This guide is to help you follow proceedings when you attend a meeting of the County Council.
The County Council normally meets six times a year. The February meeting sets the budget for the next financial year. The May meeting is the Annual Meeting when the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are appointed. Special meetings may be convened when required. Extraordinary meetings can be convened in accordance with the County Council's Constitution. The order of business and the procedure for debates at County Council meetings is governed by Standing Orders, which are part of the Constitution.
Before the formal meeting starts, there is a short service of prayer.
The agenda for the meeting is published on the County Council's meeting website. Copies of the agenda papers are available in the public gallery.
At ordinary meetings of the Council the minutes of the previous meeting are confirmed. If there are corrections to the minutes these can be dealt with but Members may not debate matters in the minutes. Minutes of Special and/or Extraordinary meetings are confirmed at the following ordinary meeting of the Council.
Members of the public may not speak at a Council meeting unless they have applied in advance to make a deputation, and then they may address the County Council on any matter within the Council's responsibilities. Read more about deputations and how to apply.
The County Council's Standing Orders allow the Chairman to give the County Council any information which he/she thinks they should have.
Standing Orders also allow the Leader of the Council to report on matters he/she wishes to bring before the Council.
Any member of the Council can give notice of a question to a member of the Cabinet (an Executive Member) on matters relating to the business of the Council. Members may ask one supplementary question. Thirty minutes in total is allowed for questions.
This item allows changes to the membership of the County Council's committees and panels, and to the County Council's representation on other bodies.
The Council considers recommendations made by its Cabinet, Leader, Executive Members and Committees. These are set out in the agenda papers in Part I.
Amendments can be made to Part I items; these must be moved and seconded. Each amendment and recommendation will be voted on. The Council usually debates the report and any amendments at the same time. At the end of the debate, the Council votes on amendments in the order in which they were moved. If they all fail, the original recommendation is voted upon by the Council.
Notices of motion are dealt with next. Any Member of the Council can submit a motion for a meeting of the County Council. A motion may either be dealt with or referred without debate to the Cabinet or the appropriate Executive Member or committee who will consider it and report back to the Council, usually at the next meeting.
During debate Members may propose amendments to motions. These must be moved and seconded. Debates follow the same procedure as for recommendations (see above).
The County Council is represented on the Hampshire Police Authority. The Council receives a report on the work of the Hampshire Police Authority. A member of the Council is nominated to answer questions on the content of the report. Questions on the discharge of the Police Authority's functions of which notice has been given (see 'Questions' above) are also dealt with.
The County Council receives a report on the work of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority. The Chairman of the Authority, if a County Councillor, presents the report and answers questions on its content. Questions on the discharge of the Authority's functions of which notice has been given (see 'Questions' above) are also dealt with.
Cabinet members and Committee Chairmen present their reports for the Council's information (Part II Reports).
The Chairman of the Council calls the paragraph numbers, Members may ask questions and, when questions have been dealt with, Members may call for a debate.