Covid-19 leads to change of rules discussion

    21/07/2020


    Virus

    Councillors in Stafford Borough will be asked next week to consider extending rules regarding attendance at meetings because of Covid-19. 

    The pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of a number of meetings since March – which has limited the ability of members to attend.

    A borough councillor is automatically disqualified from their role if they don’t attend a meeting of the authority within six months. This would then require a by-election to be held to fill the vacant position.  

    The last ‘Full Council’ meeting was held at the end of February - leaving several members at risk of losing their roles.

    Now the council is to be asked to agree to an extension of the six-month period until 31 October to allow for further meetings to be held. 

    Leader of the council, Patrick Farrington, said: “During this crisis many of our councillors from across the political spectrum have been the first port of call for vulnerable, isolated and worried residents. 

    “Some have been hands-on – for example delivering groceries and provisions – others have organised help on a range of issues or signposted residents to where they can receive support.

    “This was also against a backdrop where a number of our council members had to follow government guidance and self-isolate because they were in a high-risk category.”

    The report to the ‘extraordinary council’ next week (Tuesday 28 July) states that “most members will have needed to attend another meeting by 25th August at the latest. 

    “For those members whose meetings have not been re-instated by that time, there will not, therefore, be an opportunity for them to attend a formal meeting within six months of their last meeting.”

    The report also adds that with the virus still present there was an ongoing risk that illness may prevent a councillor attending a future meeting - even if one was arranged before 25 August.

    The full report is available at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/1920-committee-meetings

    Press Release No 5659

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