Virtual Honiton Town Council meeting deemed ‘invalid’

Honiton Town Council in trouble again -Owl

A controversial virtual meeting held by Honiton Town Council on Monday 13 July has been deemed ‘inquorate’ – meaning not enough members present to make up a quorum.

Hannah Corfield 

All decisions made at the meeting are notwithstanding and will be moved on to the agenda for August.

Deputy Town Clerk, Heloise Marlow issued the following statement: “Unfortunately, the Full Council meeting which took place on Monday 13 July 2020 has been deemed inquorate and as such all resolutions taken at that meeting are not valid.

“The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 sets out in Regulation Five the conditions to be met for a councillor to be in ‘remote attendance’.

“One of those conditions is that each councillor must be able to hear, and be heard by, the other members in attendance. If the councillors cannot hear and be heard they are not in remote attendance at the meeting under the 2020 Regulations.

“At the meeting on Monday 13 July, five Councillors attended the meeting via one device. Each Councillor took their turn to speak via said device whilst the others remained in the garden at the property in question.

“However, the Councillors in the garden could not be heard by the councillors not in the garden and therefore they did not meet the condition.

“That the councillors in the garden may not have said anything relevant while they were there or subsequently repeated anything relevant when they accessed the screen does not matter as the conditions for attendance are clear and were not met by the councillors in the garden.

“As each councillor accessed the screen they would have become in ‘remote attendance”’ but as soon as they moved from the screen they ceased to be attending.

“Therefore, the councillors while sitting in the garden were not in remote attendance at the meeting, including the voting, and did not count towards the quorum.

“In addition, one other Councillor could not be heard as she had omitted to plug in her microphone. As such, that Councillor also did not meet the relevant condition.

“Honiton Town Council apologises for the above.

“The meeting on the 13 July was Honiton Town Council’s first meeting via Zoom and all Members are now aware of the conditions relating to their attendance at meetings.

“Honiton Town Council is holding an extra-ordinary meeting on the 27, July 2020 to discuss those items which were held over from the meeting on the 13 July.

“Those items which formed the remainder of the Agenda from the meeting on the 13 July will form part of the Agenda for the Full Council meeting on the 10 August 2020.”