Now that new regulations to relax some rules around local authority meetings have come into force, Brent is to hold a number of commitee metings online, to help business carry on.
Under the changes, which are allowed by the recently passed Coronavirus Act 2020, the requirement for Brent Council to hold an annual meeting, which was scheduled for May, has been removed. Where replacement appointments would have been made at that meeting – including who will be Mayor – existing appointments will automatically be continued until the next annual meeting, although the new rules allow the council to change this at a Full Council meeting before then if it chooses.
The new rules also remove the need for councillors to be in one room, face-to-face, when making decisions. This will allow for meetings to be held remotely and the council will be putting new protocols and a suitable video conferencing system in place, enabling members of the press and the public to attend and where they have a right to do so, take part.
All papers for these meetings will be available online, and there is no longer a requirement to make printed copies available.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “At a time when there is so much disruption to all our lives, councils like Brent have been asking for these changes and I am sure that they will help us to continue to keep the show on the road and carry out more of the council’s business as usual, in a way that is safe for everyone.
“We’re putting in place a video conferencing facility and protocols that will continue to ensure a robust decision-making process with appropriate public participation to avoid delays on important decisions being taken.
“Ensuring that decisions can still be made is something to be welcomed, as this will help ease any delays to projects, schemes and the wider impact on our local economy as we come out on the other side of the pandemic.”
The next Planning Committee has been rescheduled from 15 April to 6 May.