘I don’t know’
Tom says: “Personally, I don’t know what the Lord Mayor does. I imagine….I don’t know… I don’t know what they do!”
‘I’m not to sure, but it sounds important’
Faiz says: “I’m actually not too sure about what his role is in the council or whatever. But I think he should be overseeing relations between, especially if he’s Lord Mayor, that’s more of a ceremonial role. I think it should be like liasing between councils, Parliament,
House of Lords, and just to oversee the council in the general.”
Don says: “I don’t know what he does. It sounds important. But he needs to fix Birmingham, take all the roadworks away so people can get around.”
‘I literally have no understanding’
Laura says: “I have literally no understanding of the Lord Mayor of Birmingham or what he does. I’m assuming he should be making improvements across the city or implementing some ideas to help local residents but I don’t actually know anything about him.”
‘Probably something to do with shuffling paperwork’
Bonnie says: “I honestly don’t know what his job is! Probably something do with shuffling paperwork and keeping on top of all the different departments, hearing things from the public and seeing what he can do about them.”
Tarek says: “I mean, he’s ultimately responsible, like any point of management, I expect him to be responsible for all the stuff that goes on below.”
What does the Lord Mayor really do?
The office of Mayor, together with the Domesday Book and the Feudal System, were brought to this country by the Normans. In continental Europe the office has existed since at least the fifth century.
The council appoints a new Lord Mayor each year. Cllr Muhammad Afzal, who represents Aston and is a member of the Labour group, is the currently post holder. He is the longest-serving Muslim councillor in the UK and hails from Jhelum, Pakistan.
The majority of of the Lord Mayor’s responsibilities relate to the ‘first citizen’ function of of the role in representing the Council. Many of the Lord Mayor’s duties are ambassadorial, representing the people and the City both at home and abroad.
In so doing each Lord Mayor, who serves for a year, meet a wide range of voluntary organisations, charities, employers, agencies, civic heads from other Local Authorities, consular and diplomatic representatives, visiting Heads of State and members of the Royal Family.
The Lord Mayor also has a role in friendly relations between Birmingham and other cities and regions both at home and abroad. In more recent times, trade and the economic considerations have played a major role but the importance of cultural and social linkage and understanding should not be lost.
The Lord Mayor is also the Chair of Council meetings. He is responsible for ensuring Council business is carried out in an orderly and proper manner. This is seen as an important symbol that the council itself is the council of the people of Birmingham.
To find out more click on: Lord Mayor’s role in Birmingham.
How can I give my feedback to the council about their consultation on what I think the Lord Mayor role should include?
The council has published an online survey explaining the consultation into how they communicate and engage with locals.
They say that the survey takes less than five minutes to complete.
It contains eight questions focused around three themes: your main sources of news and engagement with the council, your engagement with Birmingham’s First Citizen the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, and the civic pride campaign Be Bold Be Birmingham.
The council says: “Your views will be used to inform how we plan communications and no personal information will be collected.” To complete the survey click on: Birmingham City Council Communication and Community Engagement Survey.
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