In-person council meetings to return today

Published: Wednesday, 19th May 2021

In-person Council meetings at Oxford Town Hall are to return, with coronavirus safety measures in place.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Council moved to online meetings, which were broadcast online to YouTube.

However, the Government confirmed that all councils would need to return to face-to-face meetings after May 6, after the legislation which allowed councils to hold virtual meetings was not extended.

In Oxford, this means in-person Council meetings will be restarting today (19/05), starting with Annual Council tonight – the first Council meeting following the May election results.

In person meetings

The meetings, which will now take place at Oxford Town Hall, will see councillors, and supporting officers, attending, as well as members of the public, any media who wish to attend.

In-person meetings will include Full Council, Cabinet, Licensing committees, and planning committees. However, some meetings such as Scrutiny panel meetings and some licensing sub-committee meetings will continue to be held over Zoom - so attendees are encouraged to check the agenda for the location.

Despite the return to in-person meetings, the Council will continue to livestream its meetings for those who wish to watch them online. The meetings will be broadcast live on to the City Council’s YouTube channel, which residents are able to watch on their computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Agenda papers and meeting dates and times can be found on our Council Meetings pages or by downloading the Modgov app from the app store on any Android, Apple or Windows 10 device.

In-person safety measures

The Council has implemented new measures for members of the public to follow for Council meetings, in order to ensure that social distancing and coronavirus safety measures are followed:

  • In-person meetings will be held in the Main Hall or Assembly Room at Oxford Town Hall in order to allow for social distancing during large meetings.
  • All attendees will need to wear a face mask at all times other than when invited to speak during a meeting, observe social distancing, and use the hand sanitiser which will be provided.
  • Members of the public and media are asked to arrive at least 10 minutes before the meeting, and will need to sanitise their hands and scan the QR code on the NHS track and trace app.
  • Members of the public who wish to speak at a meeting, will need to register in advance following the usual procedures.
  • Members of the public and the media will be able to watch a live stream of the meeting displayed in a different room within the Town Hall, or, subject to capacity, sit in the meeting room.

Upcoming in-person meetings scheduled for May are:

  • Wednesday 19 May at 5pm: Annual Council
  • Thursday 20 May at 6pm: Licensing and Gambling Acts Committee and General Purposes Licensing Committee.
  • Wednesday 26 May at 6pm: Planning Committee

“Along with other local councils up and down the country we asked the government to put in place measures to allow us to continue with online meetings after May. We had all noted the positive benefit of greater public engagement as well as the reduction in lost time for unnecessary travel and environmental impact of fewer travel miles. Unfortunately the government did not make the necessary changes to the law which means that Council meetings have reverted to their previous in person format. 

“In order to achieve this we have implemented measures in order to ensure the safety of the public, media, officers, and our councillors. We will also continue to livestream the meetings, so the meetings can be watched from home, or anywhere in the world. If you are interested in attending a Council meeting in person, please make you sure you are aware of the new measures that will be in place in order to ensure everyone’s safety.”Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council