Decision Maker: Chief Executive
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
To reinstate informal virtual meetings
To move in-person meetings back into informal virtual meetings reflecting the rise in COVID cases locally, in order to protect elected members, staff and the public.
In the light of the increasing Covid-19 case rates and projected increases through August and into September I have been made aware of growing nervousness amongst some members and officers about returning to in person meetings.
The latest figures record that in Dorset there were 261 Covid cases per 100,000 and 522 per 100,000 in BCP. Our hospitals have also reported increasing numbers of Covid patients in ICU. Nationally PCR testing is reported to be at capacity, with one in four tests returning positive.
At the same time our supplier has reported that it is unable to provide webcasting kit in time for Cabinet next week. This means that members of the public will not have the option to join remotely Cabinet and Area Planning meetings later this month. My advice is that we should not be putting members, staff and visitors at unnecessary risk by holding in person meetings when we have a lawful alternative.
Members previously agreed to informal virtual (minded to) meetings, but this was on the basis that the arrangement would come to an end when social distancing measures were lifted and this happened on Monday 19th July 2021. In view though of the situation I have outlined and our duty of care to members, staff and members of the public wishing to engage with meetings, as Chief Executive I am exercising my delegated power to act in a case of urgency. I have consulted with and have the support of group leaders to revert to informal virtual meetings with immediate effect and continuing during August and September, to be reviewed in mid September.
To continue with in-person meetings, which might result in some members or officers not feeling able to attend for personal health reasons.
There were no conflicts of interest.
All Political Group Leaders
Jonathon Mair – Monitoring Officer
Publication date: 22/07/2021
Date of decision: 22/07/2021