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 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.

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.

VE Day celebrations

I am afraid that the terrible Coronavirus emergency and consequent Government guidance means that we must advise participants to cancel or postpone the majority of the VE Day 75 community celebrations due to take place on the bank holiday weekend of 8th – 10th May. It is right and proper that people should be kept safe and healthy.

My sincere thanks to everyone who registered their events and were looking forward to celebrating VE Day 75. I know how disappointed you will be that these cannot now go ahead as planned. However, we are still encouraging solo pipers and town criers to continue to mark the occasion from a safe and suitable location.

We are also encouraging all those taking part to undertake the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on the 8th May, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you,” using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.

However, you could take part in celebrations safely from home by joining your BBC Local Radio station initiative in making your own VE Day Great British Bunting. Download everything you need at bbc.co.uk/makeadifference

With my very best wishes,

Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR
Pageantmaster VE Day 75

Chair of the Council - Councillor Lisa O'Brien

Lisa first became a B&NES Councillor in 2015, having been elected to represent South Keynsham ward.

During her first term, she was a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development scrutiny panel where she particularly focussed on the development and improvement of Social Housing in the area. She was also closely involved in scrutinising retail activity in both city and town centres and in neighbourhood outlets.  In addition, she was a member of the Avon Pension Fund committee, taking a keen interest in moving from investment in fossil fuel companies towards emerging markets infrastructure schemes.

Re-elected in 2019, she is now a member of the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Scrutiny panel, with a particular concern to reduce waste and litter in our area.

Lisa’s first involvement in local politics arose during the 1980’s when she co-ordinated the successful campaign for a parish council in Saltford. Moving to Keynsham in 1989, she combined raising her two children with co-owning a printing business and later taking on a full time role as a senior academic at the University of the West of England. She was a school governor at St John’s primary school in Keynsham for several years and became a member of Keynsham Town Council in 2011, subsequently serving for eight years, two of which as Chairman. During this period, she was closely involved in music and arts development as well as promoting twinning activities with Libourne in France.

Born and raised in Somerset, Lisa gained a degree in Business Economics & Marketing from the University of Strathclyde before starting her career in the retailing with Marks & Spencer. Overall she spent six years with them merchandising in various textile and food departments. She was then head-hunted to join Levi Strauss Northern Europe as product manager for denim jeans and jackets. Leaving commerce to gain a Post Graduate Diploma in Education with the intention of teaching, she was subsequently persuaded to return to Levi’s, this time as Inventory Planning and Control manager for the Northern Europe Division while at the same time being the user interface for information technology development.

Blue-chip companies had their drawbacks and after a year of marriage, she and her husband decided to move down to the West Country in pursuit of a gentler lifestyle - that of owning a village post office & stores in Wiltshire.

It was an eye-opener to the harsh reality of front line trading – a lot of work for little financial reward and really brought home to her the challenges of self employment, particularly in the retail environment.

They consequently bought into a quick printing franchise in Bristol and moved into this area.

Returning to the academic sphere in 1990, she was appointed senior lecturer in Retail and Operations Management at Bristol Business School. Her management experience led to module and programme leadership at both undergraduate and post graduate level. She also became Director of Facilities for the faculty, responsible for accommodation, audio visual provision and development of revised teaching and learning spaces.

During this period, she was identified as the Business School retail specialist for media liaison and appeared on several occasions on both national and local TV and radio.

In time, she moved to Facilities and Estates as project manager for the development of Frenchay campus masterplan. One of her projects – the conversion of a semi dilapidated 10,000sqft building into the West of England conference centre - has recently been temporarily reborn as the Bristol Nightingale hospital!

Now retired, Lisa is able to concentrate on her special interests. As a long-time trustee of Keynsham & District Mencap Society, she has always stood up for and campaigned in support of the rights and opportunities for disabled people (lack of dropped kerbs is a nightmare!).

Although now restricted to tending her tubs on a small balcony, she has always loved gardening, and through her ward funds has previously donated materials to brighten up neighbourhoods believing absolutely in the beneficial effects of flowers and nature generally on residents’ wellbeing.

More recently she has undertaken the role of co-ordinator for ‘Plastic Free Keynsham’ (allied to the national campaign by Surfers against Sewage) seeking to play her part in protecting our local environment and the planet in general.

Cllr Shaun Stephenson - McGall Vice-Chair of Council

Shaun Stephenson - McGall

Shaun was first elected as a councillor to represent Oldfield Ward in 1999, when he lived just off Moorland Road, and served three terms up until 2011 when he retired for four years. Shaun was re-elected in 2015 for Oldfield Ward and again in 2019 for the new Oldfield Park Ward. During these 22 years serving the residents and business of Oldfield Park, he has been a member of the Community, Culture and Leisure Committee, the Resources Overview and Scrutiny Panel, the Schools Organisation Committee, the Bath Area South Local Committee, the Corporate Audit Committee, the Regulatory (Access) Committee, the Standing Committee of the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath and more recently the Chair of Avon Pension Fund Committee Investment Panel and Vice-Chair of Avon Pension Fund. Shaun has previously had the honour of serving the city’ as first citizen and the 783th Mayor of Bath. He also served the city as Deputy Mayor of Bath in 2004, and again in 2015.

Previously Shaun has been a member of Avon Fire Authority and served on its Appointments Committee. Previously he has served as a governor of City of Bath College and Bath Spa University, a trustee of Off the Record (an information, support, advice and counselling service for young people), Chair of Hillside Hall Community Association, the local co-ordinating committee of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, and Chair of the Oldfield Outlook Regeneration Scheme Steering Group.

Shaun is the Council’s Member Advocate for Engagement with Students and continues to be a lay member of the Board of Trustees of Bath Spa University Students’ Union and a member of the University of Bristol Court. In 2002, Shaun established and chaired the Council’s Student Liaison Committee until 2007, when the SLC was replaced by the Student Community Partnership. He continues to be a member of the SCP and Chair’s its Housing Group. He was a founder member of the Councillors Campaign for Balanced and Sustainable Communities, which succeeded in helping to change national planning legislation about Houses of Multiple Occupation. More recently he has secured three year CIL funding for two part-time Community Wardens to join the SCP and who will be doing their rounds around Oldfield Park engaging and support students and other residents in the local community, tackling issues such as noise, litter, poor waste management and bad landlords.

In 2002, Shaun succeeded in his campaign for Bath and North East Somerset Council to become one of the first local authorities in the Country to establish a Partnership Register for gay and lesbian couples, the forerunner to today’s equal marriage passed in 2013. Shaun and his husband, Sean, now live in Timsbury, where Sean is a member of the Parish Council, alongside serving as a Justice of the Peace, and this career within the Civil Service.

Since graduating in 1993, Shaun has spent his career in working in both further and higher education. Shaun is currently the Student Engagement Manager at the University of Bath, where he has worked in various capacities since 1999, including within the Students’ Union. Previously he has worked as the Manager of the Students’ Union at City of Bath College and was an elected regional sabbatical officer for the National Union of Students, when he was based at what was Norton Radstock College. Shaun moved to Bath from Totnes in 1990 to study Human Geography and Modern European History at what is now Bath Spa University. Following his first degree, Shaun was elected Vice-President of the Students’ Union. He studied for a Masters in Social and Market Research at the University of Westminster.

He grew up in South Devon, attending King Edward VI Community College in Totnes. Shaun spent a few years of his childhood living in Karachi, Pakistan, where his father was working. He was a keen rugby player, and when he graduated from University, he joined local side Stothert and Pitt RFC, where he played for over 20 years. Shaun has also played for the Village Spartans RFC, a gay rugby team based in Manchester, for 12 years. He is a keen fan of Bath Rugby and has held a season ticket at the Rec for many years. Shaun also enjoys skiing, swimming, and cycling.

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