Council plans ‘virtual’ meetings during coronavirus lockdown

Councils can make decisions using “virtual” or “remote” meetings thanks to a temporary change in the law.

The council held its first “virtual” meeting on Tuesday 31 March to allocate emergency powers to staff under the Coronavirus Act

New laws take effect tomorrow (Saturday 4 April) allowing councils in England to hold meetings using video or telephone conferencing technology.

Brighton and Hove City Council tested its technology on Tuesday (31 March) when members of the Policy and Resources Urgency Sub-Committee agreed emergency funding worth more than £100 million.

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Labour council leader Nancy Platts joined the Green finance lead David Gibson and his Conservative counterpart Joe Miller for a webcast video call with executive directors.

On Wednesday 18 March the council cancelled a number of meetings over the coming months because of the coronavirus.

Remote meetings will now allow councillors to reach decisions without having to turn up in person at the town hall during the coronavirus lockdown.

A review is currently taking place to work out what decisions need to be made and which meetings need to take place.

Webcasting is likely to be used to allow the public to see and hear the proceedings.

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