Regulations allow “virtual” public meetings of councils from Saturday 4th April 2020

Updated 11:45am

The new regulations allowing local councils, be they County, District Town or Parish to hold meetings virtually come into force today, 4th April 2020.

These new regulations apply to public meetings held of various local government bodies between the 4th April 2020 and 7th May 2021.

Previously there was a legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person, however the new regulations have suspended this requirement during the coronavirus pandemic.

The requirement for public meetings to be made accessible to the public remains.

So how will public meetings be held without those participating or attending actually physically present in a room? There are various options given within the new regulations from a telephone conference, video conference, live webcast or live interactive streaming.

Public and press access to the virtual public meeting to enable them to attend or participate will by remote access.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council have yet to explain how remote access will work for members of the press and public. We hope they will publish details soon.

As we understand Hythe Town Council will have a virtual meeting on the 6th April. This will be a Planning Committee meeting, (Plans & Works)  the public or press may access the meeting by contacting the Council on 01303 266152.

Local government bodies can choose to not have an Annual Meeting in 2020 as appointments can be automatically extended by a further year. The new regulations also grant further flexibility in the day and time of meetings, when meetings can be cancelled, moved and the frequency changed.

These changes will take some time for everyone involved to get used to.

The Shepwayvox Team

Stay At Home – Protect The NHS – Save Lives


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