BUCKFASTLEIGH TOWN COUNCIL
Protocol for remote meetings 2020
The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 4th April 2020 to enable Town and Parish Councils to lawfully conduct virtual meetings. Members can attend a meeting held remotely where it is required to be held before 7th May 2021 subject to the following conditions:
Summary of regulations
- The requirement to hold an Annual Town Meeting is removed between 1st March and 1st June.
- The requirement to hold an Annual Town Council Meeting and the appointment of a Chair in May 2020 is removed until May 2021 although the Town Council may wish to appoint one earlier.
- The Regulations extend the definition of “place” as defined in Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 to include more than one location and to include electronic, digital or virtual locations. The member attending remotely must however, be heard and where possible seen by other members, the public and press and can hear and preferably be seen by the other members.
- Regulation 13 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 has been modified to permit remote attendance by the press and public.
- The meeting system Zoom or other suitable meeting host will be used to facilitate remote/virtual meetings to accommodate video, audio and screen sharing. The meeting link with meeting ID and password will be set up prior to the meeting and members of the public and press who wish to attend must contact the Clerk to this effect by email: firstname.lastname@example.org by 5.30pm prior to the meeting.
- Members are encouraged to join the meeting at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to avoid any unnecessary disruption.
- To prevent any background noise microphones must be muted unless a member is speaking or a member of the public is invited to speak during the public session or at the discretion of the Chair.
- Members who wish to speak on a particular item must raise their hand or use a virtual hand.
- Voting will take place by the raising of hands or a virtual hand and recorded by the Clerk in the minutes which will be approved at the next meeting and published on the Town Council website.
- Any electronic notice of a meeting must continue to be published on the Town Council’s website within the required timescale but the Regulations have removed the normal requirement to publish a notice in a conspicuous place and to provide printed copies for inspection at the Town Hall.
- The Code of Conduct will continue to be observed by all members and any disorderly conduct or interruption by any participant to the meeting will result in a warning from the Chair and if this persists removal from the meeting.
Adopted by Buckfastleigh Town Council on 22nd April 2020