Cllr Sue Woodward

The civic roles at Lichfield District Council have lost their dignity, according to the leader of the opposition group.

Councillors agreed plans to reduce the number of events attended by the chairman and vice-chairman as part of a bid to cut more than £7,000 off the civic budget.

Cllr Sue Woodward

The move was welcomed by Cllr Sue Woodward who said that the role had failed to move with the times.

“Life has moved on since the civic roles came into being,” the Labour opposition group leader at Lichfield District Council said. “The role has lost dignity and the point of being the first citizen of the area.

“Too many trivial events have been attended.”

A new matrix system will help decide whether or not functions will be of benefit to the district.

Cllr Woodward said it was important for members of the council to consider how the public perceive the money spent on civic duties.

“There will always be cynicism about things like the recent tour of the area by civic visitors,” she added.

“The comments on LichfieldLive asking who paid for the lunch on that visit are proof that residents will ask questions.

“The message is clear – people don’t like to see councillors serving themselves.

“We need to think about the events we attend because sometimes there can be pressure on the chairman to attend the opening of a paper bag!

“The new grid will help to decide which invites are worth taking up.”

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox, Conservative leader of the council, said the public perception was an important element of deciding on changes.

“The group looking at the civic function have looked at all elements, including which events we should attend and who should attend them,” he said.

“There are certain invites, such as Royal visits, where we will need to attend. But we must be aware of public perception too and ensure that invites match our strategic aims.

“These proposals show that there has been a realisation that we had to modernise.”


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.