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Procedure for public participation at council meetings

Any member of the public has the opportunity to raise issues of concern in the Lancaster district at Full Council meetings.

Who can you ask?

Provided that the required notice is given (see 'How to Register' below), a member of the public may ask questions of Members of the Cabinet, the Chair of a Committee or the Chair of an Overview and Scrutiny meeting, at ordinary meetings of the Council.

What can you ask?

You can ask any question as long as it relates to local issues and affects the Lancaster district.

What can’t you ask?

The Council's Chief Executive may reject a question if it:

  • Is not about a matter that Lancaster City Council is responsible for or doesn’t affect the district
  • Is defamatory, frivolous or offensive
  • Refers to applications for or objections to planning permission or any licence, notice or order issued, served or made by the Council
  • Is substantially the same question which has been put at a meeting of the Council in the past six months
  • Concerns confidential or exempt information

If your question is rejected you will be told of the reason why.

Addressing the Council

A resident of Lancaster City Council may present a petition or address which is relevant to matters that the City Council is responsible for or which affects the Lancaster district.

This excludes petitions regarding planning permission and any licence, notice or order issued, served or made by the Council.

How to register

If you wish to ask a question or make an address at a meeting of Council you will need to give notice. You can do this by delivering the question or address in writing or by email to the Chief Executive no later than midday, three working days before the day of the meeting.

To present a petition you must give at least seven working days' notice to the Chief Executive, at the address below, submitting the wording of the petition in writing. Please note that the petition you present at the Council meeting must be the original petition with signatures, not a photocopy.

Chief Executive
Lancaster City Council
Town Hall
Dalton Square


Each question or petition must be accompanied by the name and address of the questioner and must name the member of Cabinet or Chair to whom it is to be put.

Late requests to speak will not be considered.

If you are unable to be present at the meeting to ask your question, you may request that the Chair ask the question on your behalf. The Chair may ask the question on your behalf, indicate that a written reply will be given or decide, in your absence, that the question will not be dealt with.

At any one meeting no person may submit more than one question and no more than two questions may be asked on behalf of one organisation.

All questions received are recorded and are open to public inspection and the question is immediately sent to the member to whom it is put.

Procedure on the day of the meeting

If you are asking a question

  1. You must arrive at the meeting at least 15 minutes before the start, and make yourself known to the democratic support officer present.
  2. Questions will be asked in the order that they were received, although the Chair may group similar questions together.
  3. When it is time to ask your question, the Chair will invite you to put the question to the Councillor. There is a time limit of two minutes to ask your question.
  4. Unless the Chair decides otherwise, no discussion will take place on any question.
  5. You may also ask one supplementary question without notice to the Councillor that has answered your original question.
  6. The supplementary question also has a time limit of two minutes and must arise directly from the original question.
  7. The response to your question will have a time limit of three minutes.
  8. Some questions can not be answered during the meeting, either because of lack of time or non-attendance of the Councillor to whom the question was asked. These questions will be answered in writing.

Public question time at Full Council meetings should not exceed 30 minutes in duration.

If you are presenting a petition or address

  1. Petitions and addresses will also be presented in the order they are received.
  2. You will be given the opportunity to present your petition or address. You will have a five minute time limit to do so. You must submit a written copy of your address beforehand and your speech must reflect what you indicated you would like to speak on.
  3. Following your address/petition the appropriate Councillor will be given the opportunity to respond for no more than five minutes.
  4. Your petition/address may be referred to the next convenient meeting of the relevant Council body if deemed necessary.

Lancaster City Council welcomes members of the public to attend meetings. However, space in the public gallery is limited to 30 seats due to Fire Regulations. The seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis and no standing is permitted. If you require support in accessing the building, please contact Democratic Services on 01524 582057, or email

Last updated: 23 June 2023

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