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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

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My PCs SOs on public participation read as follows

3  (E ) Members of the public may make representations, answer questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend during the time designated for public participation. In exceptional circumstances, the chair may permit further public participation.

 

 3 (F) The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) above shall not exceed 30 minutes.

 

3 (G) Subject to standing order 3(F) above, a member of the public shall not speak for more than five minutes.

 I read this as meaning if I am the only one speaking I could if needed exceed the usual 5 mins , The Clerk says no its 5 mins and thats it . Am I being thick or what . Or is it Chairman's discretion.  If I am correct what should be my next action

asked by (1.4k points)
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2 Answers

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My layman's reading of those SOs is that a member of the public can speak for no more than 5 minutes, even if they are the only person wishing to speak.
The reference "subject to SO 3(F) above" constrains the overall time allowed for speakers. So if each member of the public speaks for 5 minutes, only 6 people can speak. If each speaks for 3 minutes, then a total of 10 people can speak.
answered by (1k points)
0 votes
Public participation is to ask questions and not to spark a debate. Most of the time the public session is long enough to cover the requirements. Try sending your question in to the clerk before the meeting
answered by (4k points)
With respect Clerk Gable that does not answer my question. Public participation  can be about anything the resident wishes to say about  anything on the agenda. I don't see that it has to be in the form of  a question i.e. it can be an opinion.  If I am wrong then please correct me. I simply read the 5 mins max time as being "subject to" the overall 30 min limit and by default could be exceeded.  Either  way (and that is why as asked for opinions) it is not clear.  I therefore seek clarity
Think yourself lucky ours only get three minutes and it’s  been known for a timer to be used to cut people off they don’t like
Personally I’m ashamed at how the public are treated at Parish Council meetings
They are intended to be for raising opinions or asking questions with no obligation to answer. Five minutes should be plenty - any longer than that and you (or whoever) is probably raising multiple issues or seeking answers that should probably be an agenda item, or need further investigation.
The norm seems to be a limit of 3, 4 or 5 minutes per person, regardless of how many people wish to speak. Public participation is merely an opportunity to connect with residents before the main business of the meeting kicks off. It is never intended to be a half-hour session. There is no requirement in standing orders for the council to say or do anything in response to your comments, which can make the process completely meaningless if the council so chooses, and many do.

We also allow people to submit agenda items beforehand under a Residents' Issues item, either directly, or by contacting a member of the council who will present the item on their behalf. It works much better than the public participation at the start of the meeting, as we have time to work on items before the meeting starts and can usually resolve them with minimal debate.

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