Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

Local Authority Remote Meetings: Call for Evidence

by Susan van de Ven on 2 June, 2021

All through Covid times we’ve seen much greater public participation in local government meetings, with the use of Zoom and other virtual platforms.

People attending have said that they find it convenient (they may have small children or other caring responsibilities) or cheaper (no transport costs) or just safer (don’t want to venture out on a dark night, for example). Those requiring wheelchair access have pointed out the difficulty of access of public venues they would normally have to navigate.

Whatever the reasons, it’s been evident that more people have taken part when meetings have been virtual. Now local government decision-making meetings are required to be in person again, making things difficult for those who don’t find it safe or convenient to attend. This includes parish councillors – one in my division resigned yesterday for this reason.

A government consultation on virtual meetings is now taking place and concludes June 17 – please take a moment to respond if you value the greater inclusivity of digital meetings and wish to take forward positive learning from Covid times.

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