Decision details

To continue to hold virtual meetings

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


To continue to hold virtual meetings reflecting the emergence of Omicron and the rise in COVID cases locally, in order to protect elected members, staff and the public and be able carry out the business of the council.


Reasons for the decision:

In the light of:

·       The emergence of Omicron

·       Increasing infection case numbers (highest since January)

·       The Government’s recent announcement and the need to do all we can to minimise the scope for transmission and

·       The need to avoid inconsistency with the “work from home if you can” message – not re-starting in person meetings at exactly the moment we are told to work at home if we can.


Following a conversation between three of the Group Leaders, I have considered the Council’s position in respect of returning to in person meetings.


The local hospital system is under significant pressure, from COVID and the usual winter pressures. Similarly, the Adult Social Care sector is also under pressure as they work tirelessly to stop more people having to be admitted to hospital and also seeking to help accelerate the discharge of patients back to home or into social care.


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, and in view 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


I will review this decision on a weekly basis, from the start of January taking into consideration the public health data for Dorset and any national guidance/regulation changes in force, and will consult with the Leader (and group leaders in line with the original full council decision) to consider the Council’s position in respect of returning to in person meetings.


Alternative options considered:

To continue with in-person meetings, which might result in some members or officers not feeling able to attend for personal health reasons.


Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:



Publication date: 16/12/2021

Date of decision: 16/12/2021