The winner in the May 2 poll will chair the cabinet of the North of Tyne Combined Authority and will have a number of specific powers and financial resources.
This includes a £600million investment fund over 30 years – £20million a year – to support job creation across the area.
The mayor will also ensure the area’s voice is clearly heard by the Government and champion the North of Tyne nationally and internationally.
He (as all five candidates are men) will be able to make decisions independently, although some will require consultation with and the approval of the other members of the cabinet, which includes the leaders and deputy leaders of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils.
Decisions by the mayor will be subject to scrutiny by the combined authority’s overview and scrutiny committee, also made up of members of each of the three North of Tyne councils.
He will initially have a five-year term, which will be reduced to four years from 2024 onwards so the elections take place at the same time as for mayors of other cities/regions.
On polling day, voters can choose a first-choice and a second-choice candidate.
If a candidate receives more than half of the first-choice votes, they will be elected. If not, the top two remain and the second-choice votes are added to their first-round totals to find a winner.