Calderdale's Cabinet to meet in Council chamber due to legal requirements

Calderdale councillors have to return in person to the council chamber when Cabinet meets on Monday (June 7).

Friday, 4th June 2021, 4:50 pm

The Government decided in the spring not to extend virtual meeting legislation and for decision-making meetings, with some licensing exceptions where powers are outside of the 1972 Local Government Act, councillors legally have to meet in person.

To do this in a socially-distanced way and as safely as possible, the Cabinet meeting – there are seven members plus a limited number of officers – will be held in the council chamber itself at Halifax Town Hall.

Members of the public will be able to watch the meeting, which will be streamed on the council’s YouTube channel, and it will also be streamed on a screen in Committee Room B.

Council chamber at Halifax town hall

This is the meeting room where Cabinet and committee meetings are usually held in normal times and on this occasion it will be used by other councillors and members of the public who have been asked or invited to give their input on an item.

They will be able to be brought up to the council chamber to be with Cabinet members when they make their points, Ian Hughes, the council’s Head of Legal and Democractic Services, told members of the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board.

“It makes it a little bit clunky but a way of ensuring we remain safe at the moment but also offering a facility that people will be controlled by way of numbers,” he said.

Large numbers of the public would be unable to attend, he said.

There was talk of hybrid systems allowing video screening but that could only happen with non-decision making meetings, said Mr Hughes.

Coun Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) asked about the success of the virtual meetings which have been held over the past year.

“Have we seen an increase in people tuning into meetings and is there a way to use that?” he said.

Mr Hughes said the numbers of people tuning in were vastly superior to numbers that would have attended in person; the downside was the ability to participate.

On Monday, when Cabinet meets from 6pm, issues members will be considering include approving recommendations in the hard-hitting Burnt Bridges report into street-based living and implementing a strategy on homelessness and rough sleeping, setting out its priorities for the next six months, driving forward the Calderdale Cares place-based model for health, care and wellbeing, making necessary improvements to the council main Ainley depot at Elland, considering and addressing financial issues and approving the formation of a community rail partnership for the Calder Valley Line, which would include all eight of the borough’s railway stations along the line (including the new station being developed at Elland) along with five stations in Rochdale.