B&NES Council’s cabinet will hold its first public meeting ‘virtually’ on Monday 29th May as part of its ongoing response to keeping council business running during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The council’s first virtual meeting of the Planning Committee is set to take place on Wednesday 6th May at 2pm. The agenda for the meeting and how to find public access via YouTube can be found here.
All meetings will be open to the public to watch, and the council says it is making sure that all necessary training and safeguards are in place so that all meetings will be effective.
The council has prioritised holding the most urgent meetings remotely, for example planning and licensing and it anticipates scheduling in at least two further virtual meetings in May and then additional meetings in June and onwards.
It is keeping public participation under review and assessing how members of the public and other interested parties can be involved in virtual meetings, with appropriate safeguards in place.
Councillor Dine Romero, council leader, said: “We have been working on the best and safest way of carrying out council business virtually while social distancing measures are in place and I am pleased to say our first cabinet meeting will be on May 29.
“Being able to conduct council business is a vital step towards our recovery planning and is part of our commitment to transparency and giving people a bigger say.
“While a huge amount of vital work has been done by the council to keep essential services going during this extremely challenging time, we need to use the technology available to us to resume our public meetings.
“We face a huge challenge in the scope and scale of our recovery. We have already written to all households explaining the support being provided for the vulnerable and the help for business. We have also outlined the financial impact of coronavirus.
“The extra expense and income loss added together is currently predicted to lead to a £50m shortfall in funding for council services this year.
“The overall net budget for the council to deliver all council services is £120 million.
“While we welcome the government’s announcement of funding which totals £10m for our area, it will not meet the pressures we will face and this is one of the issues we will consider in our first cabinet meeting.”