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Public Participation

You are able to address, comment, ask questions or submit a petition at meetings of the cabinet, the council and its committees (excluding the Planning Committee and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as they have their own arrangements for consulting with the public) prior to the passing of a resolution to exclude the public.

Important Information about Virtual Meetings

Please note the public cannot physically “attend” a Virtual Meeting. However any member of the press and public may listen-in to proceedings at this ‘virtual’ meeting via a weblink which will be publicised on the homepage of our website at least 24 hours before the meeting. Members of the press and public may tweet, blog etc. during the live broadcast as they would be able to during a regular meeting at the Civic Centre. It is important, however, that Councillors can discuss and take decisions without disruption, so the only participants in this Virtual Meeting will be the Councillors concerned, the Officers advising the meeting, and the Officers designated to address the meeting on behalf of any members of the public who have registered in advance to ‘speak’ on the items to be considered. This will take the place of the usual procedure for public speaking at the Council’s regular meetings at the Civic Centre. In order to register for this, written notice must be given using our online form or by email to membersservices@ashford.gov.uk by 10am two working days before the meeting.

Summary of the Scheme of Public Participation for Virtual Meetings (VMs)

The public cannot physically “attend” a VM.

H.M. Government has recently changed the public’s legal right to attend meetings into a right to hear, by means of technology, the Councillors attending the VM remotely.

Written notice of a wish to speak (by means of the procedure below) at a VM must be given, either to membersservices@ashford.gov.uk or using our online form by 10:00 hours two working days before the VM.

Those registered to speak must membersservices@ashford.gov.uk by 10:00 hours on the day of the VM, a copy of their speech in written, legible English. It should be no longer than 400 words, on a single side of A4 paper, printed in 12-point non-italic sans serif font (e.g. Arial). Any text above 400 words will not be read out.

Speeches received as above will be read to the VM by a competent Officer for and on behalf of the speakers, at the normal times and in the normal order during the VM (subject to the Chairman’s normal discretion).

Important

An Officer reading any speech on behalf of any speaker shall have discretion to omit/edit out any inappropriate language, information or statements.

If any defamation, insult, personal or confidential information, etc. is contained in any speech received from any speaker, and/or is read to the VM by an Officer, each speaker accepts by submitting their speech to be fully responsible for all consequences thereof and to indemnify the Officer and the Council accordingly.

Requirements

  • You must give written notice to the Member Services Department by 10am two working days before the meeting date (i.e. 10am Tuesday for a meeting on Thursday);
  • You must live or work in the borough;
  • Normally no more than three speakers per Agenda Item will be allowed.

What will happen at the meeting?

• Your address, comments or question must relate to an item on the meeting agenda and will be limited to three minutes
• In exceptional cases (relating to matters on which the cabinet, the council or its committees are required to act in a quasi judicial manner) it will not be possible to allow an address, make comments or ask questions
• The Mayor (or chairman) has overall responsibility for the smooth running of the meeting and has the final decision on procedural matters

More information on speaking at a public meeting or submitting a petition can be found at the following links:

Filming and recording of council meetings

You are able to film, audio record and take photographs of council meetings following publication of 'The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014'. The council has issued guidance on filming and recording at public meetings.

Councillor complaints

If you wish to question or comment upon the conduct of individual officers or procedural matters, this should be done through the council's complaints procedure. If you wish to complain about an elected councillor this should be done through the councillor complaints procedure.

Where can I find out dates of meetings?

View a list of upcoming meetings.

Contact Member Services on 01233 330564, email the Member Services Team or write to us at:

Member Services
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent TN23 1PL

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure which meeting your comments should be addressed to.

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