´╗┐Residents given permission to ask questions before Trafford Council meetings

Residents are to be given the opportunity to ask questions at the start of Trafford Council’s Executive and Committee meetings.

A meeting of the Full Council gave the green light to the changes in a move to support transparency, openness and public engagement.

Councillors also gave the go ahead to extend live webcasting to Executive and Committee meetings in a further move to support openness. 

The changes came in a report 'The Constitution Working Group – changes to the Council’s Constitution' and will also mean:

  • Reducing the threshold for petitions to be heard at full Council from 3,000 to 500 (300 for Executive) and to allow petitioners to address meetings of the Executive. 
  • Enabling smaller groups to submit motions for debate by reducing the number of signatories from three to two. 
  • Publishing a public summary of decisions taken by the Executive. 
  • Adding a lay member to the Audit Committee to enhance public scrutiny of financial management and governance. 

Questions must relate to the agenda, be submitted before the meeting, and must be limited to a certain length of time by the chairman of the committee. 

In terms of webcasting, confidentiality rules around Part II items will still apply and notices will be displayed to ensure members of the public are aware of the filming. 

Cllr Mike Freeman, Trafford Council Executive Member for Constitutional Reform and Resident Engagement, said:

We have taken this decision to make Trafford Council even more accessible to the people of this borough. It is all about openness and transparency. It is right that people should be given the opportunity to ask questions at the start of the Executive and Committee meetings.

Everyone has the right to ask questions to members, although we will not tolerate any malicious questioning. We are also pleased to be extending live webcasting to Executive and Committee meetings. All meetings apart from a few will be webcast on the Council’s YouTube channel going forward. This is a great way of improving transparency and public engagement. This council belongs to the people of Trafford and it is they who, ultimately, shape our views and policies.

Posted on Wednesday 5th December 2018