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How do I ask a question at a council meeting?

Can I ask a question at a council meeting?

Members of the press and residents of Thanet can ask questions at ordinary meetings of Council; the exceptions being the annual budget-setting meeting (usually at the beginning of February) and extraodrinary meetings.

A question must be submitted by the person who will ask the question at the Council meeting and not someone else on the questioner’s behalf.

How soon before the meeting should I submit my question?

The Committee Services & Manager must receive your question at least five full working days before the date of the meeting. Saturdays and Sundays and bank holidays do not count as ‘working days’.  

The dates by which questions should be received for future ordinary meetings of Council are:

Date of ordinary meeting of council

Time by which your question should be received

Thursday, 12 April 2018

5.30 pm, Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Annual Meeting – no opportunity to submit questions

Thursday, 12 July 2018

5.30 pm, Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Thursday, 6 September 2018

5.30 pm, Wednesday, 28 July 2018

What information should I include?

Your question must not be more than fifty words.  You must give your name, address and the name of the Cabinet Member your question is for.  To find out whom you should ask, please click on cabinet posts. For help, please contact Democratic Services on 01843 577500 or email committee@thanet.gov.uk .

Your address will only be used to identify that you are a Thanet resident entitled to ask a question at a council meeting.

How do I submit my question?

Please either email your question to:

committee@thanet.gov.uk

or post it to:

the Committee Services Manager, Council Offices, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT10 1XZ.

Can I ask more than one question?

You can only ask one question at one meeting.

Could my question be rejected?

The Chief Executive will reject your question if:

  • it is not about a matter which the council has responsibility for, or if the matter does not affect the council district;
  • it is defamatory, frivolous or offensive;
  • it is largely the same as a question which has been put at a council meeting in the past six months;
  • it requires the disclosure of confidential or exempt information;
  • you are not a resident of Thanet
  • it relates to an individual planning or licensing application.

We will write to you to explain why, if your question is rejected.

Will my question be published?

Every question is entered into a book open for public inspection at Thanet Gateway Plus, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1RE.    It will also published on the agenda for the council meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Is there a time limit?

There is a 30-minute time limit for taking and answering questions at an ordinary meeting of Council.  

Questions will be taken in the order in which they are received, except that the Chairman may group together similar questions.

Any questions that cannot be asked within the time limit will be answered in writing as soon as possible after the meeting.

When and where are ordinary council meetings held?

Council meetings are usually held at 7.00 pm on a Thursday, in the Council Chamber (3rd floor), Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate.

To view future meeting dates, please click on browse meetings.

What time should I arrive?

Please arrive by 6.45 pm so that a member of staff can brief you on what will happen.

What will happen at the meeting?

When the time comes to ask your question, the Chairman will invite you to the top table in the Council Chamber.   When asking your question, you should state only the name of the Cabinet Member your question is for and read out the exact wording of the question that you submitted.  The Member will then answer your question, but you will not be able to ask a supplementary question.

What if the Cabinet Member my question is addressed to is not present at the meeting?

Your question will be answered by the Leader of Councilor another Member nominated by the Leader, unless it is inappropriate for the Leader or another Member to answer, in which case you will be sent a written answer.

What if I cannot attend the meeting to ask my question?

Your question will not be put, but you will receive a written response as soon as possible after the meeting.

If you want to find out more, please phone 01843 577500 or email committee@thanet.gov.uk