PUBLIC PARTICPATION AT COUNCIL MEETINGS

Members of the public have no statutory right to speak at a meeting of the council, its committees or sub-committees. A council might want to give those who are in attendance an opportunity to speak. A council may in its standing orders set aside a short part of its meeting for the public or press to ask questions or give views on the business on the agenda for the meeting.

The part of the meeting where the public can speak is known as the public participation session. It enables members of the public and press to raise issues and seek answers to questions about the council’s activities and decisions.

Colney Heath Parish Council has made the following provision in its standing orders for public participation:

  • Members of the public may make representations, answer questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend in respect of the business on the agenda.    (CHPC Standing Orders 3e)
  • The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) above shall not exceed twenty minutes unless directed by the chairman of the meeting.    (CHPC Standing Order 3f)
  • Subject to standing order 3(f) above, a member of the public shall not speak for more than three minutes.  (CHPC Standing Order 3g)
  • In accordance with standing order 3(e) above, a question shall not require a response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question. The chairman of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.   CHPC Standing Order 3h)
  • A person shall raise his hand when requesting to speak and stand when speaking (except when a person has a disability or is likely to suffer discomfort). The chairman of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking.  (CHPC Standing Order 3i
  • A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct his comments to the chairman of the meeting. (CHPC Standing Order 3j)
  • Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the chairman of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking. (CHPC Standing Orders 3k)