Leeds council decision-making meetings to restart next week

Leeds City Council has announced it will restart its decision-making meetings, more than a week after the Government gave local authorities powers to hold them remotely.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 5:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 5:08 pm

The law currently states councillors had to be in the same room in order to attend official council meetings in public, but this is not currently possible due to coronavirus distancing restrictions.

This meant Leeds City Council had to delegate some decisions to be made by unelected council officers, while other decisions had to be put on hold to be made at a later date.

However, the Government announced on April 3 it would allow councils to hold meetings remotely via video or telephone link. Despite remaining silent on plans last week, Leeds City Council has today announced it will broadcast the next meeting of its decision-making executive board online on Wednesday April 22.

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Leeds City Council will hold meetings once more.

The authority added it would make details of how members of the public can watch the meeting online in the coming days.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Leeds City Council has undertaken significant work to deliver council services as effectively as possible, whilst following government guidance on social distancing.

“More than half of our 14,000 staff are now working securely from home and we are continuing to explore the best way of conducting a wide range of public council meetings remotely, reliably and safely.

“We are looking forward to holding the next meeting of the council’s Executive Board online and we will share more information about how residents can virtually attend this meeting over the coming days.”

A statement earlier this month from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “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 effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive.

“Meetings will remain accessible whilst ensuring that councillors, staff and the wider public are able to follow government advice by staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus to protect the NHS and save lives.”