How to have your say at a council meeting
Who can speak at a meeting?
As long as you have given notice of your intention to speak, you may have your say at ordinary meetings of the council and its committees. The only meetings where this doesn't happen is the annual meeting and sub-committee meetings. Dates of all meetings can be found on our calendar page.
Special arrangements apply for planning applications at the Development Control Committee - see the 'Have your say about planning applications' page.
At the start of ordinary meetings, you and other members of the public have 15 minutes to speak, present a petition or ask a question.
Where several people want to speak on the same issue, they will be asked to choose one spokesperson to represent them. Requests will otherwise be dealt with on a "first to ask, first served" basis.
Up to three members of the public will be allowed to speak on each item. This is one to speak on behalf of the parish/town council, one on behalf of objectors and one on behalf of supporters.
Please be aware that you may sometimes be asked to leave the meeting if something confidential is to be discussed.
How do I arrange to speak?
To speak at a council meeting, you must contact us before 5pm on the day before the meeting so we can draw up a list of speakers. You can do this using our on-line form.
Due to the way the committee system works, something might be discussed a number of times in a series of meetings before a decision is made. If this happens you will normally be expected to speak or ask a question at just one of these meetings. The council's Committee Officer can advise you about this.
At the meeting
You can speak for up to three minutes using the microphone provided, after which you will be asked to stop by the chairman. What you say must relate to the business of the meeting.
All debate and decisions are made by councillors only. You may not take part in council or committee debate; nor in voting on issues.
We ask you not to:
- Ask individual councillors or council staff direct questions
- Disclose any confidential or exempt information
- Be abusive
- Make statements of a personal or defamatory nature (which could result in legal action against you)
- Interrupt other speakers or the council debate
The chair reserves the right to ask to you to leave the meeting should you disregard any of these requests.
You may want to raise matters of concern with your local district councillor. If you are not sure who your councillor is or how to contact him/her, please see the councillors page.