To consider a report by the Service Manager Democratic and Electoral Services.
The Council considered a report of the Service Manager, Democratic and Electoral Services, to confirm the arrangements for the effective and safe continuation of democratic decision making whilst social distancing requirements were still in place post 7 May 2021.
In proposing the recommendations, the Leader noted that he hoped that the government would bring forward legislation to enable local government to be able to hold virtual meetings moving forward. The proposal was seconded by L Fry.
The Corporate Director, Legal and Democratic confirmed that recommendation v) was now not required as the court case referred to in the report had been lost. The proposer and seconder confirmed that they were moving recommendations i) to iv) as set out in the report.
R Knox proposed an additional recommendation v) as an amendment as follows; ‘That the Leader, with support from all political parties represented on the Council, continues to lobby for the means to ensure that the Council, as well as town and parish councils, can continue to meet in hybrid arrangements in the future.’ The amendment was seconded by T Cook.
The Leader confirmed he was content with the proposed amendment and would reinforce the points made, in a letter to the Minister, setting out the benefits of virtual meetings.
On being put to the vote the amendment was CARRIED.
Decision (as a substantive motion)
(i) That subject to the exceptions described in paragraph 2.9 of the report all council meetings that are not executive in nature should continue to be held virtually from 7 May until such time as social distancing requirements are removed (currently scheduled to be lifted on 21 June 2021), with committee members expressing a ‘minded to’ decision in respect of recommendations set out in officer reports
(ii) That as a temporary change to the scheme of delegation the Chief Executive, appropriate Executive Director, Corporate Director, Head of Service or Service Manager be authorised to exercise delegated powers to make non-executive decisions in the light of ‘minded to’ decisions expressed by members in the virtual meetings
the Leader should be asked to agree that the Cabinet continue to meet virtually
(until such time as social distancing requirements are removed) with decisions
to be made by the relevant portfolio holder in the light of views expressed by
the wider Cabinet
all members should be given a dispensation under section 85 of the Local
Government Act 1972 until such time as social distancing requirements are
(v) That the Leader, with support from all political parties represented on the Council, continues to lobby for the means to ensure that the Council, as well as town and parish councils, can continue to meet in hybrid arrangements in the future.
Reason for Decision
To ensure that democratic decision making is able to continue effectively and safely whilst social distancing requirements are still in place post 7 May 2021, and ensuring that decision making is transparent, that local residents are appropriately represented, and that all local authority decisions have appropriate scrutiny.