Public participation is a key standing item at all meetings of Christchurch Town Council. Every meeting of the Full Council and the Council’s committees have opportunities for members of the public to attend, engage and ask questions of members. Members of the public can witness the decision making process of various local projects taking shape, and seek opportunities to assist in a range of advisory committee and voluntary functions.
How can I attend a Council meeting?
You can find out details of all Council meetings in this section. Meetings of the Council and its committees are formal public meetings which are conducted in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders on procedure.
Public Participation Protocol
- If you would like to raise a direct matter with the Council in public, you can attend a public meeting, and you can also submit a question to the council.
- Public speaking time is usually limited to three minutes per speaker, and a maximum of fifteen minutes for all speakers. Speaking time may be extended at the discretion of the presiding chairman, or at Full Council, the Town Mayor.
- A member of the public invited to speak under the ‘Public Participation’ section is required to state their name and street address to confirm they are an elector of Christchurch, before making their statement.
- Members of the public must take direction from the Chairman of the meeting in the same manner as Members of the Council. The Chairman will provide directions during the meeting on how to participate, and may provide speakers with further opportunity to reply or pose questions at their discretion.
Attending a Meeting:
- When a meeting has been advertised, you may simply attend the venue at the stated time and location and take a seat in the public gallery. You may be required to sign an attendance register for health, safety and fire evacuation purposes.
- An officer of the Council will be present to answer any enquiries you may have during your stay, and will be able to facilitate any accessibility requirements or special requests.
- When the meeting commences and the Chairman moves to the ‘Public Participation’ section, follow the instructions of the Chairman and stand (if you are able) to address the committee or Full Council.
- Ensure you are relaxed and ready to make your point. The Council is a public forum where everybody is welcome and encouraged to engage. The Chairman, Members and Officers will support you in engaging in public debate.
Submitting a written question
- If you are seeking an answer to a specific question, for example an action the Council has taken or clarification on the Council’s policy on any particular matter, you may wish to submit a written question to the Town Clerk with at least 48 hours notice prior to the meeting in which you would like a public reply. This will allow the Council to provide a substantive response in an accountable and open manner.
- You should attend the meeting in which the reply to the written question is sought, and ask the question of the Council when directed to do so by the Chairman, before receiving the reply. A right of reply may only be afforded by the Chairman or the Town Mayor at Full Council.
Further information on public debates
- You can read the full debate rules contained in the Council’s Standing Orders in the Policy & Documentation section.