Virtual council meetings to take place in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

Members have agreed a protocol to allow virtual formal meetings to take place at Cambridgeshire County Council during the remainder of the Covid-19 outbreak.

By Joel Lamy
Saturday, 18th April 2020, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 18th April 2020, 6:08 am

Committee meetings will now be conducted using the Zoom software platform. They will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel for members of the public and the media to watch - with the exception of confidential items - which will be discussed in private as usual.

Public questions can be submitted in written form and will be published on the council’s website prior to the meeting taking place. Meetings will be recorded to allow people to watch them afterwards if they cannot log on during the event itself.

This protocol will allow the council to continue to conduct the vast majority of its democratic decisions remotely, while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines, and follows legislation which came into force on April 4.

A list of decisions to be taken at formal meetings has been prepared for the next three months and the urgency of each decision will be marked as either high, medium or low – only decisions marked as high or medium will be taken to committee. The list does not include monitoring or information items, as these will be circulated to committees via email.

Training is now taking place with members to help them get used to the new system and the first meeting will be Communities and Partnerships Committee on Wednesday, April 22.

A similar process is now being developed at Peterborough City Council.

Cllr Steve Criswell, chairman of the county council’s Communities and Partnerships Committee, which will be the first to try the new system, said: “It will be a very new way of working for us all, but we’ve had excellent training on what to do and we are looking forward to continuing to hold council meetings in the public domain during Covid-19.”

The protocol will be reviewed after one month of meetings.