Return of face-to-face meetings
Residents may or may not be aware that legislation permitting Local Councils to hold meetings remotely will expire on May 7th 2021, and after this point all Council meetings must be “face-to-face”. Despite valiant efforts from Hertfordshire County Council, Lawyers in Local Government, and the Association of Democratic Services Officers, a recent High Court ruling has dismissed claims that other legislation already permits council meetings to be held remotely. As it is an election year, local councils in Shropshire (including Ruyton XI Towns Parish Council) are therefore legally obliged to hold an “in-person” Annual Council meeting within a set number of days after the election on Thurs 6th May 2021.
Annual Council Meeting arrangements in Ruyton XI Towns
In order to meet the legal obligation to hold an annual council meeting in-person, the Parish Council has decided to hold a very short in-person Annual Council Meeting in the Village Hall (not the Victoria Room) on Tues 18th May 2021 at 6.30pm. To keep the meeting short to minimise the risk of transmission, the agenda will only include items that must legally be considered at the annual meeting, or that are otherwise urgent, and there will be no Parish Matters agenda items. If you have any questions or matters you wish to raise with the Parish Council prior to the Annual Council meeting, please telephone (01691 674742) or email the clerk asap. We will note any such matters raised, and will send a response after the meeting. If urgent action is required, the Parish Council does have a Scheme of Delegation in place.
Can members of the public attend the Annual Council meeting?
Whilst all Council meetings must be held face-to-face from 7th May, there will still be limits on how members of the public can gather and mix indoors. As the safety of residents, councillors, and staff is of the utmost importance, we are working closely with the Village Hall committee to prepare the risk assessments and covid secure measures for the face-to-face meeting, but there will be necessary capacity limits in the Village Hall to allow for social distancing between councillors, staff, and any attendees (max 20 people, including councillors and clerk). To further minimise the risk of transmission, and to avoid having to turn people away at the door, we would urge residents to carefully consider whether they need to attend this meeting in person. If you still feel you need to attend the meeting in person, please telephone (01691 674742) or email the clerk asap, so we can discuss how we can accommodate you safely. Those who do attend meetings must either:
- sign in using the NHS Covid-19 QR code on their smartphone, or
- provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace.
Government call for evidence for remote meetings – share your views.
The Parish Council was very disappointed that Central Government decided not to extend legislation permitting remote meetings, as we feel we have been able to achieve a huge amount over the last 12+ months, whilst avoiding unnecessary risks to councillors, residents, and staff.
The Government has launched a consultation regarding remote meetings, in order to decide whether or not to change to legislation to allow local councils the permanent option of holding remote meetings in future. The Parish Council will respond in favour of keeping remote meetings as an option, and we would urge members of the public to send their own responses as well. You can access more information on the Government’s Call for evidence here. Responses can be submitted via the Citizen Space online survey. The deadline for submitting responses is 17.06.2021.