Attending Meetings

Current committees

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.

Attending Meetings

Meetings will not be held in the town hall, instead they will be held virtually using the Council’s skype system and webcast live online.

Any member of the public may watch/listen to the meetings 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.

All public meetings will start at 10.30am. This is to reduce the draw on the council’s resources at this time.

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.

Agendas are usually published five 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 those wishing to comment on an agenda item will need to register with Democratic Services in advance. Registration opens when the agenda is published and closes at 4pm on the last working day before the meeting. For most meetings, 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 Council may resolve to increase the number of speakers. Details of this 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.

Once registered, speakers may submit their comments in writing to Democratic Services no later than 4pm on the last working day before the meeting. Your comments will then be read during the meeting by an independent officer. Alternatively, speakers may join the meeting either via Skype or by telephone. The clerk will call the speaker during the meeting to enable them to speak.

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.

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.

Asking Questions

At meetings of Full Council or Cabinet it is possible to ask questions. Questions must be submitted in writing (preferably by email) to Democratic Services no later than three clear working days before the meeting (for example, if a meeting was to be held on Thursday 15th, questions must be received by Monday 11th except when this was a bank holiday).

Your question will then be read during the meeting by an independent officer. Alternatively, speakers may join the meeting either via Skype or by telephone. The clerk will call the speaker during the meeting to enable them to speak.

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.

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.



 

 

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