Before the local government re-organisation in 1996 the Mayor was the Chairman of Bath City Council. Now the Mayor is Chairman of the Charter Trustees and the Ambassador for the city. This is a non-political role promoting Bath, nationally and internationally, and supporting the local community.
The Charter Trustees are the 32 Councillors elected to represent the wards in the city on Bath & North East Somerset Council. There are usually four meetings each year and the Mayor is dressed formally in robe, jabot, Collar of Office and hat. As Charter Trustees the Bath Councillors maintain the traditions and functions of the Mayor and hold historic and ceremonial property, in particular Charters (the ancient documents devolving power from various monarchs over many centuries), the Insignia (Collars and Badges of Office), Civic Regalia (two Maces, City Sword, robes and City Watch Staves), and the City Plate (gold and silver collection).
Financially, Charter Trustees are treated as a Parish Council. They raise a precept on the Council tax payers of the City, which must be spent and accounted for in the same way as any other Council.
Each year the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath elect one of their number to be their Chairman and Mayor of the City of Bath and another to be Vice Chairman and Deputy Mayor of the City of Bath. They also elect a Committee of seven Charter Trustees to oversee the day-to-day functions of the Mayoralty and the Charter Trustees.
Full Meetings of the Charter Trustees 2016
Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Guildhall
Tuesday 5th April 2016 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Guildhall
Saturday 4th June 2016 at 11am in Bath Abbey
Tuesday 11th October 2016 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Guildhall
Many of the original Towns have subsequently achieved Parish status and now have a Town Council with a Mayor - Banbury, Beverley, Bridgwater, Daventry, Dover, Deal, Folkstone, Hereford,and Newbury, Weston-super-Mare. However, 12 of the original towns remain Charter Trustees. These are Bexhill-on-Sea, Burton-on-Trent, East Retford, Grantham, High Wycombe, Kidderminster, Lowestoft, Mansfield, Margate, New Sarum (Salisbury), Ramsgate and Worksop.
The creation of new Unitary Councils in the last few years has resulted in more town or City Councils being abolished, with the potential loss of Mayoralty after a period of several hundred years. The Charter Trustees Regulations 1996 were brought into force and, on 1st April 1996, the City of Bath and the Towns of Beverley, Cleethorpes, Great Grimsby and Scunthorpe became Charter Trustee Towns. The City of Hereford was added in 1998. The numbers of Councillors and the percentage of Charter Trustees within the principal Council varies enormously. This can vary from 32 Charter Trustees in 65 Councillors in the case of Bath (50%) to 5 in 67 in Beverley (7%).