What to expect when attending a Parish Council meeting

Individuals

Great Notley Parish Council welcomes residents to its meetings but so that you understand what is involved this short guide attempts to answer your questions.

Parish Council meetings are open to all members of the public but although the law permits anyone to attend there is no automatic right for members of the public to participate as it is not classed as a public meeting but a meeting of the Parish Council.

However Great Notley Parish Council recognises that the input of residents is helpful in understanding what are the views of Parishioners and informing the responses of the Parish Council to various issues and consultations.  Also it is important to hear what is important to you the residents who Councillors represent and for that reason each meeting includes a public session where members of the public can speak.

In view of the continued prevalence of Covid there is a risk assessment  in place which we would be grateful if you could observe.

You will be able to download a copy of the agenda from this website and you will see that the public session is near the beginning of the meeting.  That is the only part of the meeting where members of the public will have the opportunity to speak so when asked by the Chairman please indicate your wish to speak by raising your hand.

Unless the Chairman agrees otherwise you will be permitted to speak for no more than 5 minutes.  You can comment on issues on the agenda or raise other areas of concern although issues can only be debated if they are on the agenda and the Parish Council may choose to add issues to future agendas at its discretion.

You may ask questions and all questions should be addressed to the Chairman of the meeting.  It may not be possible to answer the question so the Chairman may direct that an oral or written response is provided to you in due course or indeed it may be that the Parish Council is not able to answer the question as it is not an issue within its control.  

Please make sure that you act in a courteous and polite manner.   In accordance with Clause 2 of the standing orders if any person shall disrupt the meeting they may be removed from the meeting at the direction of the Chairman.

The Parish Council standing orders  clauses 3 D to N set out the specific rules relating to meetings including the rules surrounding the recording of meetings. 

Once Councillors have heard from you they may ask you some questions to clarify the points you have made or they may simply have listened to your points which they may choose to consider during the debate of agenda items so please do not expect an immediate detailed discussion.  However if the item is on the agenda you may choose to remain at the meeting to listen to the debate on that subject.

There are certain circumstances when members of the public may be asked to leave the meeting, for example if there is a discussion on a personnel issue where the confidential information of an individual must be protected.

Organisations

If you are attending on behalf of an organisation please let the Clerk know in advance.  For example, if you are a developer wishing to make a presentation you will be subject to the terms of the policy on early planning consultation  In any event representatives from organisations may speak and the time limit for speaking may be extended at the complete discretion of the Chairman so that the Parish Council can make sure it is fully informed on specific issues.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Clerk on 01376 331251 or by email greatnotleyclerk@gmail.com