PUBLIC PARTICPATION AT COUNCIL MEETINGS
Members of the public are able to address the Council during the Public Forum at the beginning of each Full Council meeting. 15 minutes are set aside for this purpose.
- A person’s intention/wish to address the Council must be registered in the public speaking book just prior to the meeting (the Clerk will advise where and how to sign). The intention to speak cannot be registered any earlier or by other means.
- The opportunity to speak is given for up to 15 minutes of public speaking. This will not occur until the Council meeting has been officially suspended, it is likely the Chair will state that ‘Standing Orders are now suspended to allow for public questions’.
- Members of the public are not permitted and should not speak in Council unless the meeting has been suspended for this purpose.
- Each person will be given up to three minutes to speak. To allow balance an equal number of people will speak for and against a subject. The first person, either way, to enter his/her name in the book taking precedence in the event more than said number of people wish to speak. If a number of people turn up to speak on the same subject a spokesperson will be asked to speak for three minutes on behalf of the group. If the event of no spokesperson being elected then the first person to enter their name in the speaking book shall be offered the opportunity to speak on behalf of the group.
- The Chairman will indicate to the speaker when they can address the Council.
- Each speaker will be limited to three minutes’ speech which will be strictly timed.
- The Chairman can exercise his/her discretion to not hear a speaker if, in his/her opinion, the issue/organisation/person concerned has already received an adequate hearing.
- A Councillor may with the permission of the Chairman seek clarification from the Speaker, but this must not result in conversation with members or a question and answer session on the subject raised, topics can be delegated to the Clerk to investigate further or the public question can be answered in writing.
- If a member of the public interrupts the proceedings at any meeting, the Chairman may, after warning, order that he/she may be removed from the meeting and may adjourn the meeting for such a period as is necessary to restore order.
- The meeting of the Council is open to the public, but it is not a public meeting. Once the Chairman has reopened the meeting no further public participation is permitted.
(Local Government Act 1972 Sections 100 & 100a)