From May 7, all council meetings across England will be required to hold meetings face to face rather than virtually, thanks to a decision made by High Court.
Councils will need to conduct meetings inside buildings, such as Lincoln Cathedral’s Chapter House and inside City Hall.
Many Lincolnshire County Councillors have different opinions on this ruling.
Labour County Councillor Robert Bernard Parker, (Carholme) said: “I agree. It is a good decision. It is right. I believe actual decision making should be done face to face.”
Some council members are unhappy because they believe virtual meetings were more convenient.
Conservative County Councillor Susan Woolley (Bourne North and Morton) said: “I felt it was a disappointing outcome although I completely accept that it was a point of law.
“From a very personal point of view as a councillor, I have found the opportunity to use remote working has meant that not only does it make it more democratic since more members of the public can look online and watch what’s going on and is so much easier for them. It’s a much more cost effect way of involving members of the public. not only is there less travelling, there are less diesel fumes going into the atmosphere.”
Today’s local elections will also bring a lot of change to many councils In Lincolnshire.
Some councils are holding back on making any plans until there is more clarification and detail from the government.
In a statement, Debbie Barnes, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The council has been waiting for a ruling on this matter to help us with plans for our first formal meeting of the new council on 21 May.
“Following the latest guidance, we will be exploring a number of options, including current and alternative venues, to ensure this meeting is suitable and safe for all who attend.
“We want to speak to the new group leaders on this matter following the elections, which will decide the best way forward for this and future council meetings. We’re also expecting more clarity from government over the next few days over rules regarding public attendance and viewing of meetings.”
The City of Lincoln Council is expected to conduct its annual general meeting on May 18 and will be using Lincoln Cathedral’s Chapter House.
For more information on Lincolnshire County Council, click here.
For more information on The City of Lincoln Council, click here.
Featured image credit: Ian Carrington.