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Public speaking at Cabinet meetings

General information

The aim of this process is to allow members of the public to have a say on issues being debated by Cabinet. The Cabinet is a meeting of up to 10 councillors who are responsible for decision making in respect of all the council’s functions (unless the constitution or law has allocated them elsewhere).

Public speakers can make a statement of fact or opinion, or ask a question, but this must be relevant to items on the agenda for the meeting. You must be brief and to the point and be prepared to answer questions from Cabinet members at the meeting if necessary.

  • You are welcome to speak for up to five minutes at any of the Cabinet meetings.
  • At any one meeting there will be a maximum of 10 speakers on a first come first served basis.
  • There will be a maximum of three speakers allowed for each item of business. However, if there are less than 10 speakers in total, a maximum of four speakers will be allowed to speak on an item of business on a first come, first served basis, at the discretion of the chair.
  • You will have your opportunity to speak before Cabinet discusses each item. This means that the councillors will have heard what you have said before they make their decision.
  • You will be expected to provide a written version of your speech or question before the meeting (unless there are special circumstances). You will be contacted by Democratic Services to arrange this.
  • If you have any particular needs to allow you to take advantage of speaking at Cabinet, or questions about attending and/or speaking at meetings, please contact us in advance of the meeting.

Giving notice

If you want to speak at a Cabinet meeting you will need to give notice, by contacting us by 12 noon on the Thursday before the meeting. To register please contact:

Democratic Services
Town Hall
Dalton Square

Telephone: 01524 582047

If you wish to speak on a particular issue, you must find out the time and date that Cabinet will meet. Late requests to speak will not be considered.

Requests to speak must be made by the person intending to speak and your request must include your name, address and contact telephonenumber, together with the item on the agenda you intend to speak on. 

Any group of people with similar views should elect a spokesperson to speak on their behalf to avoid repetition of similar points. If you are a spokesperson you should identify in writing on whose behalf you are speaking as part of the registration process.

On the day of Cabinet

  • You must arrive at the meeting at least 15 minutes before the start, and make yourself known to the democratic support officer present.
  • You will be able to speak only on the issue on the agenda that you have registered for.
  • Items of the agenda upon which members of the public wish to speak will be held first.
  • You will have up to five minutes to speak and a warning will be given by the chair after four minutes.
  • Once you have spoken you are welcome to stay and hear the debate and the decision unless confidential or exempt information is to be heard when you may be asked to leave the meeting.

Order of meeting

For each agenda item the order of speaking will be as follows:

  1. The chair
  2. The Cabinet member with special responsibility
  3. Member(s) of the public
  4. Questions (if any) from Cabinet members to member(s) of the public.
  5. Response from chair or relevant Cabinet member (if required).
  6. Cabinet discussion and decision.

The chair or their nominee will answer any question asked by members of the public. 

If you fail to attend the meeting at which you have registered to speak, or are not present at the time the item is dealt with, it will not be delayed until a later date. If you want to speak you must attend at the scheduled time.

Any person who is registered to speak, but has to leave the meeting early, will be able to give their views on paper to be read out by the chair.

Last updated: 14 July 2021

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