Agenda item

Mayoralty Protocol - The Financing of Twinning Events

Report No: MAC/SE/16/003


The Committee considered Report No: MAC/SE/16/003, which sought approval for a number of recommendations in connection with the future financing of twinning events and the associated changes to the Mayoralty Protocol.


The Mayoralty Review, undertaken by the Committee in 2013, had considered the events attended and supported by the Mayor. The primary purpose of the Mayoralty was agreed to be the promotion of community engagement, the economic vitality of the Borough and the democratic process.  This should inform decisions about the acceptance of invitations to attend events and the choice of invitees to events hosted by the Mayor.


It had also been agreed that the diary of the Mayor had to reflect the resources available, and in practice events and invitations would be informally assessed with a view to determining which events aligned most closely with the strategic priorities of the Council. As a result of the review, the Mayoralty budget had reduced by £5,000 from 1 March 2015.


Bury St Edmunds was twinned with Compiegne in France and Kevelaer in Germany.  The Borough also had a Charter of Friendship with Huy in Belgium and Ehringhausen in Germany.


Consideration was given to the financial support currently provided to civic events connected with the twinning of the above towns and whether funding for such events should continue to be provided from the civic budget.  Under the Mayoralty Protocol, the Mayor was authorised to attend civic events in ‘twin’ towns with the cost funded through the Mayor’s Personal Allowance; however due to insufficient funds being available from this allowance, the costs had been funded from the civic budget in recent years. When twinning events were hosted by the Mayor in Bury St Edmunds, these were also funded from the civic budget.


The Committee considered the history and background to the twin towns, as outlined in the report and felt that modern communication should be encouraged, such as using video messaging and social media, which would maintain links with the twin towns but at a significantly reduced cost. Invitations to visit, and the hosting of twin town events, should not automatically be accepted by the Mayor and be funded by the civic budget.  Should the Mayor wish to support such events, these should be funded from the Mayor’s Personal Allowance, as originally intended.


In order to provide sufficient time to enable the Twinning Associations/Friends to raise their own funds to pay for twinning events, as appropriate, whilst also maintaining a commitment to celebrating the 50th anniversary of twinning with Compiegne in 2017, it was agreed that from 1 April 2018, no funding would be provided by the Council’s civic budget.


Encouragement was also shown for partners to become more involved, such as through local schools and Bury St Edmunds Town Council, to assist the Twinning Associations/Friends with their future events and fundraising activities.   


Attached as Appendix A was a tracked changed version of the Mayoralty Protocol, which enabled Members to easily view the amendments proposed.  Appendix B showed a final version of the Protocol with the proposed changes incorporated.  As it was an amendment to the Constitution, the revised protocol would require approval by full Council.


The amendments were accepted by the Committee, as proposed.




(1)    the adoption of the practices outlined in (a) to (g) below, be approved; and


(2)    the changes required to the Constitution, working practices and the Mayoralty Protocol as a consequence of the recommendations be made as detailed and tracked on the revised Mayoralty Protocol, attached as Appendix A to Report No: MAC/SE/16/003.


(a)    That the Council continues to support the twinning relationships financially (from the appropriate budgets available to the Mayoralty) until 1 April 2018.


(b)    To support the 50th Anniversary of the twinning with Compiegne in 2017 within current Mayoralty budget (civic functions) as well as accommodating 2016 delegates visiting Bury St Edmunds.


(c)     To continue with current arrangements with Kevelaer until the end of 2017 within the current Mayoralty budget.


(d)    That from 1 April 2018, the Mayor does not automatically and annually accept and fund invitations to visit twin towns abroad nor hosts delegates from the civic budget.


(e)    That the Twinning Associations start to contribute to the twinning costs between 2016 -18.


(f)     That the Head of HR, Legal and Democratic Services be given delegated authority to make the required changes to the Mayoralty Protocol, Sections 2.2 -2.7.


(g)    That a letter be written to the Friends of Compiegne and the Kevelaer group explaining future arrangements and continuing commitment to supporting twin towns whilst reducing the annual expense to the Council.


Supporting documents: