Agenda item


The Solicitor outlined the proposed amendments to the Virtual Meetings Standing Orders and drew attention to the following sections:


           Section 3 – Amendment of Standing Orders.

           Section 4 – Meetings of the Council.

           Section 6 - Members in remote attendance.

           Section 9 – Remote Attendance by Members of the Public.

           Section 17 – Voting.

           Section 20 – Interests of Members and Officers in contracts and other matters.

           Standing Order 34 - Rights of non-members to attend meetings of Council bodies


The Solicitor invited the Panel to consider what to do if a Member drops out of a meeting (4.10 and 4.11). 


The Chair thanked the solicitor for her thorough presentation of the proposed amendments.


Councillors Joyce and de Whalley, Ryves addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34.


The solicitor responded to questions in relation to:


           Definition of remote attendance. 

           Comfort breaks being scheduled in if required.

           Example given of loss of IT and Member’s right to vote on an item.

           Monitoring undertaken by Democratic Services during the meeting to ensure Members attendance and the meeting remains quorate.

           Members of Public loss of IT and right to speak – representation can be read out to the meeting. Guidance note is available to the public attending the Planning Committee.

           Loss of connection by Members during the meeting.

           Proposed Amendment 4.11 – loss of audio in remote attendance, Chair to determine if that person carry on to participate in that item.

           Public remote access to a meeting in accordance with Government regulations. 

            Councillors should be seen and heard in a remote meeting.  Length of broadband width in rural areas and access to meetings. It was highlighted that the regulations stated that Members have to be heard.  If practicable to be seen as well.

           Provision for consideration of exempt items. Exclusion of press and public.  Councillors remain who are observing during an exempt item when livestreaming ceased.  Provision to be made in the amendments to Standing Orders.

           Advice to Members attending under Standing Order 34.

           Standing Order 20 Declaration of Interests.


The Panel adjourned for a comfort break at 5.05 pm and reconvened at 5.15 pm


The following amendments were debated.


Paragraph 4.10 


Councillor Moriarty proposed, in principle, an amendment on the recommendations to Cabinet. Seconded by Councillor B Ayres


“If a Member is deemed to have left a remote meeting pursuant of 6.5 of Standing Orders and later rejoins the remote meeting, the Chair may decide that Member is precluded from contributing to the debate or voting on any item of business during which they were not in attendance pursuant to Standing Order 6.5 taking into account the nature of the meeting, length of absence and presence or not of a written report.” 


The Solicitor to draft amendments to 4.10 for inclusion within the report to Cabinet which achieves the overall principle and intention that the Chair should have discretion to decide whether a Member can still participate.


The Democratic Services Officer conducted a roll call.  The amendments were carried.


Paragraph 4.11


Councillor Moriarty proposed an amendment on the recommendations to Cabinet. Seconded by Councillor S Nash.


“If the Chair determines, a remote meeting may be adjourned for no more than 10 minutes to allow an attendee of that meeting to leave and immediately rejoin, where it is identified that there is poor quality connection that is adversely affecting the conduct of the remote meeting.”


The Democratic Services Officer conducted a roll call.  The amendments were carried.


RESOLVED:  The Panel proposed that the Solicitor should draft amendments to the proposed changes to Standing Orders for remote meetings, to be incorporated into the report for Cabinet on 30 June 2020, addressing the following matters:


1)    Standing Order 4.10 – A relaxation of this clause so that the Chair has discretion to decide whether a Member can continue to participate in the Meeting.

2)    Standing Order 4.11 – A relaxation of this clause to allow further time.

3)    Standing Order 34 – To take account of Members who wish to observe the meeting when there are exempt items.



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