From 20th March 2020 ALL Parish Council Meetings have been suspended until further notice due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation.
Statement from the office of the Chairman of Sheering Parish Council – 14/04/2020
As many of you will know, April is a busy month in the Parish Council calendar, during which we normally have the Annual Parish Meeting as well as our monthly Parish Council Meeting.
I am in regular contact with our Parish Clerk, Mrs Debbie Tennant, on any issues and correspondence she receives, along with the important information that requires circulation to Councillors.
This information will continue to be circulated to Councillors by email and, in addition, information for general circulation will continue to be included on the Parish Council’s Web Site.
I also have regular communication with The Essex Association of Local Councils on legislative changes made affecting Local Councils, together with advice to them on conducting their business.
The most recent information is on conducting future meetings normally expected to be held during the current period of the lockdown.
Looking at April and the two meetings which would normally be held, I advise as follows.
Annual Parish Meeting
EALC advise that the decision has been taken that for this Council Year, there is no requirement for Councils to hold an Annual Parish Meeting within this period. Therefore, the next Annual Parish Meeting will now be held in April 2021.
As you know, this meeting includes the presentation of the Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards. The presentations of these awards will be deferred until that date
April Parish Council Meeting
On 4th April 2020, the Government brought the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority Meetings) (England) Regulations 2020, into force to allow Local Authorities to conduct meetings remotely.
There are many platforms by which meetings may be conducted in this manner and I am sure that there are positives and negatives to all.
Having considered the detail, processes and protocols required for conducting meetings in this manner, as outlined in legal advice provided by the National Association of Local Councils, Sheering Parish Council will not implement this method of conducting our meetings for reasons set out here: -
1) The implications, I believe are too great to ensure that a meeting would be conducted in accordance with normal and emergency required protocol, which would include the requirement of declaration of interests, ensuring that any Councillor who declared an interest in an agenda item, had in fact left the meeting, and the need for giving members of the Public their right of participation during the meeting time.
2) Action on any decisions agreed and taken on agenda items, would need to be deferred until current restrictions, particularly on social distancing are eased or lifted.
3) The difficulties in organising the technology and possibly equipment required and setting all Councillors up to participate, as well as any other legitimate interested parties.