Agenda item - Council and Committee meetings from 1st August 2021
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Council and Committee meetings from 1st August 2021
Report of the Executive Lead Officer for Strategy, Governance & Law.
27.1 The report was introduced by Councillor Mac Cafferty and noted that the legislation which had enabled virtual committee meetings to be held expired on the 7th May. The Government had not found time to either extend this or to enable Authorities to hold decision-making meetings virtually and therefore a return to in-person meetings was necessary with effect from the 1st August. However, was proposed to continue with the ability for members of the public and officers to attend virtually and to keep the arrangements under review and advice/guidance from Public Health in regard to the management of the meetings. He therefore recommended the report to the Council for approval.
27.2 Council Nemeth stated that the Conservative Group would support the proposals, but he was disappointed by the way in which the Special ET&S Committee on the 21st July had been managed. He noted that other Authorities had used alternative venues to accommodate meetings and hoped that consideration would be given to how meetings were held going forward.
27.3 Councillor Allcock stated that the Labour Group supported the comments of the Leader and noted that the democratic process had been maintained throughout the pandemic and there had been greater public engagement. He also acknowledged the need to consider officers and those Councillors who had yet to be vaccinated.
27.4 Councillor Mac Cafferty noted the comments and stated that the previous arrangements for committee meetings would not have foreseen the need for the Special ET&S committee meeting. He also stated that there was a pandemic, and the Government should have legislated for the continued use of virtual meetings.
27.5 The Mayor then put the recommendations to the vote which were agreed.
(1) That the detailed arrangements outlined in the previous report to Policy & Resources Committee and its Appendices were put in place as a transitional measure only and will cease to have effect at the end of 31st July 2021 be noted;
(2) That it be agreed to revert to attendance in person by Members, co-optees and standing invitees who are appointed to decision-making meetings of the Council, its Committees and Sub-Committees from 1st August 2021 subject to the safeguards listed in paragraph 4.3 of the report;
(3) That it be agreed to end the arrangements agreed on 13 May 2021 for use of enhanced delegations to officers; and
(4) That the Chief Executive and the Executive Lead Officer for Strategy, Governance & Law be authorised to take such steps as are necessary or incidental to ensuring that the arrangements for meetings are safe, following consultation with the Director of Public Health and Group Leaders.