Attending Meetings

Current committees

Covid-19/Coronavirus

During the Coronavirus outbreak, and the recovery which follows, the way we conduct meetings will change. This page summarises the process. If you have any questions please contact Democratic Services on committee@tunbridgewells.gov.uk or call 01892 554413.

If attending the town hall please observe the Covid-19 precautions.

Attending Meetings

Meetings are held in the town hall and are webcast live online.

Any member of the public may attend to watch/listen in person or online live via our website on the relevant committee’s meeting page. A recording of the meeting will also be available shortly after the end of the meeting.

All meetings and agenda are open to the public except where confidential information is being discussed. The agenda of the meeting will identify whether any meeting or part of the meeting is not open to the public and explain why.

Agendas

The Council has a variety of committees and meetings, each dealing with specific issues. The business to be discussed is set out in the agenda for that meeting together with reports prepared by Officers which form the basis of the discussions and contain recommendations for decision.

There cannot be any discussion or decison made on any matter which is not on the agenda unless the matter is urgent and subject to specific urgency procedures.

Agendas are usually published five clear working days before the meeting (for example: if a meeting was to be held on Thursday 15th, the agenda would be published on Wednesday 8th except when there was a public holiday during the week). All agendas are published on our website on the relevant committee’s meeting page.

Speaking at Meetings

Members of the public are encouraged to participate and may speak to the Council directly on any item on the agenda for up to 3 minutes. Members of the public (and any members of the Council who are not members of the committee) will need to register with Democratic Services in advance.

Comments should be in the form of a statement giving your opinion on the matter. Members of the committee may not answer questions or get into a debate with you. (Seperate rules apply for asking questions, please see below.)

Registering to speak

Registration opens when the agenda is published and closes at 4pm on the last working day before the meeting.

Places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis except that if there are several speakers from the same group they will be asked to nominate someone to represent their collective view.

Contact details for the Democratic Services Officer responsible for the meeting will be set out in the agenda for the meeting which is available on the council’s website on the relevant committee’s meeting page.

Number of speakers

For most meetings (see exceptions below), there may be up to 4 speakers per agenda item and speakers have up to 3 minutes each.

Occasionally, when a matter is of especial public interest, the Full Council may resolve to increase the number of speakers. This will need to be agreed in advance and, if so, details will be set out in the agenda for the relevant meeting.

For Planning Committee there may be a maximum of 4 speakers in favour of an application plus 4 speakers against an application, each with up to 3 minutes.

Separate rules apply to Licensing Sub-Committee hearings depending on the nature of the business at hand.

Joining the meeting

You will need to attend the meeting in person. Once registered, further instructions will be sent.

If the meeting does not get to the item of business you are registered to speak on, you will be invited to come back when the item is next considered.

Asking Questions

At ordinary meetings of Full Council or Cabinet it is possible to ask questions. (Questions may not be asked at extraordinary meetings.) Having asked a question, you may ask a supplementary question to clarify the answer.

Registering to ask a question

Questions must be submitted in writing (preferably by email) to Democratic Services no later than midday, three clear working days before the meeting (for example: if a meeting was to be held on Wednesday 15th, questions must be received by midday on Thursday 9th except when there was a bank holiday during the week).

Please send questions to committee@tunbridgewells.gov.uk and specify the name and date of the meeting at which it is to be asked.

Number of questions

An individual may ask multiple questions however the total time allocated for questions at a particular meeting is 30 minutes. Any questions which cannot be answered within that time will receive a written response.

Joining the meeting

You will need to attend the meeting in person. Once registered, further instructions will be sent.

Questions will be asked in the order in which notice of the question was received, except that the Mayor may group together similar questions. Where more than one question is received from a person and there are questions from other people, then the first question from each person will be received in turn before taking the second questions.



 

Going Paperless

The Council is doing all it can to reduce the use of paper at meetings and this is especially true whilst we have limited access to the Town Hall. All documents are available electronically. Printed copies are available on request but please note that they are not currently available from the Town Hall. If you need a printed copy, please allow sufficient time for it to be printed and posted.

The mod.gov app allows you to automatically download meeting agendas and documents to your smartphone or tablet. Click here for more information.