The purpose of this report is to identify options for the delivery of meetings of the Council and its Committees upon the expiry of temporary Regulations which permit meetings to take place virtually.
Members considered a report which identified options for the delivery of meetings of the Council and its Committees upon the expiry of temporary Regulations which permitted meetings to take place virtually.
Members were informed by way of late material that in the days prior to the meeting the High Court had dismissed a claim that remote attendance at meetings was nevertheless still lawful under the established legislation. It would therefore be necessary for formal meetings of the Authority to resume in person.
Members examined options for the safe conduct of the Council’s meetings in the period to July 2021. A series of measures set out in the late material to enable the return of face to face meetings with Covid-19 safety mitigations in place were approved.
RESOLVED that –
1. all Committees due to meet between 7 May and 21 June 2021 which are not time critical be rescheduled to a date after 21 June, at which point it is anticipated that they will be able to meet in person without restrictions. This would include the rescheduling of Council from 13 to 20 July;
2. the adjusted calendar of meetings for the period between May-July 2021 attached at Annex 1 to the agenda report be approved:
3. the Annual Meeting of Council on 18 May be held at the Guildhall with only the 12 Members sufficient to form a quorum present in person with Groups invited to nominate attendees based on their overall representation on the Council (ie: 10 seats for the Liberal Democrat Group and 2 seats for the Conservative Group)
4. a separate Mayor Making ceremony be held in the grounds of the Guildhall on 18 May, prior to the Annual Meeting;
5. a meeting of the Licensing Committee be held at the Guildhall immediately upon the rising of the Annual Meeting of Council with only the four members sufficient to form a quorum present in person with Groups invited to nominate attendees based on their overall representation on the Council (ie 3 seats for the Liberal Democrat Group and 1 seat for the Conservative Group);
6. those meetings of Committees which cannot be rescheduled be held on the dates proposed in the draft calendar of meetings for the 2021/22 Municipal Year considered by the Response and Recovery Committee on 25 March 2021 with the application of all risk mitigation measures as may be appropriate including those set out in paragraphs 25-26 of the agenda report;
7. The 20 July meeting of Council and other meetings which by virtue of the number of individuals who need to be in attendance cannot be accommodated in the Guildhall be held at suitable venues elsewhere in the Borough;
8. All meetings of Neighbourhood Committees prior to 31 July 2021 be held at the Guildhall;
9. all meetings of Council and Committees up to and including the July Council meeting continue to be live streamed;
10.the arrangements be further reviewed at the meeting of Council in July; and
11.the Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, the Director of Public Health, the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition, be authorised to make any such adjustments to the arrangements set out above as may be required in the event of a material change in the public health situation.
Councillors Rowena Bass, Christine Stuart and Sharon Young were not in attendance for this item and therefore did not participate in the debate or vote.