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 Cllr Melville Kendal

The current Vice Chairman is Cllr Marge Harvey

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.

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 Melville Kendal

Councillor Melville (Mel) Kendal is in his 24th year as a Hampshire County Councillor and is a former Deputy Leader of the Council (2011-13).

He has served in various Executive Member functions in Hampshire’s Cabinet and is credited with initiating the Operation Resilience project to rebuild many of Hampshire’s ailing roads. As Environment lead member, he pioneered the 20-is-Plenty campaign to reduce speeds outside schools, and the Choose-30 campaign to limit speeds in participating villages to 30mph. He received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award on behalf of Hampshire County Council.

He led on the county’s Energy strategy to make Hampshire less reliant on carbon energy, replacing street lights with modern energy saving lamps, promoting electric vehicles and charging points, having authored a paper for the Association of European Regions on the need for uniformity of vehicle charging points and payment methods.

He has served on the trustee boards of several charities and is currently Treasurer of Oakhaven Hospice.

He is a former Leader (2002-08) and Chairman (2018-19) of New Forest District Council.

He hopes his coming year as Chairman will continue to assist Hampshire to be a cleaner energy county promoting the use of cutting-edge technology.

Elected Vice Chairman in May 2019, he was elected Chairman of Hampshire County Council on 29 May 2020.

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.