Local authorities will be allowed to hold public meetings remotely by video or telephone, under new powers introduced today.
The Government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the coronavirus pandemic. This will enable councils to make transparent decisions and protect local democracy.
Local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: ‘Councillors and staff are already doing the right thing by following our advice to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. This includes working from home wherever possible, and the new powers to hold meetings virtually will make that easier.
’It’s critical that they continue to provide essential services and find innovative ways to maintain important economic functions they perform like the planning system and they will now be able to do so.’
Cllr James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘Giving councils powers to hold meetings remotely is important to maintaining local democracy and allowing critical decisions to be made during this public health crisis.
‘Councils need to respond quickly and make very many key decisions. They can now do so while remaining open, transparent and accessible to the public.’