Role of the Chair of the Council
Since the council services are being streamlined and re-structured to produce a more effective and efficient service to the community, the role of the Chair has changed.
The main focus is on the core activities which define the nature and role of the office:
Chairing Council meetings
Leading Citizenship Ceremonies
Chairing Parish Liaison meetings
Sharing commemorative events, such as Remembrance Sunday, supporting our Armed Forces Week, and assisting veterans through the ‘military covenant’
Celebrating community landmark events
Welcoming royal visitors, members of the government and civic dignitaries
These categories will normally be definitive, but in exceptional circumstances support may be possible. If you have an event that meets one of the criteria outlined above, please contact the Chair's Office at Chairs_Office@BATHNES.GOV.UK and we will review any requests we receive.
Unfortunately it is not possible for the Chair to continue fund-raising for ‘the Chair’s charities’ but the Chair’s Community Awards will continue. It is with regret that receptions and exhibitions have come to an end.
It should be noted that while the Chair will continue their duties as a ward councillor, hold surgeries for residents and so on, the position of Chair is strictly politically neutral, and the Chair will not be signing any petitions or joining any public campaigns.
Chair's Community Awards
The Awards recognise volunteers, community leaders, community organisations, carers and local businesses and highlights the positive impact they make on others and the wider community.
The Awards are organised annually in partnership with the Volunteer Centre Bath and beyond; social housing provider Curo; the Student Community Partnership, involving the University of Bath and Bath Spa University students unions; Virgin Care, Sirona Care & Health.
Chair of the Council - Councillor Eleanor Jackson
Eleanor Jackson was first elected as a Labour councillor to B&NES Council in 2007, representing Radstock. In 2015 she was selected for Westfield, and won seats on both B&NES Council and Westfield Parish Council . This was just as the latter was embarking on the Neighbourhood Plan for Westfield, which she helped see through to its adoption as statutory planning policy. She is a trustee of Radstock Museum and in 2017 curated a ‘History of Westfield’ exhibition, which featured the extraordinary achievements of ordinary Westfield residents. She is also Secretary of the Church Council of Trinity Methodist Church, Radstock and Westfield, and a member of Christians Together in Radstock and Westfield. Eleanor has focussed on planning issues as a member of the B&NES Development Management Committee and is Labour spokesperson on Housing.
Eleanor was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where her maternal grandfather and uncle had a dental practice which continues to this day.
Her father was a civil servant conscripted into the Royal Navy in 1940 who met her mother at a WRNS graduation dance while serving on the Arctic convoys. Their trauma is one reason Eleanor has been so much engaged in cross-party action to secure a better deal for veterans and service families. Her mother volunteered in WRVS canteens for over 40 years.
Her paternal grandfather was Cllr James Jackson of Kenilworth Urban District Council whose legacy is the swimming pool he had built and the excavations of Kenilworth Abbey in the 1920s . However her political involvement stems from the great Birmingham University ‘sit-in’ in 1968 when she had been elected to the students’ union council and was working for university reform. She had won a scholarship to the Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Liverpool, and was reading theology. She taught RE briefly, so represents B&NES Council on the Select Advisory Committee on Religious Education. From Birmingham she moved to Heidelberg and then Geneva with a World Council of Churches’ scholarship and in 1976 was awarded a Ph.D degree by the University of Birmingham for a biography of William Paton (1886-1943), one of the founders of the World Council of Churches who campaigned to help refugees of Jewish heritage escape as well as independence in India.
This led her to service in India 1979-86 where she taught in theological colleges, apart from a furlough lecturing at the University of Goettingen. This was where she met her husband Klaus. They have two sons, William, recently awarded a Ph.D in marine geology, and Robert, who works in urban design and architecture in Toronto. She is currently endeavouring to complete a biography of Bishop Lesslie Newbigin (1909 -1998) one of the founders of the Church of South India, and an important ecumenical theologian.
A popular contributor to the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Journal, she holds weekly surgeries in Radstock, and monthly sessions in Westfield. Her most visible contribution to the community is Radstock in Bloom, a network of volunteers who have won ‘gold’ in the SW in Bloom competitions.
Vice Chair of the Council - Councillor Andrew Furse
Andy has been a councillor in Bath for over 20 years. He was first elected to serve as a Liberal Democrat councillor in Kingsmead Ward in the centre of Bath in 1994. Andy was chairman of the Spa and Recreation Committee for the final year of Bath City Council and saw out the end of the City Council in 1996. Between Bath City Council and B&NES Council, Andy was Liberal Democrat Bath Constituency Chairman and oversaw Don Foster’s 1997 first General Election defence.
Andy was elected again in Kingsmead Ward in 1999 and has served continuously in Bath and North East Somerset Council since then.
In Bath and North East Somerset Council he has been involved in Culture, Leisure and was the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education. Andy chaired the Education Overview and Scrutiny Panel between 2003 and 2007, and led the Primary and Secondary schools reviews.
Between 2007 and 2011 he was 2007-09 LD Spokesperson, Bath & NE Somerset Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Children & Young People, in 2009-10 was Deputy Mayor of Bath and over 2009-12 was Chairman of the Liberal Democrats B&NES Council Group.
For the civic year 2012-2013 Andy was Mayor of Bath. Between 2013 and 2015 he was chairman of B&NES Corporate Audit committee and between 2015 and 2019 was the Liberal democrat finance and resources shadow cabinet member.
He currently chairs the Council’s Corporate Audit Committee.
Andy is a Railway Signalling Engineer, and continues to work full time in Bath for Altran UK as a Lead Independent Safety Assessor on Railway projects. He is currently the Lead Safety Assessor for London Underground’s 4 Lines Modernisation project, Copenhagen S-Bane re-signalling project and Transport for New South Wales Digital systems programme. As a Chartered Electrical Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers. His projects have involved working on mainline and underground railways throughout the UK and worldwide, specialising in new and novel signalling system applications. It was working on the Taiwan High Speed Rail project in 2006 that he met Mei-Ling, his wife.
He grew up in Devon, went to school in his local village and then Bideford and on leaving school joined British Rail in Reading where he attended Technical College on day-release for an HNC in Electronic Engineering. He was then granted British Rail sponsorship to study for a degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London and undertook many roles as a management trainee throughout British Rail working in South Wales, Bristol and London.
After a brief 2 year spell in Oil Exploration working in Tunisia and Chad, Andy returned to the Rail industry in Chippenham. It was this job that brought Andy to Bath in the late 80’s. He lives close to Bath city centre and has two grown up daughters.
Andy is an advocate for community and recognises that one of the challenges facing the city, like that of the UK, is youth skills and training. Through this he has close links with Bath College and has been Vice-chair of Governors there since 2014 and continues to work to ensure that young people have the right skills for today’s labour market especially in B&NES.