Under normal circumstances, local authorities are required to hold committee meetings in person. The Local Government Act 1972 requires votes to be taken by members “present” at a meeting, which meant that members had to be physically present in a council building.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the government has temporarily removed this requirement, allowing local authorities to hold meetings virtually using video or telephone conferencing technology.
Islington’s first ever online committee meeting will be a meeting of Licensing Sub-Committee B on Thursday 23 April at 6:30pm to discuss a premises license variation of the Kiss Me Lounge on Essex Road. This will be followed by a Planning Committee meeting at 7:30pm which will consider five planning applications for sites around the borough.
The meetings will be conducted using Zoom, an online video-conferencing application.
In light of social distancing requirements, many councillors are already holding “virtual surgeries”, allowing residents to discuss any concerns with their ward councillors online.
Cllr Satnam Gill, Executive Member for Finance and Performance and the council’s lead on democratic services, said:
“The ongoing coronavirus crisis is the greatest public health emergency of our time, and it has led to a great deal of changes for all of us in the way we live and work.
“For the council this has meant drastic changes to the way we deliver our services. Video conferencing technology allows us to continue our important role in facilitating local democracy and to remain as transparent and publicly accountable as possible. Despite the challenges this crisis has thrown up, we are excited to make our first foray into this new digital frontier of local democracy.
“Any local residents with an interest in the proceedings are welcome to attend the virtual meetings on Thursday via Zoom.”