There is a period of 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to allow the public to speak. Where members of the public wish to raise a question on an issue which is not included on the agenda, this must be submitted in writing to democratic services two working days before the meeting. This arrangement is in place to enable a considered response at the meeting. The speaker is entitled to ask a supplementary question relevant to the advance notice question. If a member of the public wishes to speak on an agenda item or to make a statement which does not require a response, no notice is required. Councillors also have the opportunity to ask questions of the leader and/or portfolio holders during this time slot whilst giving priority at this part of the agenda to members of the public.
The chairman has the right and discretion to control questions to avoid disruption, repetition and to make best use of the meeting time. The chairman is entitled to interrupt the speaker to ask for their question to be put.
All individual contributions will be limited to a maximum period of three minutes. Where there is an interest group of objectors or supporters, a spokesperson should be appointed to speak on behalf of the group.
The chairman will indicate if the meeting is being recorded for subsequent publication on the council's website.
Under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, any members of the public are now allowed to take photographs, film and audio record the proceedings and report on all public meetings (including on social media). No prior notification is needed but it would be helpful if you could let the democratic services team know you plan to film or record, so that any necessary arrangements can be made to provide reasonable facilities for you to report on meetings. This permission does not extend to private meetings or parts of meetings which are not open to the public. You should take all recording and photography equipment with you if a public meeting moves into a session which is not open to the public.
If you are recording the meeting, you are asked to act in a reasonable manner and not disrupt the conduct of meetings for example by using intrusive lighting, flash photography or asking people to repeat statements for the benefit of the recording. You may not make an oral commentary during the meeting. The chairman has the power to control public recording and/or reporting so it does not disrupt the meeting.
Should anyone have any special needs or require any reasonable adjustments to assist them in making individual contributions, please contact democratic services.