Public Participation at Meetings

Do you have a point to make about issues in the Winchester district? If so then you might be interested in the public participation sessions held at the beginning of WInchester City Council's Committee meetings. Read on to find out more.

How do I make my views known?

Public Participation allows you the opportunity to make a statement or ask questions during a 15 minute period prior to the formal business of the meeting.

Where?

Meetings are held in the Guildhall, Winchester. Disabled access is available. Please contact the appropriate Democratic Services Officer in advance so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

Which Committees?

All of the Council's main Committee meetings, have public participation i.e.

  • Cabinet
  • The Overview and Scrutiny Committee
  • Audit
  • Standards Committee
  • Licensing and Regulation*
  • Planning Committee*
  • Winchester Town Forum

*For Licensing & Regulation Committee, and Licensing Sub-Committees, there is a special procedure for dealing with public participation on individual licensing applications. For guidance on speaking at Licensing meetings, please see 'Public Participation for Licencing Matters' (download at the bottom of this page).

*For Planning Committee, there is a special procedure for dealing with public participation on individual planning applications. Please contact the Public Speaking Co-ordinator in the Planning Control Division on 01962 848 339 or email planning@winchester.gov.uk for more details. A leaflet on how the planning process works can be found at the bottom of this page (Have Your Say on Planning in the Winchester District).

Can anyone speak?

Yes, but please remember that only 15 minutes have been set aside for all questions and answers. If several people wish to speak on the same subject, the Chairman may ask for one person to speak on everyone's behalf. As time is limited, we will operate on a "first come first served" basis. To reserve your place to speak, you are asked to arrive no later than 10 minutes before the public participation session starts. If you arrive later than this time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to speak.

How long can I speak for?

Unless time permits, questions and statements will be limited to 3 minutes each (the length of time permitted is at the discretion of the Chairman). Second questions on the same topic will not normally be allowed, but again the Chairman has discretion to allow supplementary questions if appropriate.

Do I have to give notice before the meeting?

The only requirement is to give 3 clear working days notice if you wish to have a full reply at the meeting. But there is nothing to stop you simply attending the meeting on the day and making your point.

Are there any situations when I cannot speak?

Subject to the exceptions mentioned below, questions may be asked or statements made on anything which is the responsibility of the Committee you attend. But the same question or statement cannot be put at every meeting. This is to give everyone the opportunity to make statements or ask questions. If the sessions are to be used constructively, there is a need to avoid repetition and small pressure groups using them just to seek publicity. There are also limitations relating to questions about current applications, personal cases and confidential matters.

What happens at the meeting?

There is public seating provided. You will be asked by the Democratic Services Officer to give your name, address and the nature of your question. You will then be added to the list of persons wishing to speak. At the appropriate time, the Chairman will invite you to ask your question or make your statement.

Will I get a full reply to my question?

We will attempt to respond to any statement or question at the meeting, but sometimes research may be necessary before a full answer can be given. If this is the case, we will write to you after the meeting if you leave your name and address, or email. If you require a full reply to your question on the day, please let us know at least 3 clear working days before the meeting you will be attending. If too many people attend and you do not get the chance to ask your question, then provided you have given your name, address and details of your question, we will be pleased to write to you after the meeting. A copy of your question and answer will also be circulated to all Councillors who serve on the Committee you attended.

Presentation of Petitions

The City Council welcomes petitions and recognises that they are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. A petition to the Council may be presented on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties, or which affects the Winchester District.

Who can submit a petition?

Any of the following may present a petition:

  • Any member of the Council
  • Any local government elector of the Winchester District
  • Any resident of the Winchester District
  • Any person who works or studies within the Winchester District.
  • All Councils have a legal duty to respond to petitions and so the City Council has produced the following guidance note on how we will do this, including information about the numbers of signatories required.

Further details on petitions.

Further information

Please telephone 01962 848 264 and ask to speak to the Democratic Services Officer for the meeting you wish to attend. Alternatively you may write to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services at the City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester, SO23 9LJ, who will be pleased to arrange a reply to be sent to you. If you wish to discuss an issue with your local District Councillor but do not know his or her name, please telephone Democratic Services on 01962 848 264 or email democracy@winchester.gov.uk