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Council meetings to take place virtually from June

remote meeting graphicMeetings of Tamworth Borough Council will begin in their new virtual format this month, starting with Planning Committee on Tuesday, June 9.

New regulations introduced as part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 means councillors are now allowed to ‘meet’ remotely to enable vital decision-making processes to continue in a safe way during the pandemic.

Preparations have been made for committee and council meetings to be held virtually and streamed online. The format will replicate physical meetings as much as possible, with members of the public able to ‘attend’, ask questions (this needs to be requested in advance) and experience democracy in action.

Meetings will be hosted on Microsoft Teams Live Events and can be accessed from a web browser on a desktop or mobile device, via a web link which will be made available on our website, at least 24 hours before remote meetings are due to start.

Participants do not need to have Microsoft Teams in order to ‘view’ the meeting and can join via their web browser. However, downloading the Teams app is free and improves the experience.  Please note Microsoft Teams is needed for those who need to actively participate (i.e speak) at a meeting.

Full instructions for attending a meeting can be found at www.tamworth.gov.uk/covid-19-remote-meetings.

Links to individual meetings will be published on the meeting agenda pages.

Members of the public are able to attend the meeting anonymously and will be able to hear all the proceedings. In addition, the chairperson will be visible on camera.

Questions from residents can still be submitted to regular Council and Cabinet meetings in line with the previous arrangements and people can either address the meeting live, or request to have their questions read out on their behalf.

For more information on submitting questions, please visit our Meetings FAQs page.

Requests from members of the public to speak in support of, or against planning applications follow a different process and in the first instance contact should be made with the planning team.

After Planning Committee on June 9th, the first virtual meeting of all councillors is scheduled for June 16 and will include the annual tradition of Mayor Making. This will see voting take place to choose a new mayor and the virtual ceremonial ‘handing over’ of the mayoralty.

Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “Public meetings are a key part of our system of local democracy and must continue despite the current challenges posed by the coronavirus. The Government recently introduced new regulations as part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 which made it possible for meetings to be held remotely for the first time.

“Since then, teams at the council have been working hard with councillors to get the systems and training in place for us to be able to replicate physical meetings and live stream them to the public, in real time, just as if they were attending in person.

“While the first few meetings will undoubtedly be interesting as we all get used to the new way of working, I look forward to ‘welcoming’ members of the public to our online meetings.”