A Mayor is elected each year, for a term of one municipal year, by fellow councillors. The confirmation of the 'Mayor Elect' by the full Council usually takes place in January, to allow the incoming Mayor to prepare for inauguration in May. They are typically, but by no means necessarily, chosen from the majority party. For the mayoral year the role is however strictly non-political and representative of every section of the community; particularly focused on cultivating the positive image of the borough and on enhancing the well-being of its citizens.
At the time of the inauguration, the Mayor will announce who is to be the Mayoress or Consort and who is to be the Deputy Mayor.
The role is civic and ceremonial with no executive role in the running of the council and they are therefore sometimes referred to as "Civic Mayors", to distinguish them and their role from that of "Elected Mayors", such as for example the Mayor of London, or of the small number of London boroughs that have chosen to be led by a publicly elected mayor rather than by a "Leader". In these latter cases the individual performing the role of civic mayor will typically, sometimes confusingly, be called "Speaker" or "Chairman".
The Mayor is the borough's First Citizen. Within the borough the Mayor takes precedence over everyone apart from the Sovereign or the Sovereign's representative, the Lord Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant acting for the Lord Lieutenant.
The Mayor is responsible for undertaking all civic ceremonial within the borough, including:
- greeting members of the Royal family when visiting the borough, as well as other dignitaries on official visits.
- acting as the borough's ambassador on official visits outside the borough, for example at the annual war-time commemoration events in Croydon's twin town Arnhem.
- leading the community at major civic events, including the annual Civic Service, the Remembrance Day Service and ceremonial military parades.
- attending the regular Citizenship ceremonies.
The majority of the Mayor's time is spent supporting local community, voluntary and charitable organisations, including the arts, environment, and sports, as well as businesses, by launching, attending and hosting functions - typically attending some 500 engagements a year. The Mayor is always happy to welcome groups to the Town Hall, by appointment, where a guided tour can be given, together with a talk on the history of the building, the borough and the civic insignia.
The Mayor aims to help motivate organisations that contribute to the well-being and cohesion of the community and, joining with those who benefit from their services, to pay tribute to the dedication and hard work of their members.
Chair full Council meetings:
- uphold and promote the purposes of the Constitution, interpreting it where necessary.
- preside over meetings of the Council so that business can be carried out efficiently and with regard to the rights of councillors and the interests of the community.
- hold the casting vote.
At the beginning of each mayoral year it is customary for the Mayor to set up an appeal fund for one or more charities, typically ones which directly or indirectly, benefit Croydon. The Mayor has complete discretion over both the choice of charities and over how the funds raised should be disbursed.
The Mayor will choose a fellow councillor to be Deputy for the year. Deputies have two distinct roles. When formally deputising for the Mayor they have the same non-political responsibilities and prerogatives as the Mayor. When not formally deputising they, however, continue to function as regular councillors.