Local Authority Remote Meetings - Call for Evidence

Closed 17 Jun 2021

Opened 25 Mar 2021


This call for evidence seeks to understand the experience of local authorities in the whole of the UK regarding remote meetings.

This is an open call for evidence. We particularly seek the views of individual members of the public; prospective and current local authority members/representatives; officers/leaders of local authorities who have been meeting remotely; and those bodies that represent the interests of local members/representatives at all levels.

Why your views matter

The Government would like to gather evidence about the use of the current arrangements for local authorities to meet remotely or in hybrid format, as set out in The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (and the equivalent regulations for Wales and Northern Ireland) under powers granted by Section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. These regulations came into force on 4 April 2020 and apply to meetings taking place before 7 May 2021.

Local authorities in Scotland had express provision to meet remotely prior to the pandemic, and we are also interested to understand their experience of remote meetings since their arrangements came into force.

We have also received representations from some, though by no means all, individual local authorities and sector representative organisations making the case for the express provision to meet remotely to be made permanent. The Government would like to hear from interested parties about the pros and cons of making such arrangements permanent, in whole or in part, for local authorities in England.

What happens next

We will review the responses to this call for evidence and then publish a summary of the findings on the MHCLG gov.uk site. The Government will consider all responses carefully before deciding how to proceed on this issue. 

Any permanent express provision would require primary legislation, and such passage would depend on agreement of Parliament and the timetabling and pressures of Parliamentary business.