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Deadline Changes Will Give Councillors More Time to Prepare Responses

Published on: 9 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2013
GBC Council Chamber Millmead

Guildford Borough Council Chamber,  Millmead

by Liz Raum

Members of the public wishing to ask questions at Guildford Borough Council meetings will need to give a little more notice.

This follows amendments to procedures agreed at last week’s full council meeting.

The changes, which bring forward the deadlines for both councillors and members of the public to submit their questions, are being made to allow councillors, nominated to respond to the questions, more time to prepare their answers.

For the public, the amendment removes the need to wait for publication of the agenda and brings forward the deadline for tabling questions for the full council. Combined, as well as allowing councillors more time for researching and preparing their responses, they will enable officers to publish the council meeting’s order papers at the earlier on the day of meetings.

John Armstrong, democratic services manager at Guildford Borough Council, said: “Bringing the deadline ahead gives greater time for responses to be considered. Some issues do involve research and giving a bit more time means that everyone is less rushed and has more time to ensure accuracy.”

The amendment of ‘Council Procedure Rule 9’ requires that a councillor now provides, in writing, questions no later than midnight on the fifth working day (it was the third working day) before the date of the meeting of the council at which the question is intended to be asked.

The amendment to the ‘Public Speaking Procedure Rule 1’ makes it necessary for the public to submit, in writing, questions no later than midnight on the fifth working day (was the third working day) and the amendment also removes the requirement for the public to table questions following the publication of the agenda.

The deadline changes will enable officers to circulate order papers much earlier to councillors on the day of the council meeting. “There has not been an instance of any councillor running out of time,” added John Armstrong, “but we have been unable to publish the order paper, with written responses, until late afternoon on the day of meeting. Bringing the deadline forward gives everyone an opportunity to digest the order paper.”

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Responses to Deadline Changes Will Give Councillors More Time to Prepare Responses

  1. Gillian Cameron Reply

    July 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

    This means questions will have to be submitted within hours of the publication of the agenda, making discussion between concerned parties virtually impossible, or are we all expected to suddenly be blessed with foresight as to which topics will feature on the agenda?

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