Role of the Mayor

The Mayor replaced the previous Council Leader and leads the city council and its full range of services – from social care to waste collections – with a turnover of around £1billion a year. The Mayor will also perform a broader role representing the interests of Bristol’s citizens.

Read Bristol City Council and an elected Mayor for more information.

Frequently asked questions

How often will elections take place for an elected Mayor?

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?

£51,000 although this will be reviewed by full council on 15 January 2013.

Will there still be a Lord Mayor when the elected Mayor is in place?

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 chosen annually by full council and dates back to 1899 and before that as “Mayor” to the year 1216.  The Lord Mayor is usually someone who has been a councillor for a number of years, and is a new appointment every year. 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.

The roles of directly elected Mayor and Lord Mayor are very different – although the similarity of the titles might prove a little confusing sometimes.

Will there still be local councillors?

Each ward will continue to have two councillors representing them. 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 during their term of office?

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

Now that we have chosen an elected Mayor system, will we have this system indefinitely?

Yes, unless a new law is passed by Parliament to allow Bristol voters to swap back to the previous system, if they don’t want to carry on having a directly elected mayoral system.

Decision making

The elected Mayor will decide on which kind of decisions are taken by either:

themselves individually
or delegated to the Cabinet (known as the Executive)
or delegated to individual Cabinet members
or delegated to officers.

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

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

Cabinet and deputies

The elected Mayor has appointed a Cabinet of three councillors.
Councillor Simon Cook – Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Capital Programmes
Councillor Geoff Gollop – Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services
Councillor Gus Hoyt – Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Equalities

The Mayor is retaining direct responsibility for all other policy areas within his own portfolio including the statutorily-required children’s services executive responsibilities (for the purposes of Children Act 2004).


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

Overview and Scrutiny

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 doesn’t currently have to help them make Bristol a better city?

No. The elected Mayor doesn’t have any formal legal powers compared to the previous Council Leader, but they may seek to negotiate some with central government after they have taken office.

How many directly elected Mayors are there in the United Kingdom?

There are 15, as follows:
North Tyneside
Tower Hamlets