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0 votes
We have had a request for 2 public sessions to be included within the agenda. One at the beginning for public participation and then again again at the end as public forum.
Personally I do not see the point of the later addition, as any resolutions that have been passed during the course of the meeting cannot be changed at that point, so having one session at the beginning where public queries/questions are noted regarding agenda items and possibly taken into consideration when coming to a resolution.  Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
by (180 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
It is a Parish Council meeting that is open to members of the public to attend. Most PC's allow a section of time at the meeting to allow participation by the public in matters on the agenda and allow their input prior to the agenda items being discussed by councillors. I can see no advantage to the meeting aims ( the agenda) being efficiently and concisely being concluded by having a "forum" at the end. No decisions could be achieved only councillors can make decisions based on agenda items. The public can normally field their "forum" topics to the council via the clerk or one of their councillors
by (25.8k points)
Thank you, my thoughts exactly, we have a session already at the beginning to allow public participation on agenda items so I see no value in adding one to the end as well.
0 votes
Has the person/have the persons who have made the request explained the reason for asking for it.
by (9.6k points)
This comes from an ex councillor, who claims a resolution was passed to include it on the agenda some years ago, but I cannot find any minutes that show this.
It was suggested to give another option for public to engage on items discussed and ask additional questions, but I feel its a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted as it wouldn't make any difference to the resolutions passed and could quite possibly lead to  challenges or disruption.  I don't want to dismiss completely adding a  'Public Forum' item but feel there needs to be clear guidance that this is to discuss possible options for future agendas and not to challenge resolutions.
I would respectfully suggest you should leave this decision to your members (I'm an ex clerk by the way).  Its for them to decide.

In my experience public sessions at the end of the meeting are less common and less useful but others may have had a different experience.
0 votes
Embrace it and give them what they ask for - what have you got to lose?  15minutes??

A PC that 'remembers' it is there to serve the public is always going to be better than a PC that exists to serve itself.
by (18.2k points)
I totally agree, I am just trying to make sure it is a constructive item on the agenda and doesn't end up being an opportunity to argue resolutions.
Out of interest is it another way to have members of the public come to meetings  ? And then stay to the end ? I have one PC where no members of the public turns up, a second where we have a good attendance for the whole meeting and a third where the occasional person wonders in and leaves right after the agenda item has been discussed.
On the other hand, once the meeting has officially closed what is to stop councillors from leaving? There is usually a rush for the exits once our meetings are closed:-)

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