Update on St Helen Without Parish Council arrangements for conducting business during the current CoVid 19 pandemic.
Owing to the sudden escalation of ‘lockdown’ measures in early March, our meeting scheduled for the 20th of that month did not take place. Following advice from the National Association of Local Councils (in the absence of any definitive advice from national government) the motion to devolve executive power, pro-tem, to the Clerk, Chair, Vice Chair and two other councillors, (Councillors Talbot and Parkin). Again, on the advice of the National Association of Local Councils a process was established for urgent business to be conducted by email with all councillors participating. Thankfully there has been little need for the executive group to make decisions and those that have been made will be reviewed at our first ‘virtual’ meeting 0n 29th June 2020.
In April the Corona Virus Regulations 2020 were introduced, which set out a framework for the conduct of local government business, including Parish Councils. The requirements that all meetings should be held in person, be accessible to the public and held at a specified time and location were suspended. The requirement for Annual Parish Meetings (APM) this year was withdrawn. Provision was made for office holders, usually voted into post during the APM, to continue in their roles until May 2021 (the date of the next APM). Councils were required to formulate an approach to conducting their business ‘virtually’ that would also ensure public scrutiny of their business.
Your Council has decided to use the ‘Zoom’ platform. We are currently undertaking trials to ensure that all councillors are comfortable with the technology and new procedures involved. We have decided to resume our normal 6 weekly meeting cycle with effect from our June meeting (a full list of dates is provided below). Arrangements for the publication of agendas and minutes remain the same. All meetings will be recorded and these will be retained for an, as yet unspecified, period. Access to meetings will be available to the public by means of a meeting identification number and password which will either be available upon request from the Clerk or published in the Agenda (we are awaiting clarification as to the most secure approach). Members of the public will have 5 minutes to address the council under the appropriate agenda item. They are then welcome to observe/listen to the rest of the meeting.
We continue to respond to planning applications on your behalf and remain busy co-ordinating support to the vulnerable amongst our residents with the County and District Councils and local volunteers.
*St Helen Without Parish Council Meetings 2020
Monday 29th June
Monday 3rd August
Monday 14th September
Monday 19th October
Monday 7th December
As public meetings in enclosed spaces are currently prohibited under the ‘Coronavirus Regulations’ all meetings of St Helens Without Parish Council will, until further notice, be held ‘virtually’ online using the Zoom platform. To meet our legal obligations surrounding public accessibility to these meetings and in view of this Council’s desire that its work be open to public scrutiny, anyone wishing to can participate in or observe the meeting. Anyone wishing to address the Council will be given three minutes in the part of the meeting set aside for the public. They may then observe the rest of the meeting (other than items which, for legal reasons may have to be held ‘in camera’) but will not be able to speak other than at the express request of the Chair.
Anyone wishing to join the meeting should obtain the access details from our Clerk by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 01865 321555.