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Public questions at meetings

Speak at public question time

Your elected councillor represents you.

If there is anything you want to tell your councillor to influence the decisions they make you can:

  • Write to your councillor
  • Talk directly to your councillor - by phone or in person
  • Speak at the beginning of most public meetings.

This page explains what you need to do if you wish to speak at a public meeting. We allocate 15 minutes at the beginning of most public meetings for you to:

  • Ask a question
  • Make a statement
  • Present a petition (containing at least 50 signatures to Council)

For most public meetings you have up to five minutes to speak. If your subject is due to be debated at the meeting, you may be asked to wait to speak just before the debate.

There are special arrangements for public speaking at Planning Committee meetings on planning applications. At these meetings each speaker is given a maximum of three minutes. This is to allow members of the public the opportunity to make their views known directly to the committee. In order to speak you must submit written representations at least 14 days prior to the Planning Committee meeting (electronic submissions are encouraged) on the relevant planning application to the Head of Development Management. 

There are two ways to make a request:

1. Print the form, request to speak at Planning Committee (PDF, 14KB), complete it and return it, through the post, to the relevant area office (addresses are on the form).

2. Contact the Development Control team to request a form to be sent to you by post. Once received and completed return to the address on the form:

You are able to speak at any of the following meetings:

  • Council 
  • Executive 
  • Appeals Committee
  • Audit and Governance Committee 
  • Highways Committee
  • Licensing Committee 
  • Planning Committee 
  • Public Rights of Way Committee
  • Staffing Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee 
  • Licensing Committee 
  • Standards Committee 
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee 
  • Every Child Matters Scrutiny Select Panel 
  • Community Services Scrutiny Select Panel
  • Corporate Scrutiny Select Panel
  • Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Select Panel 

Certain meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are dedicated to members of the public and councillors questioning and holding to account the Leader and various Executive portfolio holders.

What to do next

If possible, write or email your question, statement or petition no later than two full working days before the day of the meeting to:

If you have a disability and require assistance, please let us know so we can make necessary arrangements.

On the day

You will have been contacted with confirmation of the date, time and venue of the meeting you wish to attend. On arrival please make yourself known to the Democratic Services Officer who will explain the procedure to you.

At the appropriate point the Chairman will invite you to speak. Where appropriate, a response will be given at the meeting and you may be given the opportunity to ask a supplementary question.

If the matter is considered in your absence, you will receive a written reply the question you raise. You are reminded of the rules relating to libel and slander. You could be at risk of legal action if you say something in public about a person which is not true.

You are free to leave the meeting at any point after you have asked your question but you are welcome to stay if you wish.

You may request to have automated links to agenda papers emailed to you.

Where to find help

Democratic Services:

Overview and Scrutiny:

  • Telephone: 01244 972226

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