The case for and against Lord Mayors

Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley
Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley

Savings made to the budget of an important role which links in with the community

SHEFFIELD’S current Lord Mayor, Coun Sylvia Dunkley, today defended the importance of the role as an ambassador and figurehead for the city - and said savings have already been made in its running costs.

Details of her expenditure so far have not been revealed but, in 2010/11, her predecessor Coun Alan Law spent the least of any Lord Mayor since 2006.

Coun Dunkley said: “We have been trying to keep costs down, making savings on the budget, keeping the hospitality budget down. The amount we have to spend is quite small compared with other cities.”

Describing the importance of her role, the Liberal Democrat member for Ecclesall said: “There are a lot of people who value having a Lord Mayor. It’s useful when we have foreign visitors for them to be received by the Lord Mayor, and they are always pleased to be invited to the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall.

“And a lot of what the Lord Mayor does is recognising the achievements of other people, whether it is someone who has reached their 100th birthday or a young person achieving something really good. Much of my time is spent attending awards ceremonies.

“A lot of people are interested in the chain of office and my consort says when I go into a room people’s eyes light up. The title has some romance to it - it’s different from the day-to-day work of the council.

“I will probably attend 1,000 engagements over my year and also raise funds for charity.”

A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said the Lord Mayor’s team had been reduced in number from three to two full-time staff and cuts have been made too to the hospitality and gifts budget.

She said: “The Lord Mayor plays a valuable role linking into the community and developing social cohesion. In addition to being an independent chairman for meetings of the council, it is also a traditional role linking the present day to the city’s history and identity.”