Council Meetings

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 is properly within its terms of reference. 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 deputation to to any Committee or Panel of the Council, to Cabinet or when individual Cabinet members make decisions.

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. 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, such as the collective bargaining machinery for Trade Unions, and grievance and disciplinary processes for staff. Additional arrangements apply in the case of deputations to Regulatory Committee. These are referred to below.

How often can you make a presentation?

If you have made a deputation at a meeting of the County Council or any of its Committees or Panels, to Cabinet or to an individual Cabinet member on a particular topic, you may not  make a deputation on the same or similar topic to a meeting of that body, or any other meeting or individual Cabinet member decision day 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. Depending on the number of deputations, time for individual deputations is reduced on a proportional basis in order to allow all deputations to be heard. 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.

Deputations 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 if applicable.

Regulatory Committee

The judicial nature of the Regulatory Committee when it is considering planning applications means that the deputation procedure operates a little differently here. Deputations to Regulatory Committee are not restricted to local government electors for Hampshire. Deputations may also include the applicants/agents and interested parties including Parish and District Councillors, and staff, if speaking in their personal capicity, or on behalf of the County Council as applicant or land owner. A deputation may also appear again within six months, 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 five clear working days before each meeting. The County Council's 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 request 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 Democratic and Member Services 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 further 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: members.services@hants.gov.uk.

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. Information centres in our libraries and the 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 please visit one of our libraries.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with the Contact Centre by:

phone: 0845 603 5638 or local number 01329 225398

email: info@hants.gov.uk

textphone: 0845 603 5625.