Public Participation in Council Meetings
Why have public participation?
The Council wishes to encourage members of the public to take an interest, and to participate in, its affairs. All relevant issues raised by members of the public will be taken into account when the Council is making its decisions.
How can I participate?
You can participate at Council and Committee Meetings in the following ways:-
Petition: By presenting a petition at a meeting, as an indication of local feeling about an issue or something the Council has or has not done or about a general view of the community. There is no minimum number of signatures required for a petition.
Questions: The Council’s Procedure Rules (Procedure Rule 9) allows a period of fifteen minutes in total for written questions to be put to the Council or a Committee on any matter on which the Council has any powers or duties or which affects the district.
In addition, members of the public are welcome to attend Council etc. Meetings unless personal or confidential business is being discussed. All Meetings will be held in venues that have reasonable access and seating for members of the public. A hearing induction loop is available at the Council’s offices in Trinity Road, Cirencester and at the Area Centre, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh. At other venues, efforts will be made to provide sound enhancement equipment.
What notice is required for questions?
A question must be delivered in writing, or by electronic mail, to the Proper Officer by no later than 5.00 p.m. on the last working day before the date of the meeting (contact details below). Each question must give the name and address of the questioner and no more than two questions may be submitted by the same person or on behalf of a single organisation.
What is the scope of the questions?
A question can be rejected by the Proper Officer if it is not about a matter for which the Council has a responsibility or which affects the district, is defamatory, offensive or frivolous, is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of the Council or a Committee in the last six months, or requires the disclosure of confidential information.
What happens at the meeting?
Copies of any questions will be circulated to Members and will be made available to members of the public who attend the meeting.
The Chairman will invite the questioner to put the question to the Member named in the notice. If the questioner is unable to attend the meeting, he/she can ask the Chairman to put the question on his/her behalf. The Chairman can ask the question and/or indicate that a written reply will be given. Any question duly submitted will be dealt with at the meeting concerned.
A questioner who has put a question in person can also ask one supplementary question, without notice, in response to the reply to his/her question. A supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply given. The Chairman can reject a supplementary question on any of the grounds detailed in the above section detailing the scope of questions.
What form will the reply take?
If a question has been submitted at least five working days before a meeting, a written reply will be guaranteed. Written replies cannot be guaranteed to questions submitted any later than five working days before a meeting. An immediate answer cannot be guaranteed in respect of supplementary questions.
Any questions that cannot be dealt with during public question time, because of a lack of time, will receive a written answer. There can not be any discussion on questions but any matters raised by a question can be referred to the Council, the Cabinet or the appropriate Committee.
Who may ask questions?
Questions can be put by local government electors within the Cotswold District or a representative of a business operating within the Cotswold District.
What if I have special needs?
The Council is anxious that everyone is able to participate in its Meetings. If you have special needs or concerns about participation, please discuss them with Nigel Adams (contact details below). We will do whatever we can to help or to reassure you.
A reasonable number of agenda papers will be made available for members of the public attending meetings. Those papers, and the minutes of the meeting can be inspected afterwards at the Council’s offices in Trinity Road, Cirencester.
Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1PX
Telephone: 01285 623 000