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Asking questions at Full Council meetings
This information explains the how the public can submit and ask questions at meetings of the Council.
- Who can ask questions at Full Council meetings?
- How much notice is needed to submit or ask a question?
- Are the questions in any specific order?
- How many questions can you submit?
- What type of questions may be rejected?
- How are details of questions submitted recorded?
- What is the protocol for asking the question at the meeting?
- What is the position on asking supplementary questions?
- How will questions not answered at the meeting be dealt with?
- What happens if the question needs to be referred to the Cabinet or a committee?
- What is the time limit for public questions and answers?
Any member of the public may ask questions of councillors of the Cabinet, chairs of committees and the Leader of the Council at ordinary meetings of the Full Council.
A person may only ask a question if notice of it has been given in writing (or by email) no later than 10am eight clear days in advance (e.g. Tuesday for a meeting on the Monday - thirteen days later).
The person submitting the question must give their name and address and name the councillor to whom the question is being put.
The question submission notice should be sent to:
Democratic Services Manager
Tel 020 8489 2929
River Park House
225 High Road
Questions are asked in the order in which their notice was received (please note that the Mayor may group together similar questions).
A person can submit one question at any given meeting (no more than two questions can be submitted on behalf of an organisation).
A question may be rejected if it:
- Is not about a matter for which the local authority has a responsibility or which affects the borough;
- Is defamatory, frivolous or offensive;
- Is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of the Council in the past six months; or
- Requires the disclosure of confidential or exempt information.
Each question submitted is entered in a book that is open to the public. A copy of the question is immediately sent to the councillor to whom it is to be put. Rejected questions will include reasons for rejection. Copies of all questions will be circulated to all councillors no later than at the meeting and will be made available to the public attending the meeting.
The Mayor will invite the questioner to put the question to the councillor named in the notice. If a questioner is unable to attend the meeting, a written reply will be given.
If a member of the public asks a question in person they may also put one supplementary question to the councillor who has replied to their original question.
A supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply. However, the Mayor may reject a supplementary question on the grounds that is a type of question that may be rejected. See "What type of questions may be rejected?"
Any question that cannot be dealt with during public question time (either because of lack of time or because of the councillor who is required to answer the question is unable to attend the meeting) will be dealt with by a written reply.
Any councillor may move that a matter raised by a question be referred to the Cabinet or the appropriate committee or sub-committee. Once seconded, such a motion will be voted on without discussion.
A total time limit of 20 minutes is allowed for public questions and answers (excluding any adjournments). A question being answered at the time limit shall be completed.