Great Yarmouth Borough Council to hold first virtual committee meetings
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is holding its first virtual committee meetings next week, after face-to-face meetings of councillors were suspended in mid-March.
The Government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person. This means that councils have new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology.
The first virtual meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee will be held on May 19. This will be followed by the first virtual Development Control Committee meeting on May 21, enabling members to decide planning applications. The dates are subject to successful trials of the technology.
The items which were due to go to the cancelled Policy and Resources meeting in March will now go to the May meeting. Licensing Committee will only be held as and when required. No meetings of other committees or full council are currently planned.
Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to confirm these arrangements and set monthly dates for its own meetings and the Development Control Committee until September inclusive, when the situation will be reviewed.
The committees will still have their usual political make-up. Policy and Resources Committee, the council's main service committee, includes the council leader, the chairmen of the other service committees and all political group leaders.
In a joint statement, Cllr Carl Smith and Cllr Trevor Wainwright said: "Much council business since mid-March has been the multi-agency response. That work has been guided at a national level by the Government and co-ordinated on a county-wide basis via the Norfolk Resilience Forum, of which our council is an active member.
"As we start to plan ahead for recovery and normalisation, the facility of virtual meetings for these two committees enables councillors to meet remotely in a safe manner to take key decisions in public on items which are above the line, enabling democratic processes to continue and development works to continue."
Useful IT guides, assisting the public and press to virtually "attend" the meetings as observers, will be available alongside the agendas when they are published on the council's website a week before the meetings. Details of upcoming meetings and agendas will be available here.