Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Good old days: while public gatherings remain banned, council meetings will take place on a virtual basis. From a meeting of the full council in February 2019.

Virtual council meetings start this week!

Council meetings are about to resume, but on a virtual basis while live public gatherings remain forbidden. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings Borough Council invites the public to attend its meetings which are about to resume after a two-month break on a virtual basis.

The first of the online meetings will be the Environment and Safety Committee on Thursday 28 May, to be followed by meetings of the Planning Committee on Wednesday 3 and Wednesday 17 June. There will also be a Cabinet meeting on Monday June 8.

In April the government gave local authorities permission to hold meetings in this way because of the Covid-19 crisis. Since then the council has been working hard to make virtual council meetings possible, it says.

“We have been sorting out the technology required to allow our meetings to be held virtually and officers are working hard to set up all the necessary IT equipment with councillors,” said council leader Kim Forward. “This is an example of the way the council has been adapting since the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Emergency powers

In response to the government’s guidelines on social distancing, the council has not held public meetings since full council on 18 March. Instead several decisions have been taken by the newly appointed managing director Jane Hartnell under emergency powers arranged at that meeting.

“Virtual meetings will allow councillors to make important decisions without having to meet in person, so helping to keep our town safe,” said Cllr Judy Rogers, lead member for Transformation, Governance and People. “I hope that people will join us via the link we will provide and watch the meetings live from their homes.”

Link to virtual meeting broadcast

A link to virtual meetings can be found on the HBC homepage in announcement 4 of 4 among the rotating banners just below the ‘Important News’ at the top of the page.

When the live stream of a meeting ends, it will be replaced by a recording.

On 23 March, when the Cabinet would have met, the managing director issued a number of decisions after consulting members of the committee, extending the selective licensing scheme for privately owned properties in a number of wards, approving the council’s climate change strategy and action plan and deciding the preferred route for energy procurement.

Once council meetings resume, however, decision-making will revert to committee members.

Members of the public will be able to watch council meetings via a link which will be posted on the HBC homepage shortly before the meeting.

Any further updates will be posted on the HBC website, as well as on its Facebook and Twitter pages.


Posted 12:28 Monday, May 25, 2020 In: Local Government

1 Comment

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  1. Penny Beale

    What does “Transformation, Governance and People” mean and cover in relation to local government?

    Comment by Penny Beale — Thursday, May 28, 2020 @ 08:02

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