How to join in Parish Council meetings

As part of the Covid legislation, parish councils were allowed to hold meetings by videoconference until next May but are expected to broadcast the proceedings to the public. Castlethorpe Parish Council has met by videoconference since April and broadcast onto the village Facebook page, apart from a technical problem in June. There will also be a YouTube broadcast in the name of my parish council account “Philip Ayles”.

The Parish Council has decided to continue to hold meetings by Zoom videoconference until we feel safe to meet physically (a couple of us are over 70) while this is allowed as it seems to be working well. One of the benefits of broadcasting the meetings is that there has been a significant increase in public ‘attendance’. Normally, we have only a handful of attendees, unless there is a major issue, whereas we have typically been getting about 20 viewers which is good news for local democracy.

There is an Open Forum preceding the Parish Council Meeting for members of the public to ask questions of the council normally for up to 15 minutes.
Questions have been invited by means of email or letter to the Clerk or any Councillor.

We haven’t received any questions, though we got very few when we met at the hall either. So, to encourage participation:
● From the next meeting on 3rd August, residents will be invited to join the Open Forum if they wish to ask a question. They will be admitted via a “waiting room” and asked to leave the videoconference when the council meeting starts – they can then view it using Facebook or YouTube.
● Alternatively, the Facebook feed will be monitored if you would like to put a written question in the comments section and this will be read out during the Open Forum. Please make sure the question is submitted before or during the Forum. The Facebook stream is opened 5 minutes before the meeting starts.
● Of course, the original method of writing to the Clerk or a Councillor beforehand can also be used.

Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council