Hampshire County Council

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Hampshire County Council
Coat of arms or logo
Depiction of Coat of arms
Founded1 April 1889
Marge Harvey,
since 19 May 2022[1]
Rob Humby,
since 19 May 2022[1]
Chief executive
Carolyn Williamson
since 19 July 2021 [2]
Seats78 councillors [3]
Hampshire County Council composition
Political groups
  Conservative (55)
Other parties
  Liberal Democrat (17)
  Labour (3)
  Independent (2)
  Whitehill & Bordon Community Party (1)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
Meeting place
Council Offices, The Castle, Winchester - geograph.org.uk - 3273582.jpg
Castle Hill, Winchester[4]
Hampshire County Council - The Constitution

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is an English council that governs eleven of the thirteen districts geographically located within the ceremonial county of Hampshire. As one of twenty-four county councils in England, it acts as the upper tier of local government to approximately 1.4 million people.[5]

Whilst they form part of the ceremonial county of Hampshire, the city councils of Southampton and Portsmouth are independent unitary authorities. The council comprises 78 elected councillors, who meet in the city of Winchester, which is the county town.[6]

Since 1997, the council has been controlled by the Conservative Party.[7] In May 2022, Rob Humby was elected as leader of the council.[1]

In November 2022, the county council stated it, alongside Kent County Council, may face bankruptcy within 12 months due to austerity cuts.[8]


In 1889, following the commencement of the Local Government Act 1888, the administrative county of Hampshire was formed. In 1974, the towns of Christchurch and Bournemouth were transferred to Dorset by the Local Government Act 1972; this occurred alongside a number of minor changes to the council's boundaries. Under the same local government reorganisation, various boroughs, urban and rural districts were reorganised into thirteen new districts. As part of a new two-tier arrangement of local government, these new districts formed the lower tier.

Following the grant of a coat of arms in 1992,[9] the Local Government Act 1992 formed the Local Government Commission for England. In 1997, the commission formed the unitary authorities of Southampton and Portsmouth which became independent of Hampshire County Council. Since the most recent local government changes, the council have made several attempts to form a devolution deal. In 2014 the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association unanimously agreed to support a 'pan-Hampshire bid', however, the bid was eventually unsuccessful.[10]


The council is responsible for public services[11] such as:

  • Highway management
  • Waste disposal
  • Children's services (including schools, families and young people)
  • Social care
  • Libraries
  • Discovery Centres
  • Country parks
  • Public Health[12]

Local government[edit]

Districts of Hampshire. Southampton (8) and Portsmouth (12) in yellow are unitary authorities

Hampshire is divided into thirteen districts, with eleven of them lying within Hampshire County Council. Italics denote unitary authorities, who do not come under Hampshire County Council:[13]

  1. Test Valley
  2. Basingstoke and Deane
  3. Hart
  4. Rushmoor
  5. Winchester
  6. East Hampshire
  7. New Forest
  8. City of Southampton (unitary)
  9. Eastleigh
  10. Fareham
  11. Gosport
  12. City of Portsmouth (unitary)
  13. Havant


The most recent Hampshire County Council elections were held on 6 May 2021. The Conservatives retained overall control of the council, taking 56 of the 78 seats on the council. The Liberal Democrats are the largest opposition group, with 17 seats.[14]

From 1973 Hampshire County Council has either been under no overall control or Conservative control, with the council currently having been under Conservative control since 1997. The next county council election is due in 2025.

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Council minutes, 19 May 2022" (PDF). Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Chief Executive Officer of Hampshire County Council". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Your Councillors". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Map" (PDF). Hampshire County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Hampshire Population". Retrieved 23 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Your Councillors". democracy.hants.gov.uk. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  7. ^ Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael (2015). Hampshire County Council Election Results 1973-2009 (PDF). The Elections Centre, Plymouth University. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Hampshire and Kent councils warn they could go bankrupt in less than a year". ITV News. 14 November 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Hampshire County Council brand permissions: Coat of arms". Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Coast joint authority plan dropped". BBC News. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Services". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Public Health in Hampshire". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  13. ^ "About the Council | Government in Hampshire". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Election results". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  15. ^ Problems and Progress in Old People's Welfare: Report of the Third National Conference on the Care of Old People, 26th & 27th November, 1948 (National Old People's Welfare Committee, 1949), p. 2