Public Participation in Meetings

In preparing this Protocol the Parish Council has referred to guidance published by the National Association of Local councils (NALC). 

1.  Participation in the Public Forum by members of the public

Combs Parish Council meets and makes its decisions in public and is committed to community engagement.  We therefore invite members of the public, the press, the police and county and district councillors to attend meetings and contribute within the public forum.

A council meeting is not a public meeting, it is a meeting held in public.   There is no requirement in law to provide a public forum but this council welcomes the opportunity to offer this facility.

The public are asked to respect the fact that this is a meeting to conduct council business and interruptions during council business are not permitted. If the business is disrupted in any way the person/s causing the disruption may be asked to leave.

Public participation will be for a period of fifteen minutes. Any member of the public wishing to speak should notify the Chairman prior to the start of the meeting.

The agenda will indicate when the public participation will take place. This will be early on in the agenda so that Parish Councillors may take into account any views expressed when reaching their decisions.

Public participation is only permitted regarding items already on the agenda and the matter may be addressed immediately or carried forward without discussion.

A maximum of three minutes is permitted for a member of the public to speak and only one person may speak on any agenda item. Two people may speak if opposing views are being expressed i.e. one for and one against a particular matter.

Supplementary comments or questions are solely at the discretion of the Chairman.

No question may be repeated within a 6 month period.

Guidance notes for members of the public:- Make the most of your three minutes by preparing notes carefully. If several people want to speak on the same item try to get together in advance to choose the best person to speak for you all. 

2.  Participation in Public Forum by persons other than members of the public

The Parish Council will automatically provide an opportunity via the agenda for the Police (SNT), and the County and District Councillors to attend and report to meetings and respond to any questions or queries from Councillors.  A written report may be sent if attendance in person is not possible.  At the Council’s discretion, the overall time limit on this section is thirty minutes.