In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, Fareham Borough Council is putting a series of new arrangements in place for Council meetings.

These steps will ensure that the Council’s democratic decision-making process can operate effectively, whilst significantly reducing the levels of social contact required within the Civic Offices.

The following arrangements will be introduced with immediate effect and will continue until the end of June 2020, when they will be reviewed.

Meeting Rooms

If it is necessary to hold a public decision-making meeting in the Civic Offices, then it will be held in the Council Chamber where chairs will be spaced out to allow social distancing. Tables, chairs and microphones will be cleaned before and after, each meeting. If members of the public wish to attend the meeting they will be directed to larger meeting areas where chairs will be spaced out accordingly.

Scrutiny Panels

Whilst our six Scrutiny Panels provide an important role in our governance framework, they are not decision-making bodies. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary contact, all Scrutiny Panel meetings are cancelled.

Licensing Committee and Planning Committee

We are reviewing the schedules for these committees. Where meetings cannot be conducted over the phone, social distancing measures will be put in place.

Executive meetings

Meetings of the Council’s Executive will no longer take place. Instead individual portfolio holders will be responsible for making decisions in their own area. Executive members will consult with their Executive colleagues before taking a decision. They will also be proactive in seeking the views of opposition group leaders. There is no requirement to physically meet.

Full Council meetings

There are legal requirements for certain decisions to be taken with a Full Council meeting. However, going forward, a smaller number of councillors will attend these. As with other necessary face-to-face meetings, social distancing measures will be in place. A number of matters, which would previously have been decided at Full Council, will instead be referred to the individual portfolio holder.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Seán Woodward, said:

“These are unprecedented times and so we have taken steps to protect the health of our councillors and employees. These measures will also enable us to be better prepared to keep delivering services to resident in the next few months. The next few months will be challenging, but by adapting how we work together we can help to reduce the spread of the virus.”