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News  »  Public contributions to Parish Council meetings



   Public contributions to Parish Council meetings    February 13, 2020

It’s worth mentioning that in addition to the Public Forum there are several ways that members of the community can bring an issue, question or comment to our attention such as contacting the Clerk, contacting a member of the council or attending one of our pre-meeting surgeries.

Council meetings are meetings held in public, rather than public meetings, and always start with the Public Forum. From 3 March 2020, however, the procedure for members of the public participating in this section will change.

If the subject of the proposed question or comment relates to an item on that meeting’s agenda, then any member of the public wishing to speak will normally be able to do so, subject to the Council’s usual rules about length of time which is that the Public Forum is scheduled for 15 minutes in total, and individual speaker’s length of time generally limited to three minutes.

If a member of the public wants to ask a question, make a comment or raise an issue about something not on that meeting’s agenda, the new process will be for them to email or write to the Clerk at least 14 days (excluding Bank Holidays) in advance of the next meeting, outlining their proposed question, comment or issue.

This will give the Chair and Clerk enough time to consider if the question or comment is relevant and timely (and perhaps should be included on the council’s meeting agenda). It will also give enough time to consider if the matter raised might be better dealt with in a different way, such as a personal meeting or phone call or advice to refer to a third party such as Cheshire East Council if it’s a matter beyond our remit.

Obviously exceptional situations can arise at short notice and, if this is the case, then the Chair will of course make exceptions. The aim of this new process is to encourage public participation that is relevant to the agenda in order to help keep meetings on track, whilst opening up the opportunity for the community to raise issues for future consideration.

The detailed, formal wording of the relevant standing orders relating to this topic can be found on the Council’s website if you are interested.

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