This Council supports the principles of openness and transparency. In accordance with the 2014 Regulations it allows filming, recording and taking photographs at its meetings that are open to the public. It also allows the use of social networking websites (such as Twitter and Facebook) and blogging to communicate with people about what is happening, as it happens.
To view the relevant documents associated with this please click on any of the below links:-
Meetings post 6 May 2021
Following the High Court Judgment on remote meetings, the legal position is that local councils now need to meet face-to-face, rather than remotely, and be open to attendance in person from the public.
Any face-to-face meeting should be held in line with restrictions and public health advice in place at the time. So, in practical terms, local councils will have no choice but to control the numbers of people physically in the meeting room at any one time in order to comply with the Government’s Covid restrictions.
The Parish Council has carried out a risk assessment of its chosen venue which has been shared with the Compliance Manager at Suffolk Libraries and provided all social distancing measures are in place, this will become the Parish Council's preferred venue for meetings of the Council and its Committees. Working groups and informal meetings will continue by remote means where possible.
In light of the risk assessment, it is advised to set out in the agenda the arrangements for safely meeting (for example social distancing, wearing of face coverings (unless exempt), hand sanitising and other measures) and the number of the public that can be accommodated.
If there is a large influx of the public for a meeting which exceeds the room’s safe capacity as stated on the agenda, then the permitted number of attendees will not be exceeded. The Parish Council will manage this as we would usually any disruptive behaviour or health and safety risks.
If the assessment is that the room cannot hold a safety meeting and no other venue is available or there is no outside space then, then the Parish Council will take appropriate mitigating actions which may include delaying meetings until after 21 June.
Please refer to each agenda post 6 May 2021 for details of the venue and any arrangements for safely meeting that have been assigned to that meeting.
Parish Council Meetings April 2020 - 6 May 2021
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 dis-applies 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. Details 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.