Your council

Have your say: attend meetings

Local democracy during coronavirus

It's crucial that residents, organisations and councillors across York can engage with 'council business'. We're using safe and secure virtual meetings during coronavirus lockdown so we can move forward as a council, operating transparently and effectively to serve our residents. Read our Amendment to Standing Orders for Procedure Rules and Guidance for Remote Meetings.

With virtual meetings set to continue for the weeks and months ahead, we have updated the way the public can take part to make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to contribute during the meeting.

Members of the public can continue to register to speak on an item on the agenda or an issue and are now being asked to do so by 5pm two working days prior to the meeting taking place. This is to give sufficient time to set-up public participation for the number of people who register interest in speaking.

Requests to participate can be made by contacting Democratic Services using the contact details set out in the agenda for the meeting.

After making the request, a Democratic Services Officer will contact those who have registered to speak confirming arrangements and logistics. This includes spending time helping people feel comfortable participating in a virtual meeting.

Speakers will continue to have a maximum of three minutes to speak.

While some meetings have been cancelled, the number of remote public meetings will increase in coming weeks; dates and times will be publicised on our social media channels, with agendas published online.

We have updated our guidance on how we will deliver scrutiny during this period.

As a resident of York there may be times when you want to attend council meetings to have your say. You might want to bring a particular issue to the attention of councillors or give your views on a planning application or development.

Arrange to speak at a meeting

Anyone may attend a public council meeting to observe. If you want to speak at a meeting, contact Democratic Services by email: democratic.services@york.gov.uk by 5.00pm 2 working days before the meeting. For a Monday meeting, this would be 5.00pm on the previous Thursday. We will put you on the list of speakers and answer any questions about the process.

Requests to speak are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. As only one person is allowed to speak for or against an agenda item, groups or organisations should choose a spokesperson to represent them.

When registering, please let us know of any accessibility requirements, and we will do our best to accommodate them.

When and where meetings take place

Dates, times and agendas for meetings are available via the calendar of council meetings, at local libraries and on the West Offices notice board, usually five days before the meeting. You can also contact Democratic Services to find out when a meeting is taking place or to request an agenda.

Most council meetings take place at West Offices, although meetings of the 'full council' are held at The Guildhall.

Who usually attends meetings

The councillors who sit on a particular body will be present at meetings, one of whom chairs the meeting. Council officers may also attend meetings to give expert advice. However, they are not voting members and cannot make decisions.

What happens at meetings

The public speaking session is usually near the beginning of the meeting. When it is your turn you will be invited to address the councillors. You will have up to three minutes to speak and then the councillors may ask you some questions. You're not entitled to address the meeting other than during your three minutes and when answering questions.

If you have spoken about something on the agenda the councillors will usually discuss it and announce their decision immediately. You are free to leave the meeting when you wish.

Meetings you can't attend

Most of the council's business is conducted in public, unless it is commercially sensitive or is about an individual. The public may be asked to leave while such an item is discussed. The agenda will list any items that will be discussed in private.

Other ways to have your say

Get involved with local democracy:

Democratic Services

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 551088

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