The Chairman of Hampshire County Council

Every year during at its Annual General Meeting, the full County Council elects a new Chairman and Vice Chairman

The Chairman must be a county councillor, but not a member of the Cabinet. The position of Chairman is held for a period of one year only.

The current Chairman of Hampshire County Council is Councillor Keith Chapman MBE.

The current Vice Chairman is Councillor Graham Burgess.

Past Chairmen of Hampshire County Council

The Role of the Chairman

The Chairman of Hampshire County Council is the civic and ceremonial head of the Authority and represents the County Council at a variety of events and functions in Hampshire organised by businesses, churches, local district and borough councils and many other organisations throughout the County.

The Chairman also attends events which are organised by County Council departments, such as opening of community homes, schools, youth clubs and museum exhibitions. The Chairman is ambassadorial, 'flying the flag' for Hampshire both within the County and, at times, in neighbouring authorities. The Chairman is the 'first citizen' of the County of Hampshire.

The Chairman’s theme for this year is ‘youth and music’.

Ceremonial duties include: 

  • being the politically impartial, neutral and non-executive civic and ceremonial head of the County Council
  • promoting the interests and the reputation of the County Council and Hampshire and acting as an ambassador for both
  • carrying out civic, community and ceremonial activities and fostering community identity and pride

Additional responsibilities include:

  • presiding over meetings of the full Council to ensure that its business is carried out fairly and efficiently and to ensure that the meeting is conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Council as set out in the Rules of Procedure in Part 3 of the Constitution
  • ensuring that the Full Council meeting debates matters that concern the local community
  • to uphold the Constitution
  • to promote public involvement in the Council's activities
  • to promote the Council's corporate strategy
Protocol and etiquette when the Chairman attends an event

Specifically, the Chairman will take precedence (a) during royal visits to the County, (b) at events organised by Hampshire County Council or (c) when on Hampshire County Council owned property. However, at events organised within one of the Hampshire districts or boroughs, and the event does not conform with (a), (b) or (c), the Mayor or Chairman of that district or borough will take precedence.

It would be appreciated if the Chairman is met on arrival and escorted throughout the function.

The Chairman should be seated on the immediate right of the person presiding.

In conversation, the Chairman should be addressed as "Chairman".

The preamble for speeches (unless a member of the Royal Family or the Lord-Lieutenant or local Hampshire District/Borough Mayor/Chairman is present) is, "Chairman, Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen".

Biography of the current Chairman of the Council

Councillor Keith Chapman MBE

Keith Chapman was appointed an MBE for services to arts and culture in the 2015 New Year Honours list, following a long record of active interest and involvement in arts, museums, libraries and culture in Hampshire.

He has lived in Hampshire for 46 years, and brings nearly four decades of local government experience to the role of Chairman. His career in public service began in 1979, and he has been a parish councillor in Pamber and Silchester for 36 years. Having served on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for over three decades, Keith was Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane in 1992/1993 and again in 2010/11. He was a member of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority for 15 years, and was Chairman of the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils.

Councillor Chapman has served on Hampshire County Council since 2001 and held various roles as a committee chairman as well as on the County Council’s Cabinet – as Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside. In this role, he oversaw the establishment of a Hampshire Cultural Trust, delivering an ambitious arts, museums and heritage offer in southern England. Proposals for a multi-million investment to transform the County Council’s country parks to ensure that they are well equipped for the future were also approved by Councillor Chapman.

He chaired a working group established in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to deliver public access to the First World War ship, M33, now housed at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, ahead of its opening to the public in time for her centenary in August 2015.

He has a particular personal interest in music, and as a former Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillor, he also led the administration which conceived of and delivered to the Borough, the Anvil Concert Hall, which plays a significant role in the economy of Hampshire. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Proteus Theatre and the Council of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he is a keen supporter of the Hampshire County Music Service and takes a strong interest in its progress.

Born in Kingston-on-Thames, Keith worked for British Telecommunications for 30 years. He is married to Jenny and they have three grown up children.

Honorary Aldermen

The title of Honorary Alderman is a formal title which can be conferred by the County Council to former Members of the Council to recognise what is considered to be outstanding service during their time as an elected Member of the County Council.

View the Honorary Aldermen of Hampshire County Council

How to invite the Chairman of the County Council to an event or function

If you wish to invite the Chairman to attend an event, in the first instance, please send an invitation to

The Chairman's Office 
The Castle 
Hampshire SO23 8UJ

Please don’t contact the Chairman direct or send correspondence to his/her home address. All communication should come through the Chairman's Personal Assistant at The Castle.

Please provide some background information about your organisation. This is especially important if you wish the Chairman to make a speech. Please tell us: 

  • when your organisation started
  • your organisation's aims and activities
  • your organisation’s membership
  • your organisation’s achievements

what you consider to be special about your organisation

Contact details

If you have any further queries, please contact the Chairman's Personal Assistant, Natalie Jones.

Phone 01962 846441


Or please write to the address above.