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Constitution - Part 6A - Public Participation Scheme

 

 

1.1 Cumbria County Council ('the County Council') is committed to the people of Cumbria having a say on its services and its decisions.

1.2 There are many ways for the public to get involved such as attending community meetings, public events, commenting on the council's website or submitting comments through the council's 'have your say' scheme. 

1.3 There are also a number of regular County Council meetings where the public are invited to have their say, either by:

(a) Asking a question;

(b) Presenting a petition; or

(c) Making a statement.

1.4 The County Council's Public Participation Scheme explains how members of the public may do this.

2.1 This scheme applies to the following County Council meetings:

(a) Council - this meets on average seven times a year. For full details about full Council and the decisions it makes please go to Part 2A of this Constitution;

(b) Cabinet - this meets monthly. For full details about Cabinet and the decisions it makes please go to Part 2B of this Constitution; and

(c) Local Committees - for full details about the six Local Committees and the decisions they make, please go to Part 2D of this Constitution.

2.2 The public participation arrangements for Council, Cabinet and Local Committees are the same. However arrangements for the County Council's Development Control and Regulation Committee ("Planning Committee") are different and are set out below in Section 3.

2.3 For more information about when and where council meetings take place visit the Council Meetings page on cumbria.gov.uk. The time set aside for public participation at the formal meetings is normally limited to 30 minutes.

2.4 If you would like to have a say at one of the formal meetings (as listed above), please follow the guidance below for asking a question, presenting a petition, or making a statement.  Chairs of meetings understand that members of the public may not be accustomed to addressing formal meetings, and will help you feel comfortable and able to make your voice heard.

Please note that Council meetings are public, and a summary of your contribution, including your name, will appear in the published minutes of the meeting. Minutes are publicly available, including via the Council's website.

NB Please note that the Council treats all participants in meetings with respect and does expect similar standards of behaviour from all attendees.  The Council Procedure Rules contain guidance at paragraphs 19 and 20 on the standards which are expected.

2.5 Asking a Question

2.5.1 Asking a question - if you will be attending the meeting: 

(a) The question must be provided to the council at least  three working days before the date of the meeting. You can submit your question either online; in writing to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD; or via email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk.

(b) Prior to the meeting you will be contacted by the County Council to confirm your attendance and be given a time that you need to attend.

(c) On the day you need to arrive in plenty of time. When it is your turn to speak you will have a few minutes to introduce yourself and then ask your question. You may be asked follow on questions by Members attending the Committee, normally this session will be limited to approximately five minutes. Following this you will receive an answer from the Committee. You may also ask one supplementary question to clarify a particular point relating to your original question.

2.5.2 Asking a question - if you won't be attending the meeting: 

(a) Your question must be submitted to the County Council at least three working days before the date of the meeting. You can submit your question either online; in writing to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD; or via email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk.

(b) Following the meeting you will be contacted and given an update of the discussion and an answer to the question you asked.

2.6 Submitting a Petition

Anyone can submit a petition to the County Council on any County Council related topic. Petitions can be submitted either online at cumbria.gov.uk or as a hard copy by sending it to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD.

2.7 To submit a petition  to one of the meetings listed under 2.1 above, please follow this guidance:

(a) Petitions must be sent to the County Council at least three working days before the date of the meeting. Petitions must include a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state:

(i) What action the 'petitioners' wish the County Council to take; and 

(ii) The name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition (the address can be an address where person lives, works or studies).

(iii) Your name and contact details (the person submitting the petition).

(b) Prior to the meeting you will be contacted by the County Council to confirm your attendance and be given a time that you need to attend. When presenting a petition you will be expected to attend. If you can't attend you should arrange for someone else to attend on your behalf.

(c) On the day you need to arrive in plenty of time. When it is your turn to speak you will have a few minutes to introduce yourself and then present your petition. You may be asked follow on questions by members attending the Committee, normally this session will be limited to approximately five minutes.

2.8 You may want to just submit a petition to the County Council about a specific issue and it may not be aimed at any particular meeting - if this is the case then the petition should clearly state:

(i) What action the petitioners (i.e. 'you') want the County Council to take; and

(ii) The name, address and signature of the person submitting the petition/petition organiser. These petitions will be acknowledged within ten working days together with confirmation of what the County Council will do with the petition and confirm when you can expect to hear from the County Council.

2.9 The County Council response to a petition will depend on what the petition asks for and how many people have signed it, but may include one or more of the following:

(a) Taking the action requested in the petition;

(b) Considering the petition at a County Council meeting;

(c) Holding an inquiry into the matter;

(d) Undertaking research into the matter;

(e) Holding a public meeting;

(f) Carrying out consultation;

(g) Holding a meeting with the petitioners;

(h) Referring the petition for consideration by one of the County Council's Scrutiny Boards ; and

(i) Writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition.

2.10 Before submitting a petition we recommend that you check with your local councillor ('member') to see if the County Council is already acting on your concerns and to ensure that the County Council is the most appropriate body to receive your petition.

2.11  Making a statement

2.11.1 Making a Statement - if you will be attending the meeting:

(a) Your statement must be provided to the County Council at least three working days before the date of the meeting. You can submit your statement either online; in writing to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD; or via email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk

(b) Prior to the meeting you will be contacted by the County Council to confirm your attendance and be given a time that you need to attend.

(c) On the day, you need to arrive in plenty of time. When it is your turn to speak you will have a few minutes to introduce yourself and then read out your statement. You may be asked follow on questions by members attending the Committee. Normally this session will be limited to approximately five minutes. Following this you will receive an answer from the Committee.

2.11.2 Making a statement - when you don't wish to attend the meeting: 

(a) Your statement must be submitted to the County Council at least three working days before the date of the meeting. You can submit your statement either online at; in writing to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD, or via email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk Following the meeting you will be contacted and given an update of the discussion.

2.12 Exclusions

The County Council really does want to hear from the public on matters they feel strongly about. However there are exclusions to this and questions cannot be asked about the following:

(a) Circumstances of an individual or a member of County Council staff; 

(b) Matters covered by legal or other proceedings;

(c) Party political matters or confidential information;

(d) A statutory petition (for example requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor); 

(e) A matter where there is already an existing right of appeal or a separate complaints process;

(f) Anything the County Council considers to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate; or

(g) Where a person, organisation or someone on their behalf has submitted a petition or asked a question which is the same or substantially the same as one submitted within the previous 12 months.

Cumbria's Development Control and Regulation Committee

3.1 This Committee normally meets every six weeks in Kendal and considers four main areas of business:

(a) Planning Applications for mineral workings and waste management facilities such as quarries, landfill sites and/or waste incinerators;

(b) Planning applications by the  County Council for its own development proposals;

(c) Changes to any Public Rights of Way in Cumbria, and

(d) The registration of common land and town and village greens, and to register the variation of rights of common.

3.2 Applicants, any supporters and opponents of the application (or their representatives) and representatives of organisations consulted as part of the determination process may apply to speak at the Committee.  

3.3 Procedure for Public Participation 

3.3.1 If you wish to speak to the Committee you, (or a representative appointed to act on your behalf, including a legal representative) must notify the County Council's Democratic Services Team, submitting at the same time a written note of the points you wish to make, at least three working days before the meeting where the application is being considered.

3.3.2 Requests received less than three working days before the meeting will only be accepted at the discretion of the Chair of the Committee.

3.3.3 You will be given details of the Committee meeting.

3.3.4 The County Council member who represents the division affected by the application will also be notified of any requests to speak and from whom have been received.

3.3.5 At the Committee, people who have validly applied to speak will be allocated seats in the committee room before the meeting starts.

3.3.6 Speakers will be invited to address the Committee following the presentation of the report on the relevant application by officers of the Council.  You will be allowed up to five minutes for your presentation.  What you say must be relevant to the application.

3.3.7 Normally, any person who has validly requested to speak at the Committee will have the opportunity to speak.  However, the Chair may exercise his/hers discretion to prevent repetition of submissions which the Committee has heard or points which are not material to the application under consideration.

3.3.8 The applicant will be invited to speak after those speakers who are opposing the application.

3.3.9 At the Chair's discretion, any speaker may be questioned, immediately after their presentation, by members of the Committee or by Council officers, on matters of fact relating to the application, to clarify any points raised in their presentation.

3.3.10 If the Committee decide to defer their decision on the application for any reason, you will not be invited to speak at a subsequent meeting, but your views will be considered.