Asking questions at meetings

Twenty minutes are allowed at the beginning of Authority meetings for dealing with public questions, petitions and statements.

If you would like to submit a question, petition or statement, written notice of at least four working days should be given to the Chief Executive providing the subject matter and the address and contact number of the person asking the question, presenting the petition or making the statement.

Petitions should include the nature and object of the petition. If a person wants to make a statement in support of or as background for their question or petition, this statement should be included. The maximum time allowed for a statement will be five minutes.

Any questions, petitions or statements deemed by the Chief Executive to be defamatory or which relate to a specific officer or member will not be included. In consultation with the person the Chief Executive may edit a question or statement to summarise the content.

If a member of the public is not able to attend the meeting to ask a question, present a petition or make a statement, these will still be represented to the meeting by the Chairman, together with the responses in the case of questions.

You can read more in the public question time scheme of operation.

What happens in the meetings?

The Chairman or Vice-Chairman will invite the questioner to read his/her question and, where included within the written notice, allow them to make a statement explaining it. A prepared response will be spoken by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Authority or the relevant Committee Chairman.

The questioner may be allowed to ask a supplementary question which may be answered by the appropriate Committee Chairman or officer if the necessary information is available. If not, a written answer will be provided within 20 working days. 

Following questions, the Chairman will invite members of the public to deliver their petitions and, where included within the written notice, allow them to make a statement. Following delivery of petitions, the Chairman will invite statements to be read. 

Except at the discretion of the Chairman there will be no debate during Public Question Time on question(s) and answer(s) provided, or petitions and statements presented. However, if members of the Authority so decide, it may be agreed to refer the matter to the next appropriate meeting and request an officer's report. 

A record of questions and their replies, petitions delivered and statements made is recorded in the formal minutes of the meeting.