A Quick Guide to ‘Public Participation’ at Council Meetings
What is a Town Council meeting?
A Town Council meeting is a business meeting for the Town Council where the Councillors discuss issues and make decisions on behalf of Askern. Meetings are advertised in noticeboards and on the Council’s website at least three clear days in advance.
The public have a right to come and observe Town Council meetings because they are ‘held in public’ (unless its prejudicial to the public interest).
Can I address the Council with questions, ideas, or concerns at a Town Council meeting?
YES! Whilst there is no statutory right for the public to speak at Council meetings, Askern Town Council sets aside some time for the public to address the Town Council during its full council meetings, called ‘Public Participation’, and there is also time prior to full council meetings where the public can speak to councillors at ‘meet and greet’ sessions.
Guidelines for Public Participation
These guidelines help the Council to continue to run an efficient and balanced meeting.
- There is a ‘Public Participation’ session at a meeting, which shall not exceed 10 minutes unless directed by the Chairperson of the meeting.
- An individual member of the public shall not speak for more than 3 minutes.
- When requesting to speak a person should raise his/her hand and stand (if able to do so without discomfort). The Chairperson of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking.
- A question shall not require an immediate response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question.
- The Chairperson of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.
- A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct their comments to the Chairperson of the meeting.
- Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the Chairperson of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking.
Other than the ‘Public Participation’ item on the agenda can I join in with the rest of the meeting?
- Councillors make decisions together at meetings because the Council is a corporate body. If you would like the Council to consider or discuss something, please contact the Town Clerk as soon as possible so to make this request so she can consider listing it an agenda item for the next appropriate Council meeting.
- Members of the public may make representations, answer questions, and give evidence in respect of the business on the agenda.
- Outside of the ‘Public Participation’ item on the agenda, members of the public are very welcome to stay and observe the meetings proceedings. However, legislation does not permit members of the public to join in with the debate of Council or comment on any other items on the agenda. The Council kindly ask that this is respected at all times.
– Council – Councillors – Clerk – Residents –
Working together as a team we all help to change our community for the better.
We look forward to meeting you soon.