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To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of amending the Local Government Act 1972 to allow both (a) council meetings and (b) annual parish council meetings to use modern technology as an alternative to face to face meetings to tackle the spread of covid-19.
It is vital that local authorities can continue to function effectively as the country responds to covid-19. Following last week’s announcement that local authority elections will be postponed until May 2021, we are considering bringing forward legislation to remove the requirement for annual council and parish council meetings.
Councils already have powers to delegate functions, but we are considering whether – for a limited period - to enable use of video or tele-conferencing to facilitate decision making on those limited matters which currently require committee or full council decisions. We would of course also consider appropriate safeguards to ensure transparency and democratic accountability.