North Kesteven District Council Members are to embrace a new way of conducting council business next week, using new powers introduced by Government.  
 
A month on from the cancellation of all meetings scheduled for March and April in order to comply with social distancing requirements and help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, meetings are able to resume – albeit in a very different format. 
 
The Government has given councils new powers to hold public meetings ‘virtually’,usingtechnology includingelectronic, digital, virtual locations and telephone conferencing.  
 
With the technology and understanding now developed to enable this, the first of these will take place for North Kesteven on Thursday, April 23, with a 2pm meeting of Council. 
 
Council Leader, Cllr Richard Wright said: “As a Council, we are keen toresume council business as quickly as possible. By embracing this new way of holding meetingswe will be able to, as Members still honour our duties and speak on behalf of our constituents.” 
 
“In this ‘new world’, Members andofficers will learn together how to hold virtual meetings, whilst also ensuring residentsand the localmedia can listen-in, and be a part of the process.  
 
“Participatingin remote meetings is very different to holding a physical meetingin person. The team are prepared to face some challenges, and officers will need to further develop some practical solutions to support virtual meetings going forward,” said Cllr Wright. 
 
To ensure safeand sound decisions are conductedfrom the outset, the Leader of the Council, Leaderof the Opposition andunalignedCouncillors(not part of a political group)have all agreedto reducethe number of Members present on these virtual council committees, to aid the management and connectivity of meetings.   
 
Membership changes are inaccordance with political balance requirementsand will continue to ensure constituents are represented appropriately.  
 
In order to accommodate these changes, whilst still remaining inclusive, some meetings, and items of business may need to be moved.  
 
The first virtualmeeting, a Council meeting will take place on Thursday 23 April at 2pm. This can be heard LIVE viaour website:www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/Council23April 
 
The Council plans to run further virtual meetings over the coming weeks, including planningand licensing sub-committees. Further information on these will be published in due course online at www.n-kesteven.gov.uk
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