Southampton City Council successfully holds its first ever virtual and live full council meeting and makes new appointments

Councillor Christopher Hammond was formally re-elected as Leader of the Council and he appointed his new cabinet.

Southampton City Council held its first ever virtual full council meeting on Wednesday 20 May with all 48 councillors logging in to the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The virtual AGM took place as part of the council’s project to ensure democracy continues in an open and transparent way by holding key decision-making meetings online and making them available for the public to view live.

This ensures important decisions for Southampton and our response to the Covid-19 pandemic can be made in the open, despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus and maintaining social distancing.

New appointments

Councillor Christopher Hammond was formally re-elected as Leader of the Council and he appointed his new cabinet as follows:

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Customer & Organisation – Councillor Jacqui Rayment
: Continually improve the customer experience for all council services and introduce smarter ways of working across the council. Work to develop the workforce and drive innovation throughout the organisation.

Cabinet Member for Finance & Income Generation – Councillor Stephen Barnes Andrews
Brief: Deliver the council’s financial strategy to fund all services and generate income. Ensure council money creates social value and wealth within the city through how we buy goods and services with our partners.

Cabinet Member for Green City & Place – Councillor Steve Leggett
Brief: Deliver Southampton’s pioneering Green City Plan including approaches to make our air cleaner and become a carbon neutral council by 2030. Lead on developments to our transport infrastructure, the local plan, ensuring a green recovery and growth, improving the natural environment and waste and recycling services.

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care – Councillor Lorna Fielker
Brief: Making the social care system work for the people of Southampton. Transforming the way we deliver adult social care services, improving case management and integrating NHS and council services.

Cabinet Member for Children and Learning – Councillor Dr Darren Paffey
Brief: Ensuring that all children get the best start in life. Driving improvements in children’s social care, tackling child hunger and supporting young people.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes – Councillor Satvir Kaur
Brief: Creating and maintaining safe and affordable homes, developing and promoting the city’s wide cultural offer and leading on our bid to become City of Culture 2025.

Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities – Councillor David Shields
Brief: Supporting the communities of Southampton to work together, be cohesive and reduce overall crime rates.

The meeting also saw Councillor Susan Blatchford elected as the 798th Mayor of Southampton. This is the second time she has taken up this historic and important role as ‘first citizen’ for the city having previously been the Mayor in 2014.

Councillor Alex Houghton will take on the role of Sheriff of Southampton.

Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Christopher Hammond, said: “I’m pleased to announce that we’re now up and running with virtual council meetings, meaning that the public can again watch as we debate and make decisions on the future for Southampton.

“I would like to thank all of the team here for their hard work in making these meetings possible so that democracy can carry on whilst we maintain social distancing. I’d also like to congratulate the Mayor and the Sheriff on their new roles and I am sure they will serve Southampton with great enthusiasm and energy as ambassadors for the city.

“As a council we’re developing plans to support our residents and city to recover, rebuild and renew. The new cabinet portfolios will help deliver for the city and respond quickly to the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Joining online meetings

While the council has been prioritising essential services and supporting vulnerable residents at this time, no major council meetings have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis, as the start of the UK’s lockdown coincided with the scheduled pre-election period.

Meetings can be viewed live via the council’s website. Members of the public and journalists are welcome to join us, but please remember unless you’ve submitted a comment or question in advance you won’t be able to participate in the meetings. All you need to do is download the Microsoft Teams app to your PC or mobile device. We’ve put together some easy-to-follow instructions, including full details about the forthcoming meetings, including agendas, papers and links to the live broadcasts (available at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting).