To consider the report of the Head of Paid Service concerning amendments to the Constitution required to give effect to arrangements for remote meetings.
9.1 Councillor H. Norman proposed and Councillor Cook seconded the motion.
9.2 Councillor Norman outlined that one of the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic was the requirement to restore democratic decision making at a time when it was not possible for Members to meet in-person. She also outlined the legislative provisions enabling Councils to meet by video-conferencing and other virtual methods. Councillor Norman further explained that it was prudent to amend the Council’s Constitution to reflect the method by which the Council would meet and how the public could take part.
9.3 Councillor Norman thanked the Policy and Governance Manager, Civica IT and their respective teams for their endeavour in sourcing and testing the solution. She outlined that, while the Council would require notice of a member of the public wishing to participate, questions would still be presented live and in real time.
9.4 Councillor Stephens conveyed the thanks of the Labour Group to the Democratic Services Team for successfully restoring democratic decision making. He stated that he would prefer there to not be a notice period for participating but was aware of the technological limitations in this regard. Councillor Stephens further stated that he was keen that officers continued looking for a way to permit spontaneous participation in the future as the technology developed.
9.5 RESOLVED that: -
(1) The proposed temporary changes to the Constitution be approved with immediate effect.
(2) Authority be delegated to the Managing Director to make any consequential changes to the Remote Meetings Standing Order as a result of any issues arising from conducting remote meetings in consultation with Group Leaders.