Message from Dianne Dorrell at SALC
We now have the outcome of the High Court Judgement on remote meetings which means that Town and Parish Councils may only hold remote meetings up to and including Thursday 6th May. From Friday 7th May, Councils must meet face to face. If your parish council wishes to call a remote meeting prior to the deadline, please bear in mind that Sundays and Bank Holiday cannot be included in the ‘three clear days’ but Saturdays can.
Responding to today’s judgement in the High Court on holding remote meetings, Cllr Sue Baxter, chair of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), said:
“I am extremely disappointed that the application to the High Court regarding remote meetings has been dismissed.
“All councils must now return to holding physical meetings from 7 May. This includes around 2,000 local (parish and town) councils with elections who must hold an annual meeting in May following those elections.
“Such physical meetings, to which all members of the public are entitled to attend, will result in both a health risk given the current pandemic and significant additional costs incurred by councils in securing suitable venues which allow social distancing and other safety measures.
“Over the last year, the ability to hold remote meetings has delivered extensive benefits including leading to increased participation and engagement by members of the public with their most local council and the decisions they make about their local areas from tackling climate change to improving health and well being and the provision of highly valued local services.
“Given the government’s apparent support for allowing remote meetings, including their evidence to the Court Hearing, I am appealing to ministers to pull out all the stops over the coming days and weeks to introduce the necessary primary legislation. The Scottish and Welsh Governments have already passed legislation to allow for remote meetings and I urge the Government to follow their lead.”