Introduce Public Question Time at Council Meetings says Adrian

Members of the public should be able to table and ask questions of their councillors at council meetings. That’s the suggestion made this week by Independent Borough Councillor, Adrian Owens.

Adrian, who resigned from the Conservatives last month to start an Independent group, Our West Lancashire said, “I’ve placed a motion on the council agenda next week that would allow members of the public to submit written questions to council cabinet members and then ask those questions and a related supplementary question in a public question time slot at the beginning of council meetings.”

“I was at the forefront of introducing public speaking at planning committees more than 10 years ago and that works well. It’s past time when we should allow residents to quiz their elected representatives at full council meetings. Many other Lancashire councils allow this already, as do parish councils here in West Lancashire.”

Adrian concluded by saying this was one of a number of measures he and Our West Lancashire were promoting to give residents a greater voice.

The motion submitted for debate by the council on 25th February is appended below:

That this council notes that the introduction of public speaking at planning committee introduced more than 10 years ago has proved very successful in ensuring that those potentially affected by a planning application are heard prior to a decision being made.

That Council further notes that many councils in Lancashire have ‘public question time’ before council meetings including Preston, Burnley, Rossendale, Hyndburn and Lancaster thus enabling their residents to be more fully involved in local democracy.

That ‘public question time’ for up to 30 minutes at the start of ordinary council meetings be introduced from the start of the 2015/16 municipal year.

That officers work up a suitable procedure for ‘public question time’ having due regard to the draft guidelines set out at Appendix A and submit a report to Council on 15 April 2015 for approval.

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