Laura Sharman 19 May 2022

Councillors back move to hybrid model of council meetings

Councillors back move to hybrid model of council meetings image
Image: Cabeca de Marmore / Shutterstock.com

Over two-thirds of councillors believe a permanent move to a hybrid model of both online and in-person council meetings would improve the diversity of local councils, according to a new survey.

The research by the County Councils Network (CCN) found that 87% of councillors surveyed want their local council to be able to adopt a hybrid set up going forward.

More than seven in ten respondents said this move could attract more younger people, ethnic minorities, and women to stand in local elections.

Over two-thirds of councillors said a hybrid model would make local councils more accessible and accountable to their residents, with three-quarters saying it would cut down on their carbon footprint.

Cllr Julian German, rural spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said: 'Whilst councillors will always want the ability to meet, discuss and scrutinise in person, when reflecting on the lessons learned from the last two years, there are clear benefits to councils offering a hybrid model. There is a clear consensus that hybrid meetings could open the door to attracting a younger, more diverse set of councillors, who are able to effectively balance their councillor and caring or employment responsibilities.

'Councillors across the country are also clear such a model would also increase transparency and accountability, encouraging more residents to engage in council business, as well as providing cost and environmental benefits to the public sector. This should be viewed as a win-win scenario for government, with a hybrid model offering the best of both worlds. We urge ministers to consider including legislation to enable such a model.'

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