Public information sheet

Inspection of Papers/Register of Member Interests
You can find papers for all our meetings on our website at www.somerset.gov.uk

Please contact Patricia Jones, Senior Democratic Services Officer on telephone: 01275 885788 if you wish to inspect the papers or the Statutory Register of Member’s Interests.

Public Question Time
Members of the public may make a written statement to a meeting provided the statement:-

  • is received by the Democratic Services Team/Patricia Jones no later than 12.00 noon on the working day before the meeting
  • concerns a matter the Panel has responsibility for
  • is not defamatory, frivolous, vexatious or offensive
  • is no longer than one side of A4 paper. For copyright reasons, we are unable to reproduce or publish newspaper or magazine articles that may be attached to statements.

Members of the public may ask up to 2 questions. Questions should not require the disclosure of confidential information or repeat a question submitted on a previous occasion. We aim to provide an answer at the meeting.

There is an on-line contact form on the Panel’s website which you can complete Link

Alternatively, statements or questions should be e-mailed to PLJones@somerset.gov.uk or sent to Somerset County Council, Community Governance Team, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY.

By participating in Public Question Time, we will assume that you have consented to your name and the details of your submission being recorded and made available at the meeting to which it relates and placed in the official minute book as a public record.

We will try to remove personal information such as contact details. However, because of time constraints we cannot guarantee this, and you may therefore wish to consider if your statement contains information that you would prefer not to be in the public domain.

Process during the meeting:

  • Public Question Time is normally one of the first items on the agenda. If a statement concerns a specific item on the agenda, it may be taken just before the item concerned.
  • The Chair will call each submission in turn. When you are invited to speak, please make sure that your presentation focuses on the key issues that you would like Members to consider. This will have the greatest impact.
  • You may direct any questions or comments through the Chairman. You may not take direct part in the debate.
  • Your time allocation may have to be strictly limited if there are a lot of submissions before the meeting.
  • You do not have to speak or even attend the meeting at which your submission is being taken. It will nevertheless be noted by Members and an response will be provided to your question(s).

Emergency Evacuation Procedure
In the event of a fire alarm sounding, you are requested to leave the building via the nearest available signposted emergency exit and make your way to one of the assembly points around the building. Officers and councillors will be on hand to assist.

Excluding the Press and Public
Occasionally, there will be items on the agenda that cannot be debated in public for legal reasons and these will be highlighted on the agenda as appropriate. In these circumstances, the public and press will be asked to leave the room and the Panel will go into Private Session.

Recording of Meetings
Somerset County Council supports the principles of openness and transparency. It allows filming, recording and taking photographs at its meetings that are open to the public providing it is done in a non-disruptive manner. Members of the public may use Facebook and Twitter or other forms of social media to report on proceedings and a designated area will be provided for anyone who wishing to film part or all of the proceedings. No filming or recording will take place when the press and public are excluded for that part of the meeting. As a matter of courtesy to the public, anyone wishing to film or record proceedings is asked to provide reasonable notice to the clerk so that the Chairman can inform those present at the start of the meeting.

We would ask that, as far as possible, members of the public are not filmed unless they are playing an active role such as speaking within a meeting and there may be occasions when speaking members of the public request not to be filmed.