Agenda and minutes
Venue: This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location.
Contact: Clive Willoughby Tel: 01946 598328
The Chair opened the meeting and stated that it was the first ever virtual meeting of Copeland Borough Council and that it was being live streamed on the Copeland website and also being recorded.
The Chair then expressed her sincerest thanks for the hard work and dedication shown by Copeland BC staff and Members in managing the Covid crisis and the manner in which key and new services had been delivered, it was very much appreciated.
Statement by the Monitoring Officer
The Monitoring Officer advised that this meeting was being hosted remotely using conferencing software which allowed Members, officers and public attendance whilst being able to protect themselves and others, whilst observing the Government’s lockdown measures.
Members were reminded of Copeland’s virtual meeting protocol, that this was a public meeting and for the duration of the meeting there was a live visual stream. The meeting was being recorded and by being present in this meeting, Members gave their consent to being recorded.
A Roll call of all those members in attendance remotely was then taken and the Officers present were introduced.
Apologies for Absence
The Monitoring Officer stated that, by agreement with the Mayor, Group Leaders, and unaligned Members, the number of Members present at this meeting had been reduced to aid connectivity and management of the meeting.
For the purposes of this meeting, it was proposed that Council granted a dispensation to all those Members not participating. Their non-attendance had full cross party support and their absence be accepted by Council.
Agreement to this dispensation was required by Council.
The voting that followed was assumed to be by assent, unless a member indicated through the Chair otherwise. A period of 30 secs was allowed to elapse, in order to ascertain consideration and assent by Members.
No indication to the contrary was received and it was
RESOLVED: that a dispensation be granted to all those Members not participating in this meeting.
The Monitoring Officer then stated that she would like to propose a further dispensation for a non-qualifying period of Member non-attendance between 28th February 2020 to 20th May 2020, inclusive.
The impact of Covid-19 had caused the Council to suspend the current Council calendar of meetings as agreed at the AGM in May 2019.
The recent changes to regulations had enabled virtual meetings to be held going forwards to ensure our democratic process was upheld and the Council was able to get on with the important task of delivering the best service possible to Copeland residents, businesses and communities.
Ordinarily, if a member failed to attend a meeting for six months, he/she was automatically disqualified. This was unless the Council gave a dispensation from having to attend meetings prior to the end of the six month period.
At the next Council meeting scheduled for 21st May 2020, it is intended to recommend to Council that all members are granted a dispensation in respect of the period 28th February 2020 to the 20th May 2020. In other words, the requirement to attend a meeting is suspended during that period, and this would become a non-qualifying period for non-attendance.
Declarations of Interest in Agenda Items
There were no declarations of interest made at this meeting.
Consideration was given to a report dealing with a number of issues caused by the restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19. The Council needed to continue to operate effectively and lawful decisions were still required to be made. The Government, through the issue of new regulations, had permitted local authorities to hold virtual/remote meetings and this report set out a number of amendments to the Council’s Constitution to facilitate this.
Councillor David Moore moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor Doug Wilson.
Councillor John Kane then asked the following question:
“These virtual meetings could run to May 2021 and beyond. Are we going to review the need in line with government guide lines and will we amend accordingly?”
In reply, the Monitoring Officer stated that the standing order itself was under governance of legal regulation. Several references were made in the report to Council and the standing order itself to say that this new chapter was only drawn up in response to regulation and had a current end date of 7th May 2021. Any change to Government regulation in the interim period would be monitored, and if required, captured as an amendment to our standing order prior to 7th May 2021.
Furthermore Standing Order 20.15 is the required delegation to allow changes during the timeframe that the standing order is scheduled to be in force for.
A vote was then taken by way of a roll call.
The result was 12 For the motion, 0 Against and 0 Abstentions, it was therefore
RESOLVED: that the proposed Chapter 20, as set out in Appendix A to the agenda report, be approved and form part of the Council’s Constitution for the period from the 5th May 2020 until the 7th May 2021.
Date and Time of the Next Meeting
The Chair advised that the next meeting would be the Annual Meeting on Thursday 21st May 2020 at 2:00pm. This would be followed immediately by an Extra-Ordinary Council meeting. Both would be virtual meetings.
Before closing the meeting, the Chair reminded Members that Friday
8th May 2020 would be the 75th anniversary of VE Day.</AI5>