Part 5 - Remote Meetings Protocol and Procedure Rules

Below are the Remote Meetings Protocol and Procedure Rules.

4.1    Annual Meeting

         4.1.1  The County Council postponed its Annual Meeting due to be held on 13 May 2020 to 9 September 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID19
         4.1.2  Article 4 (2) of the Regulations confirms that all appointments that would otherwise have been made or required to be made at the annual meeting of the Council on 13 May 2020 shall continue until the next annual meeting of the authority or until such time as that authority may determine.

 

1A        No Requirement to Hold an Annual Meeting

 

The requirement to hold an Annual Meeting is to be disregarded and, prior to 7th May 2021, an Annual Meeting of Council may only take place:

 

(a)    Where called by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chair or;

(b)    following a resolution calling for an Annual Meeting being passed at an ordinary or extraordinary meeting of Council.

 

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Procedural Standing Order 1 (Annual Meeting of the County Council)

 

4.2        Provision of notice of Meetings and agenda papers

             4.2.1 The Proper Officer will give the requisite notice to the public of the time of the meeting, and the agenda which, together with details of how to join the meeting, will be available on Gloucestershire County Council’s website.
             4.2.3 Members will be notified of a remote meeting by email and all agenda papers will be available on Gloucestershire County Council’s website.
             4.2.4 The ‘place’ at which the meeting is held may be at a Gloucestershire County Council building or may be where the organiser of the meeting is located or may be an electronic or a digital or virtual location, a web address or a conference call telephone number; or could be a number of these The meeting may also be held in a meeting room or Chamber with a proportion of the membership and any participating public additionally attending remotely.

 

2A    Access to Information

 

For all purposes of the Constitution, the terms “notice”, “summons”, “agenda”,

“report”, “written record” and “background papers” when referred to as being a document that is:

 

(a)      “open to inspection” shall include for these and all other purposes as being published on the website of the council; and

 

(b)      to be published, posted or made available at offices of the Authority shall include publication on the website of the Authority.

 

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Standing Order 5 (notice and summons to meetings) and Access to Information Procedure Rule 5 (access to agenda and reports before the meeting), etc

 

4.3        Provision of Remote Access to Meetings

             4.3.1 Members and members of the press and public who are participating in a meeting will be encouraged to use any video conferencing facilities provided by the Council to attend that meeting.
             4.3.2 If this is not possible, attendance may be through an audio link or by electronic means as referred to in Regulation 5(6)(c) of the regulations.
             4.3.3 Remote access for members of the public and Members, who are not attending to participate in the meeting, including the press, will be provided through webcasting, live audio streaming, or other means.

3A  Remote Access to Meetings

 

(a)    For all purposes of the Constitution the term “meeting” is not limited in meaning to a meeting of persons all of whom, or any of whom, are present in the same place, for which purposes any reference to:

 

(i)     “place” is to be interpreted as where a meeting is held, or to be held, includes reference to more than one place including electronic, digital or virtual locations such as internet locations, web addresses or conference call telephone numbers: and

 

(ii)     “open to the public” includes access to the meeting being through remote means including (but not limited to) video conferencing, live webcast, and live interactive streaming and where a meeting is accessible to the public through such remote means the meeting is open to the public whether or not members of the public are able to attend the meeting in person; and

 

(b)    If the Chair is made aware that the meeting is not accessible to the public through remote means, due to any technological or other failure of provision, then the Chair shall adjourn the meeting immediately. If the provision of access through remote means cannot be restored within a reasonable period, then the remaining business will be considered at a time and date fixed by the Chair. If the Chair does not fix a date, the remaining business will be considered at the next ordinary meeting.

 

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Standing Order 5 (notice and summons to meeting) and Access to Information Procedure Rule 2 (rights to attend meetings).

4.4        Management of Remote Meetings for Members

             4.4.1 The Chair or Democratic Services Officer will normally confirm at the outset of each meeting and at any reconvening of a committee or cabinet meeting that they can see and hear all participating members. The attendance of those members at the meeting will be recorded by the Democratic Services Officer within the minutes of the meeting.
             4.4.2 The normal quorum requirements for meetings as set out in the Gloucestershire County Council’s Constitution will also apply to a remote meeting. Members participating remotely will be included when calculating the quorum of the meeting. Accordingly, there will not be a requirement for a quorum of members to be physically present at Shire Hall, Gloucester or any other physical location at which a meeting is being held.
              4.4.3 The Democratic Services Officer will inform the Chair immediately in the event of any apparent failure of the video, telephone or conferencing connection. The Chair should immediately determine if the meeting is still quorate:

  • if it is, then the business of the meeting may continue at the discretion of the chair; or
  • if there is no quorum, then the meeting shall adjourn for a period specified by the Chair, expected to be no more than ten or fifteen minutes, to allow the connection to be re-established.

               4.4.4 In the event of a connection failure, the remote Member(s) will be deemed to have left the meeting at the point of failure and if the connection cannot be re-established to those Member(s) before the end of the meeting, then the meeting may continue at the discretion of the chair to deal with the item/s so long as it remains quorate.
               4.4.5 If the connection is successfully re-established, then the remote Member(s) will be deemed to have returned at the point of re-establishment.
               4.4.6 If a connection to a Member is lost during a regulatory meeting, the Chair will stop the meeting to enable the connection to be If the connection cannot be restored within a reasonable time, the meeting may proceed, but the Member who was disconnected will not be able to vote on the matter under discussion as they would not have heard all the facts.

4A        Members in Remote Attendance

 

(a)           A Member in remote attendance is present and attends the meeting, including for the purposes of the meeting’s quorum, if at any time all three of the following conditions are satisfied, those conditions being that the Member in remote attendance is able at that time:

 

(i)      to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, the other Members in attendance.

 

(ii)     to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, any members of the public entitled to attend the meeting in order to exercise a right to speak at the meeting; and

 

(iii)    to be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by any other members of the public attending the meeting.

 

(b)           A Member in remote attendance will be deemed to have left the meeting where, at any point in time during the meeting, any of the conditions for remote attendance contained in (a) above are not met. In such circumstance the Chair may, as they deem appropriate;

 

(i)      adjourn the meeting for a short period to permit the conditions for remote attendance of a Member contained in (a) above to be re- established;

(ii)     count the number of Members in attendance for the purposes of the quorum; or

 

(iii)    continue to transact the remaining business of the meeting in the absence of the Member in remote attendance.

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Procedural Standing Order  7 (quorum)

 

4.5       Remote Attendance of the Public

            4.5.1 Members of the public attending a meeting remotely must, likewise, when they are speaking be able to be heard (and ideally be seen) by all other Members in attendance, and the remote participant must, in turn, be able to hear (and ideally see) those other members participating be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by any other members of the public attending the meeting.
            4.5.2 The Council’s Protocol on Public Address at Planning Committee shall continue to have effect. However, any person who the Council has accepted as being registered to speak will be asked to provide the Democratic Services Officer with a copy of their speech at least 24 hours prior to the Planning Committee to aid the management of the meeting. It should be noted that the usual speaking limits set out in the Protocol on Public Address at Planning Committee shall continue to have effect at the meeting.
            4.5.3 The Democratic Services Officer will mute the member of the public once they have spoken on the instruction of the Chair, in order to maintain the good administration of the meeting or to retain order.

5A     Remote Attendance by Members of the Public

 

(a)   A member of the public entitled to attend the meeting in order to exercise a right to speak at the meeting is in remote attendance at any time if all three of the following conditions are satisfied, those conditions being that the member of the public in remote attendance is able at that time

 

(i)        to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, Members in attendance

 

(ii)       to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, any other members of the public entitled to attend the meeting in order to exercise a right to speak at the meeting; and

 

(iii)     to be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by any other members of the public attending the meeting.

 

(b)   A member of the public in remote attendance will be deemed to have left the meeting where, at any point in time during the meeting, any of the conditions for remote attendance contained in Standing Order 5A(a) above are not met. In such circumstance the Chair may, as he or she deems appropriate:

 

(i)        adjourn the meeting for a short period to permit the conditions for remote attendance contained in Standing Order 5A(a) above to be re-established;

 

(ii)       suspend consideration of the item of business in relation to the member of public’s attendance until such time as a following item of business on the agenda has been transacted and the conditions for the member of the public’s remote attendance have been re-established or, on confirmation that this cannot be done, before the end of the meeting, whichever is the earliest; or

 

(iii)     continue to transact the remaining business of the meeting in the absence of the member of the public in remote attendance.

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Procedural Standing Order 8 (questions by the public), Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Protocol on Public Address at Planning Committee and

Cabinet Procedure Rule 9

 

 

4.6       Meeting Procedures

            4.6.1 When the Chair is satisfied that there has been sufficient debate and (if the rules of the meeting require) there is a proposer and seconder for the item being discussed the Chair will progress to making a Unless a Recorded Vote is called, the method of voting will be at the Chair’s discretion and will be by one of the following methods:
            4.6.2 The Democratic Services will call out the name of each member present with:
                      4.6.2.1 members stating ‘for’, ‘against’, or ‘abstain’ to indicate their vote when their name is called, the Democratic Services Officer clearly stating the result of the vote and the Chair then moving onto the next agenda item; or,
                      4.6.2.2 by the general assent of the meeting.

            4.6.3 Where a Recorded Vote is requested in accordance with Gloucestershire County Council’s Constitution the Chair will ask members in turn to signify verbally whether or not they support that request.

6A  Remote Voting

 

Unless a recorded vote is demanded in accordance with Gloucestershire County Council’s Constitution, which may be confirmed by the requisite number of Members confirming the demand verbally when requested by the Chair, the Chair will take the vote:

 

(a)   by the affirmation of the meeting if there is no dissent  (by assent); or

(b)   the Chair will take the vote by roll-call and the number of votes for or against the motion or amendment or abstaining from voting will be recorded.

 

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s  Procedural Standing Oder 14 (voting)

 

4.7       Declaration of Interests

            4.7.1 Any Member participating in a remote meeting who declares a disclosable pecuniary interest, or other declarable interest, in any item of business that would normally require them to leave the room, must also leave the remote Their departure will be confirmed by the Democratic Services Officer, who will invite the relevant Member to re-join the meeting at the appropriate time.
            4.7.2 It will assist the meeting if, whenever possible, members would provide advance notice of any intention to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest or other declarable interest to the Monitoring Officer to enable preparations to be made to sever the remote meeting for the particular member at the appropriate time.

7A  Members excluded from the meeting

 

Where a Member is required to leave the meeting, the means of remote attendance and access is to be severed whilst any discussion or vote takes place in respect of the item or items of business which the member or co-opted member may not participate.

Amends Gloucestershire County Council’s Constitution in relation to  Members Code of Conduct

4.8       Exclusion of Public and Press

            4.8.1  There are times when council meetings are not open to the public, when confidential, or “exempt” issues (as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972) are under consideration.  The Democratic Services Officer  will ensure that there are no members of the public in remote attendance or remotely accessing the meeting are able to hear or see the proceedings once the exclusion has been agreed by the meeting.
            4.8.2 Each Member in remote attendance must ensure there are no other persons present who are not entitled to be (either hearing or seeing) consideration of such items, and / or recording the proceedings.

4.9       Public Access to Meeting Documentation following the meeting

            4.9.1 Members of the public may access minutes, decision and other relevant documents through the Council’s website. The definition of access to information and available to the public is the same as at Rule 2A above.

Page updated: 12/10/2020 Page updated by: Gloucestershire County Council

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