COPELAND Borough Council has held its first ever virtual council meeting.
Mayor Mike Starkie and 11 Councillors joined today’s Full Council meeting from the safety of their homes, in which they agreed to a change to the council’s protocols that will allow remote video meetings to continue to take place.
All council meetings scheduled in March and April were cancelled due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. However, following today’s vote, virtual meetings will continue for the council and its committees including Licensing and Planning, starting with the Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 21.
Sarah Pemberton, Copeland Council’s Monitoring Officer, said: “It is extremely important that the democratic process is upheld and that our Councillors can safely continue to make decisions and represent their communities, and we can keep delivering the best possible services to our residents, businesses and community.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to our Councillors for their support and cooperation during these challenging times, and my thanks also go to our Democratic Services, Legal Services and ICT teams who are working tirelessly to ensure the policies and technology to support remote meetings are in place.”
The numbers at today’s meeting were limited to 11 Councillors and the Mayor with agreement from the political group leaders and with support across the council. The protocols agreed can remain in place until May 2021, however Copeland Council will keep them under continuous review.
Councillor Joan Hully, Chair of Copeland Council, said: “I would like to express my sincerest thanks for the hard work and dedication shown by Copeland Council staff and Councillors in managing the Covid crisis, and the manner in which key and new services have been delivered. It is very much appreciated.”
A video of the meeting can be viewed at www.copeland.gov.uk/virtual-council-meetings