Argyll & Bute Council has announced an 8-week consultation for the public to consider how they participate in their local Community Council meetings. During the pandemic, the Council allowed community councils to hold meetings remotely, online. However, as this was a temporary measure, meetings should now be reverting back to face-to-face.
The consultation is for the public to consider whether online meetings should continue along with the possibility of offering a hybrid meeting format which would provide both face-to-face and online access.
These proposed changes in how residents get involved in their local community councils are to be welcomed. For too long access to these meetings has been restricted to those able and willing to attend in person, often in a cold village hall on a winters night.
Reviewing the meeting minutes of the respective Cowal community councils (where available), we did a quick check on attendance by the public at these meetings (see below). Due to the pandemic, the latest figures available are for 2019 to early 2020. However they do show very poor attendances throughout Cowal. Interestingly Ardentinny’s meetings fared quite well by comparison, but overall it would appear that there is little resident involvement in their community councils.
The hybrid approach would appear to be the more inclusive solution, providing maximum accessibility in compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
The public consultation is open now at https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and-government/community-councils and ends on 26 November, 2021. You can also join the online discussion in Ardentinny Residents’ Forum.
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