The Parish Council has recently received a request for clarification on how a resident can present a petition to councillors. The following information is aimed at re-iterating and explaining the processes to follow where a resident(s) wishes to ask questions of the council, a committee, or present a petition to council. It is hoped that the information adequately explains what should happen, but if you have any further questions or wish to seek advice, please contact the Parish Clerk 01865 861992
Addressing the Council
All Parish Council meetings including all committee are open meeting. This means that members of the public and press are able to attend them. The only exception is when councillores are to discuss confidential items and when this happens there is a separate confidential agenda. Once it had been declared that the meeting is going into confidentail session then the public and press must leave.
Information for the Public
The public have no right to participate in the proceedings of the Council, unless permitted (invited) to do so by Council (the Chairman). Any agreed public participation is restricted to items of business on the agenda for that meeting.
Members of the Public are however encouraged and welcome to attend meetings, and to help create and sustain public interest in the Council's work a 10 minute period (which can in special circumstances be increased, if councillors agree) will be provided to to put relevant question(s) or to receive observations.
There will be a maximum of 5 minutes per question, which can be either spoken or written and should be relevant to the work of the Council, a committee, or an item on the agenda for that meeting. Should a delegation wish to meet the Council they should appoint a spokesperson prior to the meeting. (Please see procedures to follow below).
Procedures to Follow
You must submit your request to ask a question and details of the question in writing (by e-mail if you prefer to do this) to the Chairman of the Parish Council (See How to Contact Us), or the Parish Clerk, no later than 2.00pm on the second working day before the scheduled start time of the Council meeting. A copy of your question will be circulated to councillors in advance of the meeting so that councillors can consider it.
If your request is agreed the Chairman of the Council further copies will be made available to the public and press at the meeting. You will be invited to put your question to the council, (you will have a maximum of 5 minutes to do this), you will then receive an answer (unless further investigations are necessary). Once answered you may put a supplementary question to council provided it is directly out of the original question or answer. You cannot ask more than one question at any one meeting.
Please make yourself known to the Chairman or Clerk before the meeting.
Again, you must submit your question in writing (by e-mail if you prefer to do this) to the relevant Chairman (See Council Business), or the Parish Clerk, no later than 9.00am on the working day before the scheduled start time of the meeting. A copy of your question will be circulated to councillors in advance of the meeting so that councillors can consider it.
If the Chairman is agreeable, further copies will be made available to the public and press at the meeting. You will be invited to ask your question, (you will have a maximum of 5 minutes to do this) and you will receive an answer (unless further investigations are necessary). Once answered you may put a supplementary question to council provided it is directly out of the original question or answer. You cannot ask more than one question at any one meeting.
Please make yourself known to the Chairman or the Parish Clerk prior to the meeting.
How to Present a Petition to Council
You can present a written petition to a meeting of the council. It must relate to something which the council has responsibility. When you present your petition at a meeting of the council you will be able to address the meeting for up to three minutes to explain what the petition is about.
The written petition must reach the Parish Clerk by 9am on the working day before the meeting you wish to address.
Petitioners should elect a spokesperson who will have a maximum of 3 minutes to present the petition. Councillors will then be able to ask any questions for clarification purposes, which may be fact finding or to establish the accuracy of information contained in or driving the petition.
Following this the Chairman of the Parish Council will accept the petition and then refer it to the appropriate committee/sub committee to consider its content and make any necessary investigations or contacts to allow for a meaningful judgement of the petitions request.
Once the petition is presented it becomes a public document and anyone is entitled to view who has signed it and the reasons for doing so.
Once the relevant committee or sub-committee has completed its investigation, it will report back to council with recommendations. Details of the date and time of the reporting process will be shown on the agenda papers of the relevant Parish Council meeting and on the Parish Council web-site.
Information: Details of the information used or reasons given to petitioners which caused them to support the petition.
Other Detail: The petition to also show the name, address and include the signature of each person on the petition. Only individual signatures will be considered. Single entries purporting to represent more than one person (groups of people) will not be taken into account.
Recording of Council Meetings
New government regulations allow members of the public and press to record meetings of the council. You are welcome to record at any meeting which is open to the public. However, we ask that anyone who wishes to film, record or photograph council meetings follows these guidelines:
1. Where possible please inform us of your intention to do so. This will help us to ensure that sufficient space is made available for you in an appropriate position. You can contact the Parish Clerk on Oxford 861992.
2. Any recording is to take place from a fixed position which must be approved by the Chairman of the meeting. This is to ensure that proceedings are not disrupted and also to minimise impact on other persons wishing to observe the meeting.
3. The use of lighting or flash photography is allowed provided it does not cause unduly disruption.
4. It should be noted that the Chairman of the meeting has absolute discretion to suspend or terminate any activities that, in his or her opinion, are disruptive.
5. If you are filming a meeting only focus on those who are actively participating and be aware of the restrictions in filming minors and vulnerable people.
6. Those recording, blogging or tweeting at the meeting do not have the right to give oral reports or commentary during the meeting, unless this is done outside of the meeting room.
7. Those who have recorded all or parts of the meeting should not edit their footage in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the proceedings.