Public Participation Notice.

A Parish Council meeting is not a public meeting, but a meeting that is held in public. All members of the public have a statutory right to attend council meetings as observers, but as part of our commitment to community engagement, we also choose to set aside time at each meeting, to hold a public forum called “questions from public”. Members of the public are welcome to attend to ask questions about agenda items or issues causing concern. Submissions (to the Parish Clerk) in advance of the meeting are welcomed so that questions can be answered more fully. Questions and comments will not be minuted unless a decision was made by the Parish Council on the subject. Items not on the agenda requiring a full discussion will be put on to the following meeting’s agenda. The conduct of this “questions from public” has to be governed by standing orders, which we ask those involved, to respect (see below). Members of the public are very welcome to stay for the remainder of the Council meeting, as observers, but they will not be able to join in any subsequent discussions. If confidential items (e.g. staffing issues) are discussed, members of the public may be excluded.

Excerpt from the Exmoor Parish Council Standing Orders Adopted May 2019

3.(d)      Meetings shall be open to the public unless their presence is prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons. The public’s exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by a resolution which shall give reasons for the public’s exclusion.                                                                                                                     

3.(e)      Members of the public may make representations, answer questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend in respect of the business on the agenda.            

3.(f)       The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) shall not exceed 15 minutes unless directed by the chairman of the meeting.                                                                                                                                                                           

3(g)       Subject to standing order 3(f), a member of the public shall not speak for more than 3 minutes.                                                                                                                                                                      

3(h)       In accordance with standing order 3(e), a question shall not require a response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question. The chairman of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.                                                                                                                      

3(i)        A person shall raise their hand when requesting to speak and stand when speaking (except when a person has a disability or is likely to suffer discomfort)]. The chairman of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking.                                                                           

3(j)        A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct his comments to the chairman of the meeting.                                                                                                                                                                      

3(k)       Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the chairman of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking.                                                            

3(l)        Subject to standing order 3(m), a person who attends a meeting is permitted to report on the meeting whilst the meeting is open to the public. To “report” means to film, photograph, make an audio recording of meeting proceedings, use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear the meeting as it takes place or later or to report or to provide oral or written commentary about the meeting so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.                                                                             

3(m)      A person present at a meeting may not provide an oral report or oral commentary about a meeting as it takes place without permission.                                                                                             

3(n)       The press shall be provided with reasonable facilities for the taking of their report of all or part of a meeting at which they are entitled to be present.