West Berkshire Council has introduced virtual meetings to ensure it can continue to advance its plans, take decisions and provide scrutiny whilst maintaining social distancing.

Meetings are hosted on Zoom, a video conferencing facility, and live-streamed on West Berkshire Council’s YouTube channel to allow residents to follow proceedings. The public are still able to ask questions and these must be submitted in advance in the same way as they are for meetings at Council offices.

The first virtual meeting in the Council’s 22-year history took place last week with a meeting of Personnel Committee. The next meeting to be held will be of the Executive at 5:00pm on Thursday 30 April. You can view the Council meeting here.

The move to hold virtual meetings comes following a change in legislation at the beginning of April which removed the requirement for councils to hold meetings at a specified physical location.

The Executive will consider a range of important projects as the Council looks to move forward with the plans set out in its Council Strategy. Among the items to be considered are:

  • Adoption of an Economic Development Strategy for the district
  • Approval to launch a £1m Community Bond to help deliver projects in support of the Environment Strategy
  • Consideration of a report on a recent peer challenge undertaken by the Council; and
  • A new project to develop support for the community and voluntary sector.

Members of the public who have submitted questions will receive a written response which will also be published on the website.  The move to virtual meetings means it will not be possible to ask a follow-up question, but it does not prevent further questions being submitted for future meetings.

Leader of West Berkshire Council, Lynne Doherty, said: “We have all had to change our ways of working to continue operating under these difficult circumstances. In response to the legislation which enables remote Council meetings to take place, we have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure West Berkshire Council continues to comply with all relevant statutory obligations and Council meetings are continuing to take place, albeit virtually.

“We have a busy agenda on Thursday and I’m pleased to see items coming before the Executive which will have a positive impact on our residents, our businesses and also on our Environment. We remain focused on our response to Coronavirus and we are planning for recovery from it. However, I’m pleased that we are also able to advance our wider programme of work at the same time.”