Virtual Council meetings, weeknote: w/c 30.03.2020

Legislation has been passed that allows Councils to hold their statutory meetings online during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are getting our heads around the implications of this and how we can implement something quickly which will fulfill our legal obligations.

It’s a genuine opportunity to do something differently. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm from our Council members and really thoughtful engagement on issues such digital inclusion. 

This week we have:

  • Identified the key user needs
  • Started drafting guidance for meeting participants
  • Drafted amendments to our Constitution in light of the new regulations

Our first virtual Council meeting is scheduled for 14th April – there’s nothing like a hard stop to focus attention. Next week we will be:

  • Agree on a tech solution to test based on a review of user needs
  • Reviewing what devices Council members are using to participate in virtual meetings
  • Testing our guidance – is it fit for purpose, do users understand it?
  • Running a test meeting with volunteers

It is great to be working with colleagues from different teams, in particular Governance and Legal. We are using a GoogleChat room for asynchronous discussion (keeping this out of emails where possible) and Trello to plan and deliver our actions. These collaborative tools are new to some the team. Everyone has got stuck in and we’re learning by doing. 

I’m really grateful for the fast (and thoughtful) work from LOTI and MHCLG Local Digital Team on this. Much of their advice we can copy and paste which is incredibly useful. 

We’re keen to talk to other Councils about what they are doing. Please get in touch via LocalGovDigital Slack channel or using the comments section. 

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