Coronavirus: Scarborough Council could hold its meetings and voting remotely

Scarborough Council could hold its meetings remotely in the future as the Government tells local authorities how they can help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 2:24 pm

On Monday, the Secretary of State for Local Government said all council meetings across the UK should be “held remotely or not at all”.

Robert Jenrick MP also told councils that rules around the time required to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests would also be relaxed.

Legislation could also be brought forward to allow votes to be taken remotely, something which is not possible for councils currently.

Scarborough Town Hall

Mr Jenrick added: “As part of the national effort to keep the public safe and deliver essential public services, this government stands with local councils at this difficult time.

“My absolute priority is to ensure they are well placed to respond to coronavirus and protect vital services, including social care.

“Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy, and the government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.”

Scarborough Council cancelled a Standards Committee meeting scheduled to take place today (Tuesday) but a licensing sub-committee meeting went ahead as planned at Scarborough Town Hall.

Thursday’s meeting of the Audit Committee, which is set to discuss the controversial Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District, is currently scheduled to go-ahead.

However, North Yorkshire County Council’s Scarborough and Whitby Area Committee meeting on Friday has been postponed.

Yesterday, the committee’s chairman Cllr Joe Plant revealed he had self-isolated after showing symptoms of the Covid-19 virus.

The new Government measures come after the government made a move to relax restrictions on supermarket deliveries and postpone all local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections until May next year.

In North Yorkshire, this means the current Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will stay in her role, despite her plans to step down after failing to be automatically selected as the Conservative party candidate.

Ofsted will also now look very favourably on any requests to defer inspections because of coronavirus

And the deadline for local government financial audits will be pushed back until the end of September this year.