The leaders of the three main groups on Stafford Borough Council have come together to ensure council business can continue in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of the Borough Council, invited his fellow group leaders to discuss future meetings of the council following recent government advice.
Following the discussions it was decided that:
- All scheduled council meetings are to be cancelled until September - this also includes the annual meeting where a new Mayor is elected.
- Cabinet to discuss issues that would have normally gone to council
- Opposition leaders could be invited to attend cabinet meetings
- Some meetings could be held via video link if necessary
Although if a decision was urgently required the authority would look to convene an emergency meeting.
The changes are being introduced to reduce unnecessary face to face contact in line with national guidelines.
The Council has 40 Members – consisting of 22 Conservatives, 10 Labour, five Borough Independents, two independents and a Green Party councillor.
The move would mean the current Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Gareth Jones, staying in post until September.
Councillor Farrington said: “These are unprecedented times and, in such times, it requires community leaders to take the initiative to ensure the democratic process is upheld.”
“The health and wellbeing of all of us, family, friends and the wider community are paramount. We know people are worried and the council is working with our partners in the health service and other key services to do what we can to help.”
He continued: “We have a very good working relationship with councillors and officers at this authority and I am pleased we were able to come together, along with our Chief Executive Tim Clegg, to discuss how we were going to take things forward for the foreseeable future.”
Labour group leader, Aidan Godfrey and Rob Kenney, leader of the Borough Independents attended the meeting on Wednesday (18 March).
Cllr Farrington, continued: “I’m grateful to Aidan and Rob for their constructive input and desire to make this work.”
The mayor-elect, Tony Nixon, is expected to be sworn into office on Tuesday 1 September. It is anticipated that councillors will also discuss who will represent the authority on a number of community organisations.
For businesses support information www.staffordbc.gov.uk/business-support-coronavirus
Press Release 5614