Role of the Mayor

Role of the elected Mayor

The Mayor is the elected leader of Bristol. The Mayor represents the interests of Bristol’s citizens and leads the city council and its full range of services, with a turnover of around £1billion a year. The role of elected Mayor replaced the previous role of Council Leader.

Read Bristol City Council and an elected Mayor (pdf, 59 KB) (opens new window) for more information.

Frequently asked questions

How often will elections take place for an elected Mayor?

Elections will take place every four years. The next election will be in May 2016. This will mean that the first term of office will only be three and a half years. 

How much will the elected Mayor be paid?

The Mayor will be paid £65,738, the same salary as an MP.

Will there still be a Lord Mayor?

Yes. The Chair of the Council, who cannot be the elected Mayor, will continue to be known as the Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor is one of the 70 elected councillors and is chosen annually by full council. The Lord Mayor is usually someone who has been a councillor for a number of years. The office of Lord Mayor is a (largely) ceremonial post, and by tradition, the councillor who holds that office takes no part in the political life of the council for their year of office.

What about local councillors?

Each ward will continue to be represented by two councillors. Local elections for councillors will continue to take place as before, and this is independent of the Mayoral election process.

Can the elected Mayor be removed by the council?

No, the elected Mayor holds office for four years and cannot be voted out of office by councillors.

Will we have the directly elected Mayor system indefinitely?

Yes, unless a new law is passed by Parliament to allow Bristol voters to return to the previous system.

Decision making

The elected Mayor decides on which kind of decisions are taken by:

  • the Mayor
  • the Cabinet (known as the Executive)
  • individual Cabinet members
  • officers.

All key decisions must be made in public unless the matter is confidential.

Most decision making of the council is delegated to officers because of the large number of decisions that must be made.

Cabinet and Deputy Mayor

The Cabinet has six members in addition to the Mayor. There is also a statutorily required Deputy Mayor.

The Mayor retains direct responsibility for all other policy areas within his own portfolio.


The council will still appoint and maintain a range of committees including committees for:

  • Planning
  • Licensing
  • Overview and Scrutiny
  • Audit

The law requires that some important decisions will continue to be taken independently of an elected Mayor.

Will the elected Mayor have extra legal powers that the council didn't previously have?

No. The elected Mayor doesn't have any more formal legal powers than the previous Council Leader.