A report in the Sunday Telegraph (14/2/21) suggests that Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP is planning to extend the right to convene remote meetings.
The regulations, introduced in August 2020, have led to an increase in engagement with the public and renewed interest in the workings of local councils. According to the report, Mr Jenrick recognises that there is an opportunity to highlight the work of parish and town councils following the now infamous meeting of Handforth Parish Council which went viral and made a star out of the main protagonist, Jackie Weaver FSLCC.
The remote meetings format has enabled a much wider cross-section of people to get involved in local democracy and is also encouraging interest in local government careers. With many local authorities holding elections in May, it is hoped that the increased awareness will see more people coming forward to stand as local councillors.
The SLCC are working closely with colleagues at the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) and Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) who, having sought legal counsel, are preparing to seek a Declaration from the courts to provide a ‘straightforward solution’ and give councils the option of holding remote meetings beyond 7 May.