Parish Council Meetings Post April 2020
The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the 2020 Regulations”) come in to force on 4 April. Broadly speaking, the 2020 Regulations enable local councils to hold remote meetings (including by video and telephone conferencing) for a specified period until May next year. They also remove the requirement to hold an annual meeting. The 2020 Regulations apply to local council meetings, committee and sub-committee meetings in England. Separate legislation is anticipated for Wales.
The COVID-19/ Coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented in peacetime Government measures in response to the crisis (e.g. prohibitions on gatherings, social distancing, self-isolation and shielding of those deemed to be the most vulnerable) have meant that the requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person with all members present in one place cannot be met. The statutory requirements for meetings are mainly contained in the Local Government Act 1972 (“the 1972 Act”) and the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (“the 1960 Act”).
In recognition of the problem of holding and attending meetings, and further to the lobbying of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and others, the Government included s.78 in the Coronavirus Act 2020. This section gave the Secretary of State the power to make Regulations to make provisions for the holding of meetings. The 2020 Regulations set out those provisions.
Regulation 5 – this permits the holding of remote meetings. The effect of the Regulation is that persons attending a local council meeting do not need to be in the same place. “Place” means more than one place including electronic, digital or virtual locations such as internet locations, web addresses or conference call telephone numbers (Regulation 5 (1)). To attend a meeting remotely a member in remote attendance must meet specified conditions (see below).
Regulation 5 (6) also enables local councils to make standing orders to specify (i) how voting will be carried out, (ii) how members and the public can access documents and (iii) how remote access of the press and public by electronic means will take place.
Regulation 6 – confirms that being present at a local council meeting includes being present through remote attendance. The Regulation also disapplies paragraph 7 of Schedule 12 to the 1972 Act.
Regulation 13 – s.1 (4) (a) of the 1960 Act has been amended so that public notice of the time and place of the meeting is deemed to be given if published on the relevant principal authority’s website. The Parish Council is aware of NALC's advice that a council’s decision making is unlikely to be challenged if it only places the notice on its own website and in light of the government's social distancing guidelines, agendas will only be posted on this website.
The Parish Council will therefore, effective 22 April 2020, be conducting all of its meetings virtually through remote attendance using the Zoom platform. Deatils of the meetings to take place along with information as to how to gain accesss to the meetings will be placed under pages entitled "Events" and "Agendas and Minutes" on this website. Effective 1 May 2020, where social distancing guidance allows, notices will also be placed on the Parish Council's website.
To allow the process to be managed effectively, the Parish Council has adopted a Virtual Meeting Protocol which can be accessed via this link>>
|Date||Type of Meeting|
|19 February 2020||Committee Meeting to include planning applications if necessary - AGENDA can be downloaded by using this link|
|4 March 2020||Full Parish Council meeting to included planning applications if necessary - AGENDA can be downloaded by using this link|
|18 March 2020||Committee Meeting to include planning applications if necessary - AGENDA can be downloaded by using this link|
|1 April 2020||Full Parish Council meeting to include planning applications if necessary - CANCELLED|
|15 April 2020||Committee Meeting to include planning applications if necessary - CANCELLED|
|29 April 2020||Full Council Meeting to discuss planning matters - virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded by using this link|
|6 May 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded by using this link|
|20 May 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - to discuss planning and urgent financial matters - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|3 June 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|17 June 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|25 June 2020||E/O Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|1 July 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|22 July 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|5 August 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|19 August 2020||Full Parish Council meeting - Virtual - AGENDA can be downloaded using this link|
|2 September 2020||To be confirmed|
|16 September 2020||To be confirmed|
|7 October 2020||To be confirmed|
|21 October 2020||To be confirmed|
|4 November 2020||To be confirmed|
|18 November 2020||To be confirmed|
|2 December 2020||To be confirmed|
|16 December 2020||To be confirmed|
Prior to 23 March 2020
All Full Parish Council Meetings will commence at 7.30pm.
Committee Meetings will commence at either 7.00pm or 8.00pm - please view agendas for start times for each meeting.
All will take place in Thurston Community Library, Norton Road, Thurston, IP31 3SD
Due to a change in the structure of the Parish Council, all planning applications will now form part of both the main parish council and committee meetings.
Details of these meetings including Notices can be found on the three Parish Council Noticeboards located outside of the Post Office on Barton Road, in the car park at New Green Centre and by the Butchers in School Road as well as on the Noticeboard in the Library.
Members of the public are reminded that any Parish Council meeting or committee meeting may be filmed. A person may not orally report or comment about a meeting as it takes place if he/she is present at the meeting of a Parish Council or its committees but otherwise may:
a) film, photograph or make an audio recording of a meeting;
b) use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later;
c) report or comment on the proceedings in writing during or after a meeting or orally report or comment after the meeting.