Last month the High Court ruled that council meetings in England must take place “in person”.
Many councils had hoped that the emergency legislation that allowed local councils to run virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic would be extended beyond the 7 May deadline, but the ruling on the 28 April dashed those hopes – meaning councils are now required to hold face-to-face meetings once again.
To help local and parish councils conduct meetings safely and in accordance with the current government advice, we have produced a new risk assessment template that is now available as a free download:
The risk assessment is designed to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 among council staff, councillors and members of the public, and covers:
- Advice on obtaining lateral flow tests for meeting attendees
- Detailed guidance on establishing handwashing and surface cleaning procedures
- Social distancing advice for the meeting room as well as the overall building
- Wearing of masks or face coverings where necessary
- Ensuring the meeting room is well ventilated
- Limiting number of attendees where possible, and avoiding sharing pens, documents, devices etc.
- Dealing with attendees who may have COVID-19 symptoms
We also have a handy checklist to help councils hold ‘COVID-safe’ meetings, which you can view below and download here: How to hold ‘COVID-safe’ local council meetings after May 7 – checklist
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