Public participation at Council and Committee meetings
A guide to procedures.
Members of the public have a right to attend Council or Committee meetings and are welcomed to do so and contribute to those meetings. However, there are certain procedures and protocols that need to be followed to ensure that meetings run smoothly.
Under the Council’s Standing Orders, members of the public may address the meeting but only in relation to business to be transacted at that meeting. In other words any item that appears on the meeting’s agenda. This happens early in every meeting where 15 minutes are set aside for this public forum.
Councillors, having listened to resident opinions, can then consider those viewpoints in the ensuing debate on the subject and prior to any resolutions being made.
This may appear bureaucratic but is due process and standard amongst all Councils and although there is no wish to stifle public opinions or viewpoints, and indeed we welcome the scrutiny from local residents, the Council must undertake its statutory requirements in an appropriate and prescribed manner.
There are however other, less formal ways to deal with any resident’s concerns.
• In the first instance contact the Clerk. The issue can be talked about and hopefully explained and either resolved to your satisfaction or referred to the appropriate person or persons.
• If you feel that a matter would be best dealt with by the Chair of the Council or a Committee, then please write to the clerk, and the item can be placed on the agenda.