Elections and council meetings
A letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to local authority chief executives explains two sets of regulations made under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The first set of regulations enables all local authority meetings before 7 May 2021 to be held remotely and removes the requirement for the annual meeting this year. The second set postpones until 6 May 2021 local by-elections and other polls, either scheduled or which would otherwise arise before that date.
You can read the letter here
The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 enable all local authority meetings to be held remotely, including allowing remote access by members of the public and they remove the requirement for the annual meeting this year. The regulations came into force on 4 April 2020 and apply to meetings taking place before 7 May 2021. The council is currently reviewing various technical solutions to facilitate virtual meetings and ensure that public participation is preserved. The council will also be considering its position in relation to holding an annual meeting.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 postponed the scheduled local and mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections due to take place on 7 May 2020 until 6 May 2021. The Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 postpone to 6 May 2021 other polls, either scheduled or which would otherwise arise before that date, including local authority, mayoral and Greater London Authority by-elections, polls and referendums in England and by-elections for Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales. The regulations come into force on 7 April 2020 and apply to polls than would otherwise be scheduled between 15 March 2020 and 5 May 2021.
The council’s Returning Officer has confirmed that this means that the vacancy arising from the untimely death of Cllr Terry Cutmore, former Leader of the Council and Vice Chair of the Council will not be filled until 6 May 2021 unless the Government amends the legislation to bring forward this date and medical and scientific advice leads to the relaxation of social distancing rules.