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Online council meetings help transparency and scrutiny

Online council meetings help transparency and scrutiny

Person online meeting

Despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and the continuing need for social distancing, Ealing Council is committed to ensuring that its business continues to be open and transparent. This includes holding online council meetings to allow members of the public to be involved.

The council is using Microsoft Teams Live Events to hold virtual committee meetings. This means it is easier than ever to watch or have your say at an Ealing Council committee meeting, and for decisions to remain open to scrutiny.

What meetings are there?

During the emergency period, the council will not be able to run its full meeting schedule as planned. However, full information and updates on the schedule of meetings being held can be found on the council’s online calendar of meetings. This includes cabinet meetings, planning application sessions and scrutiny committees – including those focusing upon how the council responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously announced, residents now have more time to have their say on planning applications. In addition, digital technology is now used at planning committees – enabling the public to watch in real time.

How to watch online council meetings live

 Joining a meeting is straightforward: 

  1. Find the meeting you are interested in on the council’s website by following this link to the council’s meetings calendar.
  2. Go to the meeting you are interested in by clicking on the relevant date in the calendar; the meeting agenda should be visible. Please note that agendas are published five clear working days before the meeting. If an agenda for a meeting has not yet been published, a link to watch the meeting will not yet be available.
  3. The link to view the meeting will be clearly displayed under the heading ‘Virtual meeting – link to view’
  4. Click on the virtual meeting link at the relevant time and follow the instructions to watch the meeting.

A recording of the meeting will be uploaded and made publicly available within 24 hours for those who are unable to watch live.

How to participate and ask a question

All official council meetings are accessible to the public to view, but for most meetings, public participation is at the discretion of the committee chairperson. If you wish to speak at a meeting, you should let the council’s democratic services team know in advance of the event so that arrangements can be made for you to take part. Please contact democraticservices@email.gov.uk no later than 5pm one working day before the meeting to request to speak at it.

Ensuring transparency will help recovery

Council leader Julian Bell said: “Recovering from the effects of COVID-19 will be a process that everyone needs to take part in, from asking how we have handled the pandemic to what lessons we have learnt and what further work needs to be done.

“Equally important will be ensuring that as much of our ‘business as usual’ work continues to be transparent and accessible to the residents and businesses of our borough.

“It is absolutely essential that committees and meetings continue, and that they are visible and accessible to all members of our community. Making sure that all council business is transparent and open to scrutiny is a vital part of ensuring our community can recover safely and grow as the lockdown period begins to lift.”

Further information on how the council will hold meetings (including technical details) is available on the Ealing Council website.