Public participation at virtual meetings - guidance for participants

Guidance for public taking part in virtual meetings

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 regulations enable all local authority meetings to be held remotely, including allowing remote access by members of the public. 

Currently all meetings of Cumbria County Council will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams.

If you want to speak at a virtual Council meeting you must have validly requested to speak.  Valid requests are those which have been submitted in accordance with the Council's Public Participation Scheme.

At the moment, with social distancing rules and regulations in place, all Council meetings are being held online.  This means that no 'physical' meetings are taking place, so the public can take part by a telephone call into a live online meeting.  You can view meetings from a link found in the agenda papers for specific meetings.

When we receive your request to speak and written submission, a member of the Democratic Services team will contact you by email to ask you for a telephone number to be used when ringing you into the remote meeting. Your telephone call will be heard (not seen) during the meeting.

On the day of the meeting, when it is your turn to speak, a Democratic Services Officer will call your number to bring you into the meeting.  If the first call fails then your written submission will be read out to the meeting by an officer.

Once the call connects and you are live to the meeting, the Chair will welcome you to the meeting, ask you to confirm your name, and then invite you to speak.

If you are approaching the end of your 5 minutes the Chair will let you know your time is nearly up.  At the end of 5 minutes you will be asked to stop speaking.

The Chair will then invite members to ask you questions.  

If members have no questions, you will be asked to leave the meeting, and the next participant will be invited in to the meeting to speak.

It is strongly recommended that you provide a written copy of your representation to the Democratic Services Team in line with the public participation scheme.  If you have problems or can't call in to the meeting, your written representation will be read out to the meeting by a member of the Planning Team.

If telephone connection is lost during the call, a member of the Democratic Services team will try to call you back immediately.

If the Democratic Services Officer can't reconnect the call on the first attempt, your written representation will be read out to the meeting by a member of the Planning Team.

Please remember that the meeting will be live streamed and/or recorded for later publication and therefore can be viewed and listened to by the general public. Language and interaction with members should reflect this.

Foul and abusive language and/or behaviour may result in the call being 'cut off' and you will not be allowed to continue with your representation to the committee.