Councillors on Harrogate Borough Council’s executive – the cabinet – will meet remotely for the first time next week (Wednesday 6 May).
Meetings of committees, council and cabinet have been suspended since the government’s stay at home instructions were introduced in March.
This is because of laws which said meetings at which decisions are made, and votes taken, had to happen face to face with elected members all at the same location.
However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has changed legislation to allow remote meetings to take place.
The council’s ICT team has been testing a number of technology solutions while the amended laws were brought forward.
The cabinet meeting will go ahead using Microsoft’s Teams software and will be combined with a basic live stream, so the meeting can be followed via the HBC YouTube channel.
Cabinet starts at 5.30pm with the stream available a few minutes beforehand.
The agenda items will be published on the council’s website today (28 April).
Graham Swift, cabinet member with responsibility for democratic services, said:
We have managed to conduct business continuously throughout the pandemic but larger decision making that engages council, cabinet or committee had to be postponed.
However, now that government has introduced new legislation to permit remote meetings, we can get back to conducting our committee decisions collectively, and in public.
I am grateful to our democratic services and ICT teams for the work they’ve done to make this happen.
So many HBC staff had had to adapt to new working practices to ensure services are delivered and they have responded with great enthusiasm.