To receive communications from the Chairman of the Council.
The Chairman made the following statement:
“Twelve months ago, when I took on the role of Chairman of South Northamptonshire Council, I could not have imagined my year ending in the unprecedented times the world now finds itself in, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since May 2019 I have been lucky enough to spend time with different services and have seen the excellent work our council officers provide and are continuing to provide at this difficult time.
If there is one positive thing that has come out of this pandemic it is the way that the community has come together that reflects very well on our district and the wider area. People have found ways – often with excellent help from the council – to do valuable work in their communities while still complying with national guidelines to keep them and others safe from the virus.
Across the district, people have come together, and I would like to recognise the significant contribution made by volunteers and commend them for their ongoing and tireless efforts.
I’m sure Members will join me in also paying tribute to our dedicated staff, who have responded magnificently to the challenges presented. The flexibility and responsiveness with which teams across the council have adapted over the past weeks has been exemplary and has enabled crucial services to continue to be delivered as close to normal.
We as councillors have benefitted from the efforts of the IT team, who have enabled us to do our jobs from home representing the interests of our local residents.
We are here this evening at our first Full Council meeting since Covid-19 changed our everyday lives. It is good to see the world of democracy overcoming the challenges and restrictions we are living with. Social distancing is likely to be with us for some time to come so I imagine our roles as councillors and the democratic process will need to continue to adapt throughout 2020.
My thanks once again to our staff, to you as councillors and the residents of South Northamptonshire for your hard work and dedication and support to others during these difficult times. Please do look after yourselves and stay safe.”
The Chairman explained that Members should today have been attending the Annual Meeting and she would have been passing on the Chairman’s chains to Councillor Bagot-Webb. In light of the current situation, an ordinary Council meeting to deal with some essential items of business rather than the Annual Meeting was being held.
It was hoped that it would be possible to hold the Annual Meeting in September but this would be confirmed in due course.
The Chairman confirmed that as the Annual Meeting was not being held, there would be no changes to committee membership, committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen or Council appointed outside body representatives.
VE Day Celebrations
The Chairman referred to the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the celebrations that had been due to take place on Friday 8 May, which sadly, but understandably had to be cancelled.
The Chairman commented that she and many Members would have been involved a number of celebrations around the County and hoped Members had still managed to mark the occasion. As a symbol of the council’s gratitude to those who fought at home and abroad during the second world war, the council’s offices in Towcester were aglow in an array of red, white and blue lights for a short time during the very early hours of VE Day.