Chief Commoner

On 28 June, I wrote to colleagues advising that I am planning to seek election as Chief Commoner of the City of London for 2021-2022, and to ask for their support. The election takes place at the October 2020 meeting of the Court of Common Council.

The office of Chief Commoner goes back to the fifteenth century and is now elected by the Court of Common Council taking office in April for a year. The Chief is the foremost civic representative of the Common Councillors and works alongside the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs during their year of office. The Chief takes the lead on the provision of City Corporation hospitality and on Members’ privileges and related issues.

In a note circulated to Members of the Court of Common Council, I set out my vision for the Office, if elected, and my credentials for the role:

My commitments

I offer a strong and experienced voice who knows how to get things done and promise to be a sympathetic ear for all Members of the Court: ensuring their rights and privileges, dealing with complaints swiftly and effectively, and guaranteeing fair and equitable treatment for all. If elected, my priorities as Chief would include:

  • Working with each Member to effectively implement Lord Lisvane’s Governance Review – after a full and comprehensive debate by the Court – using my in-depth knowledge of the Corporation’s procedures to ensure all Members continue to have opportunities to contribute;
  • Supporting the Lord Mayor and Policy Chair to enable the Corporation to make a more effective impact externally, using our convening power and world class facilities at Guildhall and beyond;
  • Working with the Remembrancer to re-establish our events and hospitality programme, with a refreshed more strategic approach relevant to a modern era, improving our guest lists to introduce new audiences to the Corporation’s work;
  • Leading the City’s preparations for our active involvement in HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee;
  • Welcoming newly elected Members to the Court and ensuring they receive effective support and induction, as well as reviewing the development programme and facilities provided for all Members;
  • Delivering the long-promised update to City’s Ceremonials and Protocols, whilst maintaining our important City traditions.

My credentials

  • Over 19 years service as a Common Councillor, since February 2001  
  • Extensive service as a Committee Chair, including Licensing, Standards and now Establishment
  • Active Member of the Policy and Resources Committee since 2009 and member of the Resource Allocation Sub-Committee
  • Former Chair of Guildhall Club, leading significant improvements to the service to Members
  • Member: Members’ Privileges Sub-Committee, Hospitality Working Party, Ceremonials Working Party, Member Diversity Working Party, Member Development Steering Group, and Tackling Racism Task Force
  • Held leadership roles with the Local Government Association and London Councils
  • Protocol adviser to the London Mayors’ Association and editor of Civic Ceremonial, advice on Protocol to the Mayors of the London Boroughs (2009)
  • Author of the Chief Commoner’s Handbook (2018)