Omicron: Brighton and Hove Council to reduce number of meetings Brighton News

MEMBERS of the public will be separated from counselors at meetings to improve social distancing.

As the Omicron variant of Covid spreads, Brighton and Hove city councils plan to reduce the number of people in the Town Hall Chamber when it meets on Thursday, December 16.

Committee Chairs will attend in person in the boardroom, with the audience presenting in person or remotely via Teams software.

The report submitted to the councilors states: “In the current state of the law, it is not possible to hold council or committee meetings, with the exception of authorization panels, other than in person.

“Much of public engagement – questions, petitions, and deputations – involves interaction between a member of the public and the core member and the other members do not have an active role to play.”

The first hybrid public engagement session is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m., an hour and a half before the plenary meeting of the Council on Thursday.

Petitions that have reached the 1,250 signature threshold will still be debated with the full council.

The board is also considering making membership questions a hybrid event to reduce contact.

All meetings must take place at Hove Town Hall due to the cost of renting a larger external venue and Brighton Town Hall limitations.

Agents recommend that only 40 counselors attend meetings to limit contact.

The Argus: Council chief Phelim Mac Cafferty criticized the abolition of virtual meetingsCouncil chief Phelim Mac Cafferty slammed the end of virtual meetings

The report said: “There is still a significant risk associated with gatherings, especially given the spread of the Omicron strand of the virus.

“Given the lack of a perennial venue large enough to host full council meetings at a reasonable cost, it is recommended that members adopt a voluntary reduction in numbers.

“Currently, we know that a number of members will not be attending, although we have not had confirmation from all groups.”

The council cannot force any political group to reduce its participation but relies on the cooperation of the members.

During the October plenary council meeting at Brighton Town Hall, councilors took a seat apart or in an anti-hall to watch the debate.

After the open session and questions from members, the meeting was dropped after a union adviser received a positive PCR notification.

Council chief Phelim Mac Cafferty has long criticized the government for removing the law that allowed virtual meetings until May of this year.

In a tweet after the government announced that people should be working from home from Monday, December 13, he said: “So it’s homework… unless you’re a counselor in England.

“Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all legalized virtual council meetings during the pandemic or before complying with outdated legislation.

“Advisors in England are facing covid disease and worse still from attending council meetings.”

The public engagement meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. and the Plenary Council at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 16.

Both meetings will be webcast on the city council website.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-14 08:38:36

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