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Councillor there but not there Zoom meeting

0 votes
We had a situation recently whereby a Cllr had entered the meeting room but did not communicate either verbally or through the chat forum and his camera was off throughout the whole meeting.
Should the situation occur again how would this stand regards attendance at  meetings?

Many thanks Helen
by (1.0k points)

1 Answer

0 votes
The regulations covering remote access include the following:

"5(3). Those conditions are that the member in remote attendance is able at that time--
(a) to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, the other members in attendance,
(b) to hear, and where practicable see, and be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by, any members of the public entitled to attend the meeting in order to exercise a right to speak at the meeting, and
(c) to be so heard and, where practicable, be seen by any other members of the public attending the meeting."

So the question is, what does "where practicable" mean. It must take into account the fact that some people do not have the correct IT setup to be seen, including the facility in Zoom to access a meeting by telephone. Wider interpretation obviously hasn't been tested in the courts. My advice would be to ask the councillor why it is not practicable for him to be seen. If it is a matter of personal choice, members might decide to include reference to this fact in the minutes to record the fact that there was no practicable reason for the councillor to be invisible to the meeting.
by (35.5k points)
Thanks Dave for this and info duly noted. Fyi, At the previous meeting there weren't any technical hiccups but the Cllr in question did sit with a full pint pot on view and drinking accordingly. I'm guessing this was the reason why what happened happened. Roll on May!!
Of course the acceptability of the pint pot(with or without contents or use comes under the chair's duties of control of the meeting as it would at a person to person meeting. There is no reason why councillors should not meet an acceptable level of personal conduct expected of an elected person in their position. It would be advisable that those taking part do examine their and their surroundings appearance prior to taking part in video meetings and adjust their cameras and microphones to optimum efficiency.
I have been absolutely appalled by the behaviour of some of my councillors on Zoom meetings. In many ways, I wish that I had set up a YouTube channel to broadcast them. The majority openly consume alcohol throughout the meeting and even start discussions about what they're drinking. I had a chairman watching football on TV whilst chairing a meeting. One councillor thought it would be appropriate to use a glove puppet to represent himself at a meeting. We have dogs on laps, conversations with other family members, playing with mobile phones... It's astonishing how all formality goes out of the window when we're not sitting around a table in a community centre.
So ultimately if someone has entered the meeting regardless of being seen or heard they are part of that meeting.Im guessing this could be exploited by some to get around the 6 month rule. Come on Boris!
Shame about the YouTube channel Dave that would have been must Watch TV :)
I believe there's a vote in Parliament tomorrow to decide on how we conduct our meetings beyond 6 May.
I am interested in the vote. There has been some benefits to zoom and some downsides as described above..
Yes definite benefits for those cold dark nights as for the behaviour of members enough said. Bring on mandatory training.

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