Taking part in a committee meeting
Ask a question at a full Council meeting
You can ask a question as long as you tell us what the question is before midday the day before the meeting.
- You must give us your name and address
- You can only ask one question
- If you are asking on behalf of an organisation, you can only ask one question
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Full Council meetings usually start at 7pm in Nelson Town Hall. Email email@example.com to check.
Have your say at other Council Committee Meetings
Councillors make decisions about your local area. You can come to a meeting and have your say on issues which concern you.
First, find out when and where the meeting will take place. Either download the Committee Timetable or look at the Agenda for that meeting.
If the issue appears on the agenda, email firstname.lastname@example.org to say that you wish to speak.
You need to do this by midday at the latest on the day of the meeting. If you can't, the chairman may still allow you to speak unless the item is a planning matter.
Committee Services will take your details and confirm when and where the meeting will take place. You can look at the relevant committee report in the Agendas, Reports and Minutes section to help you prepare what you want to say.
Public Question Time at Area Committee Meetings
If something is not on the agenda you can, at Area Committee meetings, raise it at the start of the meeting under Public Question Time. You should turn up at 7pm and the Chairman will invite people, in turn, to put their questions.
You should start by stating your name and address and put your question as clearly as possible. If an answer can be given straight away it will. Otherwise you may receive a reply in writing after the meeting or the Committee may request that a report comes to a future meeting. This will be explained to you.
What will happen at the meeting?
When you arrive there will be councillors, council staff, members of the public and possibly reporters in the room. A member of staff will give you whatever help you need.
At Area Committees the chairman will start the meeting with public question time. He/she will read out a list of people who wish to speak on agenda items. If your name is not read out please catch the chairman's attention and he/she will decide whether to allow you to speak.
The chairman may change the order of the agenda so that those who wish to speak can have their items discussed earlier in the evening. He/she will let you know if this is the case.
When the item you wish to speak on comes up, the chairman will invite you to speak before the committee starts to discuss the matter. This is so that councillors know your views before any decisions are made.
Normally you can speak for up to five minutes. Occasionally if there are several people wishing to speak, the chairman may give you a shorter time. Also, if there are several of you wishing to speak on the same subject, he/she may ask one of you to speak on behalf of the others.
When you have finished speaking, members of the committee may ask you some questions to clarify or confirm what you have said.
Members of the committee will then debate the issue.
Please note: once you have exercised your right to speak you will not be allowed to join in the discussion or interrupt, even if you disagree with anything that is said.
Once the matter has been debated, there will be a vote or perhaps several votes followed by a decision. Sometimes this can be a little confusing and therefore the chairman will explain the decision or ask one of our officers to speak to you about it.
Occasionally the outcome is to defer a decision to a later meeting, or refer the issue to another committee. This will be explained to you and you will be given details of when it will next be discussed.
It is then up to you whether to leave or stay to listen to the rest of the meeting.
Some hints on speaking
For many people it can be daunting, but we will try to make you feel as welcome and relaxed as possible.
When speaking, you can stand or sit in any convenient part of the room, whichever suits you best and where you can be clearly heard.
No one expects you to be a great speaker! Try to put your points simply and clearly. You do not have to speak for the full five minutes if you feel you do not need to.
You may be upset about the way we have dealt with the matter up to now. By all means voice your criticisms but remember, your main aim should be to influence the decision the committee will now take about future action.
You may find it helpful to bring a prepared speech or some notes. If you want to bring copies for members of the committee then by all means do so.
Venues and Start Times for Committee Meetings
Full Council, Policy and Resources, Licensing Committee, Taxi and Other Licensing Committee and Accounts and Audit
Start time: 7.00pm Venue: Nelson Town Hall.
Meeting time: 7pm
Meeting place: Various venues - email email@example.com or telephone 01282 661648 or 661654 to find the location each month
Meetings of the Licensing Committee are usually held during the day at Nelson Town Hall but again the times of these meetings may vary.
It is therefore advisable to ring Committee Services on 01282 661648 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check the venue and start time of the meeting you are interested in.