The deputation procedure and Hampshire County Council meetings
The County Council comprises 78 county councillors elected to represent the people of Hampshire. (Portsmouth and Southampton have separate councils.)
Meetings of the County Council
Formal meetings of the County Council, the Cabinet, executive members and committees are open to the public.
Although you cannot take part in debates and discussions at County Council meetings, you can ask to make a presentation on any issue that relates to Council responsibilities. This is known as making a 'deputation'. The procedure can be found in the Council's Standing Orders (Standing Order 12). You may also make a presentation to the Cabinet or any committee or panel of the Council or when individual Cabinet members make decisions but, for these, the matter you wish to talk about must be on the agenda for the meeting.
Who can ask to make a presentation at meetings?
Anyone who is on the electoral register for Hampshire County Council can apply. If you are uncertain whether you are on the register or not, you can check with your local district council. It prepares and maintains the electoral register. You can make a presentation on your own or as part of a group. An individual elector or a group of electors wishing to speak is called a deputation. A deputation can comprise up to four people and each of them may take part.
Elected members (including those of other councils), trade union representatives and County Council staff (including teachers) may not form part of any deputation. This is because their views can be brought to the County Council’s attention through established links with their organisations.
How often can you make a presentation?
To allow greater opportunity for everyone to express their views, if you have made a presentation at a meeting of the County Council or one of its committees on a particular topic, you may not do so again on that topic for six months.
What happens at the meeting?
Up to one hour is allowed at each meeting for deputations. The maximum time allowed for each presentation is 10 minutes, but this may be reduced at the Chairman’s discretion to allow more deputations to be heard. Whilst the rules which apply to deputations are set out in the Council's Standing orders, situations may arise where they should not be enforced rigidly. Chairmen and Cabinet members, therefore, have discretion to offer reasonable flexibility, to overcome any problems which may occur such as with the numbers and membership of deputations.
Presentations are normally taken at the beginning of the meeting. You will be asked to make your points in the allotted time. You will not be able to ask questions of the councillors or take part in the discussion but you are welcome to stay at the meeting to listen to the discussion and hear the Committee’s decision.
The judicial nature of the Regulatory Committee when it is considering planning applications means that the deputation procedure operates a little differently there. In these circumstances, deputations may include the applicants/agents and interested parties including parish and district councillors. There is also scope for a deputation to appear again, but only when an item is adjourned (for example to allow a site visit to take place) or when there is another similar planning application submitted for the same site. At the Regulatory Committee deputations are usually taken immediately before the item they concern. After making your deputation to the Regulatory Committee you might be asked questions through the Chairman of the Committee to clarify facts.
How to find out about meetings
Agendas are published in advance and are normally available on our website about six days before each meeting. The contact centre (0845 603 5638) can give you dates, times and venues of future meetings. Visit our website to find out more about agendas, reports, meetings and decisions.
Applying to make a presentation
Write to the Chief Executive stating the meeting you want to attend and the issue you would like to cover, or apply online to make a presentation.
Your letter must reach us at least 10 clear days beforehand if you want to address the County Council, or three clear days beforehand if you want to address the Cabinet, an individual Cabinet member or a committee or panel. Remember that weekends and bank holidays are not counted when calculating ‘clear days’. For County Council meetings, for example, which are usually on a Thursday, your application should be with the Chief Executive’s Department by no later than the third Wednesday preceding the Council meeting.
To find out more about arranging a deputation or to make a request to address a particular meeting:
Use the online form or for futher information about how to arrange a deputation contact:
Democratic and Member Services, Corporate Services Department, Hampshire County Council, The Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UJ. Telephone: 01962 845751, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that there are several other ways to ensure your views are heard by the County Council. You are welcome to contact the department dealing with the issue that concerns you. Our staff welcome the opportunity to hear your views so they can take account of your comments when giving advice or preparing written reports to councillors. You may also wish to get in touch direct with your local county councillor, the relevant individual Cabinet member or the Chairman of the appropriate committee.
Information about services
The County Council, together with 11 district councils and the parish councils, provides vital everyday services to 1.2 million people across Hampshire. Information is available about all our services. Our information centres and contact centre are good starting points. Our staff will help put you in touch with people dealing with particular services who can give you further information.
To find out more
If you would like more information about how the County Council is organised or any of the services we provide:
Visit our information centres in:
- Winchester (top of the High Street)
- Basingstoke (next to the library)
- Waterlooville (in the library)
- Farnborough (in the library)
- New Milton (in the Town Hall).
Alternatively, you can get in touch with the contact centre by:
phone: 0845 603 5638 or local number 01329 225398
textphone: 0845 603 5625.
An 0845 number is a standard local cost call which will cost up to 4p per minute for BT customers. Calls made using other service providers or mobiles may cost more.
Alternatively, customers can call 01329 225398 - standard and local call rates apply to this number.
Hard copies of each factsheet are available. If you would like a paper version, please email email@example.com.