The AGM was held remotely, and web-streamed live, via the County Council’s YouTube channel, allowing the business of the Authority to continue amid ongoing social distancing restrictions. A recording of the AGM is also now available to view online.
Leader of the County Council, Councillor Keith Mans said: “Since our last full County Council meeting in February, the world has changed radically, and we are all now looking towards what might be our ‘new normal’. While it’s not currently possible for us to meet in person because of ongoing physical distancing, technology allows us to continue to fulfil our democratic mandate to the people of Hampshire – maintaining transparency and accountability around decision making, and our evolving response and recovery in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. We anticipate that more of our Council meetings will be scheduled in due course, according to business need, and ensuring the safety of Councillors, officers and members of the public.
“To date, the County Council has implemented an effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic across all its service areas. We have done this in line with central Government guidance, and we have also begun recovery planning - working closely with partners across all sectors. We continue to adapt this response in line with the evolving situation.
“I appreciate that it’s been difficult and people have sacrificed a great deal – I know that not seeing parents or grandchildren has been particularly hard for many, but by complying with the Government guidance and ‘staying alert’ we are saving lives.
“We must not forget the lives that have sadly been prematurely lost to the virus – our thoughts and prayers are constantly with those grieving their loved ones. We must also remain thankful and appreciative towards the key workers who have kept going throughout the pandemic. On behalf of the Council, I would also like to extend our thanks to all Hampshire County Council officers for their dedication and hard work in difficult circumstances over recent weeks.
“The steps needed for recovery are being carefully considered across the County Council – and based on Government guidance and regulations, we are developing plans to reopen services when it is possible to do so safely. Our recovery approach will embrace the direct impacts of Covid-19 on the County Council itself, its wider direct partners, and on residents in communities and businesses across Hampshire.”
The new County Council Chairman for 2020/21 elected at the AGM was Councillor Mel Kendal. As the civic head of the county, he will represent the Authority on any royal visits and ceremonial occasions in Hampshire as well as carry out other civic activities and duties. The Chairman presides over County Council meetings and ensures they are conducted in line with Standing Orders and that they are a forum for debating issues.
Councillor Kendal is in his 24th year as a Hampshire County Councillor – serving New Milton. He is a former Deputy Leader of the Council (2011-13) and has served on various Executive Member functions in Hampshire’s Cabinet. Councillor Marge Harvey, County Councillor for Catherington, was elected Vice Chairman.