Although the powers of mayor have diminished over the years, the role has retained its importance.
The Mayor is seen as a symbol of continuity, a recognisable and ever-present factor in people's experiences, effectively connecting the present with the past. It is also a symbol of an open society as the choice of mayor is no longer restricted. The first citizen can, and does, come from any class, gender or ethnic background. The mayor also has a key democratic role to play. After being chosen and appointed by Councillors, they act as a politically impartial chairman of the city council making sure that proper conduct takes place in the council chamber during meetings.
Another key role for a mayor is to act as ambassador for the city, locally and at a national or international level. As Peterborough's first citizen, the mayor is expected to speak and act for all of the diverse communities in the city. The Mayor also takes the lead in highlighting causes and helping members of the community receive the recognition they deserve.
It is probably the mayor's civic role that residents are the most familiar with. The mayor is frequently invited to attend events in the community, such as openings and fund-raising events organised by voluntary organisations. Fund-raising events are also held for the Mayor's charities, which are chosen by the new Mayor at the start of the civic year.