Department for Culture Media and Sport

civic honours competitions

Civic honours – city status and Lord Mayoralty/Lord Provostship – have been granted by The Queen in Her Diamond Jubilee year.

The closing date for local authorities to apply for these competitions was 27 May 2011. The results were announced on 14 March 2012. Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph were awarded the right to call themselves a city and Armagh will from now on have a Lord Mayor.

If you are interested in finding out more about these competitions, you can view our guidelines on the format and content of entries (PDF 42kb).


Civic honours questions and answers

Who awards city status and Lord Mayoralty/Lord Provostship?
These are ‘civic honours’, granted by Her Majesty the Queen under the Royal Prerogative, acting on the advice of Ministers.

How does a town/area qualify for city status?
Nowadays, competitions are held from time to time, usually to mark important Royal anniversaries. The last two city status competitions were held for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Millennium.  

How does a city qualify for Lord Mayoralty/Lord Provostship?
Nowadays, competitions are held from time to time, usually to mark important Royal anniversaries. The last two Lord Mayoralty competitions were held for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, in 1992.  

What are the criteria? 
Neither city status nor Lord Mayoralty has ever been a right to be claimed by places fulfilling a list of criteria, as this might devalue the honour. The Government, however, published guidelines (PDF 42kb) on the format and contents of entries for the Diamond Jubilee competition. These guidelines describe information which the Government has found useful in reaching a decision, but they do not set out formal criteria. 

Must a city have a cathedral?

Can anyone apply for their town / area to become a city?
No. The application has to come from the elected local authority for the town / area.

Who can apply for a Lord Mayoralty?
Lord Mayoralty or Lord Provostship is an exceptional distinction conferred on a few – usually long-established and important – cities. It entitles the city’s Mayor, or in Scotland its Provost, to be known as the Lord Mayor or Lord Provost during his or her term of office. Only existing cities can apply for this honour and the application must come from the local authority for the city. It was also agreed, for the Diamond Jubilee, that applicant cities must have gained their city status before 1995.  

Are there restrictions as to which towns/areas can apply for city status?
Applications can only be made in respect of the whole of the local authority area, except in Scotland, where the award of city status operates differently because of differences in the legislation underpinning local government. 

Are there restrictions as to which cities can apply for Lord Mayoralty / Lord Provostship?
For the Diamond Jubilee competition, entries were only accepted in respect of cities of at least 15 years’ standing.   

May local authorities whose area includes more than one town enter city status competitions? 
Yes. Except in Scotland, they may only apply in respect of the whole of the local authority area.  An example of city status being conferred on such an area was the Millennium grant of city status to Brighton and Hove. 

What extra powers, functions and funding does a city have, or acquire with a Lord Mayoralty / Lord Provostship?
None. The grant of city status and the grant of Lord Mayoralty are purely honorific and confer no additional powers, functions or funding.

What form did entries take and how were they submitted? 
Full details were contained in the Entry Guidelines (PDF 42kb).

How were the entries assessed?
The contents of the applications received were assessed ‘in the round’ and on their individual merits.  As a Royal prerogative matter relating to honours the process will remain confidential, as will Ministers’ conclusions. The Queen’s decision, made on Ministerial advice, is final and no reasons will be given for applicants’ success or failure in the competitions.  Local authorities have been sent brief comments on their entries. 

Who is responsible for advising the Queen?
Advising Her Majesty on civic honours and other Royal matters is the responsibility of the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council, Nick Clegg, assisted by the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Mark Harper. 

Which other Ministers were involved? 
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for co-ordinating the Government’s involvement in the Diamond Jubilee.  Other Ministers who were involved where appropriate included the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Did the devolved administrations have a say?
Civic honours are reserved matters throughout the United Kingdom and therefore the responsibility of UK Government Ministers; but any comments which the devolved administrations made on the applications from the relevant countries were taken into account.

Where can I find a list of existing cities and of cities with Lord Mayors or Lord Provosts?
Below is a full list of cities in the UK and a full list of cities with Lord Mayors or Lord Provosts.

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UK cities

Following the Diamond Jubilee city status competition, there are 69 cities in the UK - 51 in England, six in Wales, seven in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland.

England Cities

 Bath  Manchester
 Birmingham  Newcastle-upon-Tyne
 Bradford  Norwich
 Brighton & Hove  Nottingham
 Bristol  Oxford
 Carlisle  Peterborough
 Cambridge  Plymouth
 Canterbury  Portsmouth
 Chelmsford  Preston
 Chester  Ripon
 Chichester  Salford
 Coventry  Salisbury
 Derby  Sheffield
 Durham  Southampton
 Ely  St Albans
 Exeter  Stoke-on-Trent
 Gloucester  Sunderland
 Hereford  Truro
 Kingston-upon-Hull  Wakefield
 Lancaster  Wells
 Leeds  Westminster
 Leicester  Winchester
 Lichfield  Wolverhampton
 Lincoln  Worcester
 Liverpool  York

Wales Cities
Bangor, Cardiff, Newport, St Asaph, St David's and Swansea.

Scotland Cities
Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.

Northern Ireland Cities
Armagh, Belfast, Lisburn, Londonderry and Newry.

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UK Cities with Lord Mayors/Lord Provosts

 Aberdeen  Leicester
 Armagh  Liverpool
 Belfast  London
 Birmingham  Manchester
 Bradford  Newcastle-upon-Tyne
 Bristol  Norwich
 Canterbury  Nottingham
 Cardiff  Oxford
 Chester (1992)  Plymouth
 Coventry  Portsmouth
 Dundee  Sheffield
 Edinburgh  Stoke-on-Trent
 Exeter (2002)  Swansea
 Glasgow  Westminster
 Kingston-upon-Hull  York

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