Constitution - Part 6A - Public Participation Scheme

 

 

The Public Participation Scheme is to be read in conjunction with Part 5J: Annex to the Constitution dated 7 August 2020 remote meetings.

1.1. The Council is committed to the people of Cumbria having a say on its services and decisions.

1.2. There are many ways you can get involved such as attending community meetings and public events and responding to public consultations.  There are some Council meetings that you can also attend and participate by asking a question, or making representations, or presenting a petition.

1.3. The Public Participation Scheme explains how you can do this.

2.1. The Public Participation Scheme applies to the following meetings:

a. full Council;

b. Cabinet;

c. Local Committees;

d. Pensions Committee;

e. Development Control and Regulation Committee.

2.2. For more information about when and where Council meetings take place visit the Council Meetings page on the Council's website.  

2.3. Council meetings are public meetings and if you participate at a meeting, your name and a summary of your participation will be included in the minutes of the meeting.  You may be filmed under the law permitting filming at meetings of the Council.

3.1. The public participation arrangements for full Council, Cabinet and Local Committees are the same for each of these bodies.

3.2. If you wish to participate at full Council, or Cabinet or at a Local Committees you can do so in one of the following ways:

a. Asking a Question; or 

b. Making a Statement; or 

c. Presenting a Petition.

3.3. You can ask a question, make a statement or present a petition on any matter for which the Council has responsibility.

3.4. You can attend the meeting to ask your question, make your statement or present your petition, but you are not required to attend.   If you do not attend, the meeting will consider your question, statement or petition and you will receive a written response after the meeting. 

3.5. Once you have submitted your question, petition or statement, the Monitoring Officer will decide which body to refer it to. If your question, petition or statement is outside the remit of the full Council, Cabinet or a Local Committee, you will receive a written response from the Council. 

3.6. The time set aside for public participation is normally limited to 30 minutes per meeting.  This period may be extended in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Chair.

3.7. The Council treats all participants in meetings with respect and expects the same standards of conduct from all participants in its meetings.  

3.8.Submitting questions, statements, and petitions

3.9. Questions, statements, and petitions can be submitted:

a. by email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk , 

b. by post to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1RD (mark your envelope 'Public Participation') or 

c. online at www.cumbria.gov.uk.

3.10.  Your question, statement or petition must be received in writing (including email) by the Council at least 3 working days before the day of the meeting (not including the day of the meeting). So, for example, if the meeting is on Thursday requests must be received by 11.59 pm on the previous Friday. 

3.11.  The Council's Monitoring Officer will reject questions, statements or petitions which are not submitted in writing, within the time limit.  You will be notified if your question, statement, or petition is rejected for these reasons and may re-submit, complying with the requirements in the scheme, provided your submission is not otherwise excluded (see Exclusions). 

3.12.  Attending a meeting 

3.13.  If you want to attend the meeting to which you have submitted your question, statement or petition, please let us know you when you submit it.

3.14. You will be contacted before the meeting by a Council officer to confirm your attendance and inform you of the date of the meeting, venue and what time to attend. 

3.15. On the day of the meeting, we ask that you arrive in plenty of time.  Public participation takes place early on in the meeting.

3.16. If you cannot attend the meeting, you may ask someone else to attend on your behalf. Please let us know us in advance of the meeting who you have asked to attend on your behalf.

3.17. When it is your turn to speak you will have a few minutes to introduce yourself and then ask your question, make your statement, or present your petition.  You may be asked follow-up questions by members attending the meeting.  Normally 5 minutes is allowed for each speaker. 

3.18. You will then receive a response from the Chair of the meeting. 

3.19. If you asked a question, you may ask one supplementary question to clarify any particular point relating to your question.  You will normally be allowed up to 2 minutes for your follow up question.  You will not be able to ask follow-up questions or make further representations if you have made a statement or presented a petition.

3.20.Petitions - Special considerations

3.21. When you submit a petition, the following information should be submitted:

a. What the petition is about

b. Which meeting you want to present the petition to

c. What action you (the petitioners) want the County Council to take

d. The name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition (which can be the person's home, work or study address)

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

3.22. You can submit a petition in person at a meeting or submit a petition in writing which is not aimed at any particular meeting.   If you submit a petition in writing your petition will be acknowledged within 10 working days, with confirmation of what the Council will do with the petition and when you can expect a response.  The Council's response will depend on what the petition is about and how many people have signed it.  

3.23. If you submit a petition in person at a meeting 3.12 to 3.19 above will apply.  You should still provide the details in 3.21 in advance of the meeting.

3.24. Before you submit a petition the Council recommends that you contact your local elected member to see if the Council is already acting on your concerns and to ensure that the Council is the most appropriate body to receive your petition.  

3.25.Exclusions 

3.26. There are some circumstances where the Council will not accept questions, statements or petitions under the Public Participation Scheme.  The Monitoring Officer may reject a question, statement or petition if it is:

a. about any individual (including an individual member of the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme) or a member of Council staff;

b. about matters which are covered by legal or other proceedings;

c. about a party political matter;

d. about confidential or exempt information (as defined by statute);

e. about a matter where there is already a right of appeal or a complaints process;

f. vexatious, frivolous, abusive or likely to be defamatory;

g. is not about a matter for which the Council has responsibility;

h. a statutory petition (such as one requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor)

i. the subject matter of the question, statement or petition is substantially the same as the subject matter of a question, statement or petition considered by a meeting of the full Council, or Cabinet or a local committee (or in the case of a petition which was not directed towards a meeting, has otherwise received a response) within the last 12 months.

3.27. The Monitoring Officer's decision is final.

4.1. Public participation at Pensions Committee is open only to non-County Council employers in the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme ('Scheme Employers') and individuals who are either currently paying into the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme ('Cumbria LGPS'), individuals drawing a pension from the Cumbria LGPS and individuals who have previously contributed to the Cumbria LGPS but are not yet drawing a pension ('Scheme Members').

4.2. The time set aside for representations at the Pensions Committee is normally limited to 30 minutes per meeting.  This period may be extended in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Chair.

4.3. The Arrangements for Scheme Members and Scheme Employers to submit a question or a statement and to attend the committee are set out in paragraphs 3.8 to 3.11 above, and the exclusions set out in paragraphs 3.24 to 3.26 apply. The Pensions Committee does not consider petitions submitted to the Council.

5.1. Development Control and Regulation Committee considers 4 main areas of business:

5.1.1. Planning applications for mineral workings and waste management facilities such as quarries, landfill sites and /or waste incinerators;

5.1.2. Planning applications by the County Council for its own development proposals;

5.1.3. Changes to public rights of way in Cumbria;

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

5.2. The Committee has its own arrangements for public participation which are set out below. 

5.3. Applicants, supporter and opponents of the application (or their representatives) may apply to speak at the Development Control and Regulation Committee.

5.4. If you wish to speak at the Committee you must notify the Council in writing  with details of the points you wish to make at least 3 working days (not including the day of the meeting) before the meeting where the application is to be considered.  So, for example if the meeting is on Thursday, requests must be received by 11.59pm on the previous Friday: 

a. by email to democratic.services@cumbria.gov.uk , 

b. by post to Democratic Services, Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1RD (mark your envelope 'Public Participation - DCR') or 

c. online at www.cumbria.gov.uk 

5.5. Please note that you will not be permitted to circulate new evidence to the meeting or raise new points during Public Participation and your representations should be limited to the points previously submitted.

5.6. In order to strike the right balance for Members between the need to fully consider the written and visual information before them and listening to the oral representations, the number of people who can speak is restricted to:

a. 5 objectors;

b. 5 supporters (including the applicant); and 

c. the local Member or Members.  The local Member or Members are the Member or Members in whose division(s) the land to which the application relates is located.

5.7. If more than 5 objectors or 5 supporters request to speak places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.  If the applicant  requests to speak they will be given priority over other supporters of the application even if their request is submitted later.  For the purposes of applying the first come first served basis submissions made by post will be treated as being received at 9am on the day on which they are delivered to Cumbria House.  

5.8. If you have validly applied to speak and been allocated a place, you will be contacted before the meeting by a Council officer, to inform you of the date of the meeting, venue and what time to attend. Please arrive in plenty of time before the meeting so you can be seated. 

5.9. If you cannot attend the meeting, you may ask someone else to attend and speak on your behalf. Please let us know us in advance of the meeting who you have asked to speak on your behalf.

5.10. If you have applied to speak but have not been allocated a place because the places have been allocated to other individuals on the first come first served basis you will be notified in writing of this.  You may still attend the meeting as a member of the public although you will not be able to address the meeting. 

5.11. Speakers will be invited to address the meeting following the presentation of the report on the relevant application by officers of the Council.  Each individual will be allowed to speak for 5 minutes in total. What you say must be relevant to the application and must be limited to the points raised in your written summary of the points to be made.

5.12. The applicant will be invited to speak after all other speakers have spoken.  They will also be allowed to speak for 5 minutes.  The Chair may exercise discretion to allow the applicant to speak for more than 5 minutes where the Chair considers that this is necessary in order to enable them to respond to all points made by previous speakers.  

5.13. The Chair may exercise discretion to prevent repetition of representations that the committee has heard, or points which are not relevant or not material to the application under consideration or which are not included in the written summary of points you submitted.

5.14. At the Chair's discretion, members of the Committee (but not members of the public) may ask any speaker questions, immediately after their presentation, on matters of fact relating to the application, to clarify any points raised during the presentation. 

5.15. There is one opportunity to make representations on an application or linked applications and once you have spoken on an application, you will not be invited to speak again on that application.  However, if you have been invited to speak and the application is deferred before you have had chance to speak you will be given an opportunity when the Committee next considers the application.  

5.16. The local member who represents the division affected by the application will be notified of any requests to speak and from whom they have been received, and is permitted to attend and speak (if not a member of the Development Control and Regulation Committee) at the decision making meeting under paragraph 6.6 of the Code of Good Practice for Members and Officers Involved in the Planning Process (Part 6F of the Constitution). 

5.17. Other members of the Council who are not members of the Development Control and Regulation Committee must, if they wish to speak at a meeting, apply under the Public Participation Scheme.