Speaking at a County Council meeting

Speaking at a meeting or decision day is known as ‘making a deputation’

Formal meetings of the Full Council, the Cabinet, committees and panels, and individual executive member decision days are open to the public to observe. Although members of the public cannot take part in the debates and discussions, you can request to speak. If you are considering making a deputation, please review the information provided below.

The full procedure for making a deputation is explained in Standing Order 12 of the Council’s Constitution.

Find out if the topic you want to speak about is on the agenda

If the topic you wish to speak about is due to be on the agenda for a meeting of any committee or panel of the Council, Cabinet or when individual Executive Members make decisions, you can apply to make a deputation. You can view agendas for upcoming meetings and Executive Member decision days on Hantsweb or contact Democratic & Members Services: members.services@hants.gov.uk.

Agendas are published in advance and are normally available on our website five clear working days before each meeting. The County Council (0300 555 1375) can also give you dates, times and venues of future meetings.

If the topic you wish to speak about is not on the agenda, but is related to any services the County Council has responsibility for, you can apply to speak at a meeting of the Full County Council. However, please note that the deputation procedure should not be used for individual service specific issues or complaints, as there are established procedures for dealing with these through the County Council’s Corporate Complaints Procedure. The County Council also has legal responsibilities under the data protection principles, which forbid publication of sensitive and other personal information.

Eligibility to make a deputation

Generally anyone who is on the electoral register in the Hampshire County Council administrative area can apply. If you are uncertain whether you are on the register or not, you can check with your local district council, who prepares and maintains the electoral register. In addition, children aged seven years or older can apply.  Please note that there are some additional application requirements for children of compulsory school age who wish to speak set out at Paragraph 7 below.

Elected councillors (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 within their organisations.

If you have already made a deputation on a particular topic, you may not make another deputation on the same or similar topic for six months.

The judicial nature of the Regulatory Committee when it is considering planning applications means that the deputation procedure operates a little differently. Speaking at a Regulatory Committee meeting is 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 capacity, 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.

Number of people who can form a deputation

You can apply to make a deputation on your own or as part of a group of up to four people. If you are attending with up to three others, each person can take part, sharing the time available.

Others can attend to observe proceedings. If possible, please notify Democratic & Member Services of large groups of observers.

What to expect

Each deputation (of up to four people) will have up to 10 minutes in total to speak. Up to one hour is allowed for deputations. Depending on the number of deputations, time for individual deputations may be reduced on a proportional basis in order to fit within the hour.

Deputations are normally taken at the beginning of the meeting. You will be invited to speak and asked to keep to 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 decision if applicable.

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.

Other ways to make your views heard

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 for councillors. You may also wish to get in touch direct with your local county councillor, the relevant Executive Member or the Chairman of the appropriate committee. 

Timescales for requesting to make a deputation

Your written request to make a deputation must reach us at least 10 clear working days beforehand if you want to address the Full County Council, or three clear working days beforehand if you want to address the Cabinet, an executive member decision day or a committee or panel. Remember that weekends and bank holidays are not counted when calculating ‘clear working days’.

Applying to make a deputation

Applications to make a deputation must be in writing; by email, or by post, or via the online application form below.

Any deputation request received from a child of compulsory school age must be accompanied by:

  • written consent from the parent of or person with Parental Responsibility for the child to make the deputation. If the application is for a County Council or Cabinet meeting, this must include consent to the deputation being filmed and broadcast both live and after the meeting.
  • (if the meeting is in school time) written consent from the Headteacher of the child’s school

If the above written consents are not supplied with the application to speak and within the set timescales to make an application, it will not be possible to accept the application. For safeguarding reasons, a deputation request may also be refused in cases where, in the opinion of the Director of Children’s Services, it is not in the best interests of the child to make the deputation.

Please contact us for further information, or to apply to make a deputation.

By post:
Democratic and Member Services
Corporate Services Department
Hampshire County Council
The Castle, Winchester
SO23 8UJ

Email members.services@hants.gov.uk

Phone 01962 845751