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Maintaining democratic accountability during the coronavirus crisis

Last Modified April 29, 2020

We're continuing to make adjustments to our key, decision-making meetings during the coronavirus shutdown to protect the safety of our residents, elected members and staff. Two of our meetings will go ahead later this week via remote access.

There is also regular dialogue and consultation over essential service and policy matters between our Managing Director, senior officers and the leaders of each of the three political groups.

Managing Director, Sajida Bijle, commented: “Our priority is to protect the health and safety of everyone and we have been drawing on guidance from central government around conducting some of our key meetings through remote access technology. This is in order to keep everyone safe and to ensure that the council’s democratic decision-making processes continue and business operates as near to normal as possible at this time.

“Our Executive meeting on 22 April and Planning Committee on 23 April will take place via remote access and will be viewable online at:  https://hertsmere.public-i.tv/   The full council meeting that was scheduled for 22 April has been moved to 20 May and, again, is likely to take place via remote access.

“At this time, I am meeting more regularly with our group leaders, also via remote access, so that I can update them on service matters and maintain active dialogue over policy development. This is so crucial for a transparent and accountable public organisation like our council.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Morris Bright MBE, added: "Executive and Planning Committee meetings later this week will be conducted very differently to normal, but everyone has been working very hard to ensure that the basic principles of enabling constructive dialogue and transparent decision making are upheld."

Cllr Jeremy Newmark, Leader of the Labour Group, said: “During these challenging times, all three of the political groupings at Hertsmere have been working collaboratively and I’m proud to be part of that process. All material decisions are discussed and scrutinised at weekly meetings between the political group leaders, the Managing Director and senior officers. This is a testimony to the strength of local democracy in Hertsmere. As elected members right now, our focus is rightly upon supporting and guiding the sterling work of our staff in keeping vital services running and directly supporting the needy and vulnerable across the borough.”

Cllr Andrew Melville, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, concluded: “Over this unpredictable time the Liberal Democrat Group has met via remote access arranging and supporting local services and our residents. I have also remained in contact with Sajida, Cllr Bright and Cllr Newmark and we have had various and constructive meetings in how to best deal with this situation. We have worked together and in unison.”

For more information about service updates and accessing support, visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/coronavirus

Staying in touch with us:

• Customer Services – telephone 020 8207 2277 or email customer.services@hertsmere.gov.uk
• Website address is www.hertsmere.gov.uk. You can report many issues online – visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/reportit
• Follow on Twitter for tweets, photos and links to press releases @HertsmereBC
• Like on Facebook – www.facebook.com/hertsmere
• Follow on Instagram @hertsmerebc
• Subscribe to FREE News for You e-alerts for the latest news straight to your inbox. A ‘coronavirus’ topics has been added. Click on the purple button on the council’s website www.hertsmere.gov.uk
• Contact your local councillor – www.hertsmere.gov.uk/findmycllr or call 020 8207 7558

Posted on Tuesday 21st April 2020

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