Derby City Council made history of Wednesday 22nd April by holding its first ever virtual public meeting.
With the Coronavirus crisis meaning all public meetings have been suspended since March, the council’s IT and Democratic Services teams worked together to find a solution to enable democratic decision making to continue.
On Wednesday the new Skype system was trialled at an Urgent Leader of the Council Cabinet Member meeting to consider two urgent reports, relating to improvements to schools and legal changes relating to providing adult social care during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The thirty minute meeting was broadcast live to members of the public over the internet. Participants on the call included the Leader of the Council, Cabinet Members, opposition Group Leaders and officers presenting the two reports.
With the trial deemed a success DCC will begin to set up further committee meetings, with a Council Cabinet meeting expected to be summoned for Wednesday 13th May. Details of how meetings can be viewed will be available on the DCC Democracy portal, with agendas and reports for each committee available through the meetings calendar.
Cllr Mick Barker, Cabinet Member for Governance and Licensing said:
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to host Derby City Council’s first public meeting over the internet, following a recent change in the law allowing them to take place.
“These are unprecedented times and whilst we are, quite rightly, not able to meet in person we are still required to follow our statutory responsibilities and the Council’s Constitution to make decisions democratically, whilst remaining open and transparent.
“I’m very grateful for the hard work of those involved in finding a solution for us to be able to continue to have these important discussions and make these decisions. We’re now looking to use the technology for a broader range of meetings in the coming weeks. It’s clear we’ll have to make some hard choices in the months ahead and so this allows us to do that together in the proper way with appropriate democratic scrutiny.”