Honiton Town Council virtual meeting deemed ‘invalid’ as councillors fail to meet regulations

PUBLISHED: 10:37 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:37 27 July 2020

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2179. Picture: Terry Ife

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2179. Picture: Terry Ife

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A Honiton Town Council meeting which was held over Zoom has been declared invalid and the contents must now be discussed again in the August meeting.

At the meeting on Monday, July 13, five councillors were sharing a device with the councillors taking turns to speak whilst the others remained in the garden of the property they were using.

One of the conditions set out in The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 states that all councillors must be able to hear and be heard by the other members in attendance.

As the councillors in the garden could not be heard by the councillors not in the garden, they did not meet the condition.

In a statement, deputy town clerk Heloise Marlow said: “As each councillor accessed the screen they would have become in remote attendance but as soon as they moved from the screen they ceased to be attending.

“Therefore, the councillors while sitting in the garden were not in remote attendance at the meeting, including the voting, and did not count towards the quorum.

“In addition, one other councillor could not be heard as she had omitted to plug in her microphone. As such, that councillor also did not meet the relevant condition.

“Honiton Town Council apologises for the above. The meeting on the July 13 was Honiton Town Council’s first meeting via Zoom and all members are now aware of the conditions relating to their attendance at meetings.”

The agenda of the original meeting will now be discussed at the next full council meeting on August 10.

The council is also holding an extraordinary meeting tonight (July 27) to discuss items that were held over from the July 13 meeting due to it overrunning.


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