Chairman of the council

Information about the chairman's role, the difference between the chairman and the leader, who the current chairman and vice chairman are, do they wear a chain, inviting the chairman to your event, how the invitation will be dealt with, what happens on the day of an event, how to verbally address the chairman, order of civic dignitaries, what the chairman's awards are, what the commendation awards are and how to nominate someone for the awards.

Who are the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the council?

The Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council is Councillor Nigel Wilkinson and he will be accompanied on civic engagements by his Lady, Mrs. Caroline Wilkinson.

Councillor Wilkinson, has served as Vice Chairman of the council for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was appointed Chairman at the council's Annual General Meeting held on Thursday, 13th May 2021.

Councillor Wilkinson has been a councillor for the Howdenshire ward since his election in 2014. Since his election to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Councillor Wilkinson has sat on audit committee, pensions committee and planning committee and he is currently chairman of western area planning sub-committee. 

Before taking up a career in politics, Councillor Wilkinson served as an army reserve for 32 years and undertook tours of the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan but more recently he was the Commandant of the county’s army cadet force based in York with over 2,000 cadets and adults. 

Councillor Wilkinson has also worked extensively in the financial sector and has worked for some of the country’s major banking institutions but now runs his own business, Northern Business Associates Ltd, with his wife Caroline. 

He has also taken part in the Great North Run several times where he has raised money for the Children with Cancer charity in memory of his grandson who died following a battle with leukaemia. 

Chairman of the Council - Councillor Nigel Wilkinson (pdf) 

The Vice Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council is Councillor John Whittle and he will be accompanied on civic engagements by his Lady, Mrs. Jane Whittle. 

Vice Chairman of the Council - Councillor John Whittle (pdf)

A list of past chairmen of East Riding of Yorkshire Council can be viewed below:

Past Chairmen of the Council (pdf 284kb)

What is the Chairman’s role?

Since its creation in 1996, East Riding of Yorkshire Council took the decision not to call their Civic Head a Mayor but decided upon the title of Chairman and, in that capacity, it is their duty to represent and promote East Riding of Yorkshire Council at all civic and ceremonial events as well as chairing council meetings.

The Chairman attends a variety of events and functions within the East Riding of Yorkshire organised by businesses, churches, local organisations, parish and town councils and many other organisations throughout the county and further afield if there is an East Riding connection. The Chairman also attends events which are organised by council departments, such as opening of community homes, schools, youth clubs and museum exhibitions to name but a few.

The position of Chairman is held by a councillor who is appointed at the council's annual general meeting held in May. The position is held for a period of one year and is apolitical.

During their civic year, the Chairman may also choose to raise money for charity through fundraising events.

A Vice Chairman is also appointed to represent the Chairman should they be unable to attend an event.

How do I contact/invite the Chairman to my event?

If you wish to invite the Chairman of the Council to attend your event please complete a Request a visit form (opens in a new window).

Alternatively please contact the Civic Office by the following means:

In writing:

Civic Office
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
County Hall
Cross Street
HU17 9BA.

By email: civic.office@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 393260

Please do not contact the Chairman directly or send correspondence to their home. All communication must be done through the Civic Office.

When inviting the Chairman, please give some thought to what you wish to achieve by having the Chairman at your function and what you would like the Chairman to do. This may include making a presentation, receiving a cheque, reading a lesson, making a speech or drawing a raffle.

It would be useful if you could provide some background information about your organisation and the event, this is especially important if you wish the Chairman to make a speech.

Please note: the Chairman often has several civic engagements throughout the day and will need to leave your event on time in order to maintain their schedule.

How will my invitation be dealt with?

All invitations received will be discussed with the Chairman and a decision made depending upon the civic diary. If the Chairman is available to attend your event an acceptance letter or email will be sent to the named organiser together with an attendance form and guidance on the protocol to be observed. The attendance form must be completed and returned to the civic office to arrive prior to the date of the event.

In the event that the Chairman is unable to attend, the invitation will be passed onto the Vice Chairman for consideration and the appropriate response sent.

How do I verbally address the Chairman?

When introducing it should be 'Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Councillor…' or referring to the Chairman in a speech of any description, they should be addressed as 'Chairman of the council'. If speaking on a one-to-one basis, the correct form of address is 'Mr. Chairman', if a gentleman, or 'Madam Chairman', if a lady.

If making a speech and the Lord-Lieutenant is in attendance and other visiting dignitaries whether Lord Mayors or Town Mayors, the order in which they should be addressed at the beginning of a speech is 'Lord-Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Chairman, Distinguished Guest, Ladies, and Gentlemen'.

Further advice or clarification on the protocol can be sought from the Civic Office.

What is the correct order in which civic dignitaries should be placed?

The Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire (which for ceremonial purposes includes the East Riding of Yorkshire and the City of Kingston upon Hull) is The Queen's representative and, if attending the event, takes precedence over all local dignitaries. If not in attendance, the Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council has precedence within the East Riding of Yorkshire over all visiting dignitaries including Lord Mayors and Town Mayors but not the High Sheriff of the East Riding of Yorkshire if they are present.

Therefore, the order of precedence should be Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, High Sheriff of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, visiting Lord Mayors, Mayors and Town Mayors.

Further advice or clarification on protocol can be sought from the Civic Office.

Which organisations are supported as part of the Chairman's Charity Appeal?

During Councillor Wilkinson's Civic Year, the Chairman's Charity Appeal (2021/22) will support the following organisation:

Children with Cancer UK (external website)

Any donations would be gratefully received. Cheques should be made payable to ‘ERYC Chairman’s Charity Appeal’ and sent to:

The Civic Office
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
County Hall 
HU17 9BA.

Does the Chairman wear a chain?

When attending at official events, the Chairman wears a chain and badge of office which belonged to the former Humberside County Council. 

The chain was designed by local designer, Miss Jacqueline Stieger, who collected the stones from along the East Coast but mostly from the beach at Hornsea.

The stones vary in size and shape and it is said that the links which do not house a stone represent the lost towns and villages of the East Riding and its coast.

The Chairman's badge of office has the council’s coat of arms within the centre.

To fact sheet below provides more information on the Chairman's chain and the badge of office:

Fact sheet on the Chairman's chain and badge of office (pdf 340kb)

What are the Chairman’s Awards?

How to watch the Chairman's Awards

Join in with the virtual celebrations for this year's Chairman's Awards! You can watch the ceremony live by joining us on:


View the official Chairman's Award Booklet and details of the other nominees.

Information on the Chairman's Awards

The Chairman's Awards are presented annually by the council to individuals, companies, and organisations with the East Riding of Yorkshire in recognition of their achievements towards enhancing the area in which they work and live.

Anyone can forward nominations for the following categories:

  • Chairman's Built Heritage Award for Single, New Dwellings, Conversions and Minor Works
  • Chairman's Built Heritage Awards for Commercial Development and Major Schemes
  • Chairman's Business Award for Businesses with Under 50 Employees
  • Chairman’s Business Award for Business with Over 51 Employees
  • Chairman's Community Award for Groups
  • Chairman's Community Awards for Individuals
  • Chairman's Sport Award for Outstanding Team/Club of the Year 
  • Chairman's Sport Award for Talented Performer.

Find out more on how to nominate someone for an award.

Past winners of the Chairman's Awards

A list of past winners of the Chairman's Awards can be viewed below:

Past winners - Built Heritage (pdf 203kb)

Past winners - Business (pdf 296kb)

Past winners - Community (pdf 201kb)

Past winners - Sport (pdf 194kb) 

How do I nominate someone for a Chairman's Award?

To nominate someone for a Chairman's award, you must complete an official nomination form and send this, along with supporting papers, to the civic office or email them to chairmans.awards@eastriding.gov.uk:

Nominations close on 31 January each year.

To make a nomination complete a nomination form online:

Nominate someone for a Chairman's award online

or download and complete the relevant nomination form below:

Built Heritage Award Nomination Form (word 341kb)

Business Award Nomination Form (word 327kb)

Community Award Nomination Form (word 307kb)

Sports Award Nomination Form (word 312kb)

What is the difference between the Chairman and the Leader of the council?

The Chairman is the civic representative of the council and has no formal power on decision making except to chair council meetings where they must:

  • uphold and promote the purposes of the constitution, and interpret the constitution where necessary on advice from the Chief Executive
  • preside over meetings of the council so that its business can be carried out efficiently and with regard to the rights of councillors and the interests of the community
  • to ensure that the council meeting is a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community and the place at which councillor (who are not on the Cabinet) are able to hold the Cabinet to account
  • to promote public involvement in the council's activities
  • to be the conscience of the council; and,
  • to agree matters of special urgency to the extent permitted by the local authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as amended.

The Leader is the political spokesperson for the council and provides effective political leadership and strategic direction for the council. No executive power is delegated to the Leader.

How to I watch the Chairman's Awards 2020?

Tuesday 28 July, 7pm.

Join us on Facebook or YouTube.

https://online.fliphtml5.com/uzkzp/ueum/#p=10 (Link to Program) 

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