Information on attending a meeting in public as an observer

This guide aims to gives you some helpful information about attending a meeting in public of one of our committees. It has been developed to support the smooth running of these meetings.

A meeting in public is where members of the public can attend to observe a formal meeting of a committee or governing body. However, observers are not permitted to join in the discussion. It is different from a public meeting, which is an open forum to allow members of the public to ask questions and discuss issues with members of NHS Bradford District and Craven Commissioning Group (CCG). These are usually in relation to a specific topic.

In some cases, the Chair of a meeting in public may agree in advance that questions can be
taken at a dedicated point in the meeting (usually at the beginning or at the end of the
agenda). In some cases, we may request that questions are submitted to us before the
meeting. If this is the case, we will publish information on our websites about how to do this. This allows us to group similar questions together, answer as fully as possible, and make
best use of time.

The Chair will keep to the timing on the agenda to ensure all the items can be covered
sufficiently and therefore we may not be able to cover all questions. All public questions will be recorded in the minutes and responses will be published on our website alongside the minutes.

General information about meetings in public

Meeting etiquette

Please keep noise and distractions to a minimum during the meeting, to allow everyone attending to hear and follow what is happening in the meeting. Examples of things which can be distracting are:

  • participating in conversations whilst another person is speaking.
  • mobile telephones ringing during the meeting, we ask that you please switch your
    phone off or put it on silent mode.

Whilst the Chair and the members of the committee or governing body welcomes the public and press to attend the meeting, there is an expectation that the committee or governing body will be able to conduct its business without undue interruption.

Arrival

The meeting will begin promptly at the advertised time, so please arrive in plenty of time. On arrival at the meeting, you will be asked to sign in, so we can keep an accurate record of attendance.

Accessible venues

Venues for meetings in public will be chosen to ensure they have disabled access. Please let us know in advance if you have any specific accessibility requirements.

Microphones

To support everyone to hear speakers, there will be microphones in use at meetings in
public.

Recording and filming

The meeting will be recorded to support the minute takers with accurate documentation for
the official records and the Chair will make everyone aware of this at the start of the meeting.
In some instances, the meeting may also be filmed and may be streamed online. If you do
not wish to be filmed, please make a member of the meeting support team aware when you
arrive and sign in.

Refreshments

Where the venue allows, we will aim to make tea, coffee and water available for attendees.

Papers for the meeting

Our policy is to make meeting papers available digitally wherever possible to reduce our use
of paper. We hope people will be able to access papers online via the events page of our website.

If you do not have access to the internet and wish to see the papers in advance, please
contact us, and we will make arrangements for this.

If you would like a copy of the minutes to be sent to you after the meeting, please make a
member of support staff aware and leave your contact details.

The minutes of meetings in public will be published on our website.

Minutes will normally be approved at the next meeting of the committee or governing body and then published.

Queries before the meeting

Meetings in public will include a point of contact to get in touch with any queries. These will
be included as part of the venue and booking details provided ahead of the meeting.

Frequently asked questions

Who is in charge of the meeting?

The Chair of the committee or governing body is in charge of the meeting. It is the role of the
Chair to ensure that members can discuss the published agenda items in the time available.

It is the role of the Chair to facilitate a well-run and respectful meeting.

How will I know who the members of the meeting are?

The committee or governing body members will have name plates in front of them on the table and will be introduced at the start of the meeting.

What happens if the meeting is disrupted?

Whilst the Chair and the members of the committee or governing body welcomes the public and press to attend the meeting, there is an expectation that the committee or governing body will be able to conduct its business without undue interruption. Public bodies have a common law power to prevent members of the public entering a meeting if they have reasonable grounds for believing that they would disrupt the meeting by disorderly conduct and make it impossible for the body to conduct its business.

Also, if the Chair of the meeting considers that there is a risk that proceedings will be disrupted during the meeting, they can exercise the power during the course of the meeting. Whilst we do not expect such behaviour during meetings, we hope being clear from the outset about expectations will assist with the smooth running of the meeting.

Exclusion of Press and Public at Meetings of the Governing Body and the Primary Care Commissioning Committee

Meetings of the Governing Body and the Primary Care Commissioning Committee are held in public and the reports and other information to be considered at the meetings are published on the CCG website.

A very small number of items of business cannot be discussed in public because of their confidential nature, and the documentation relating to these cannot be made publicly available. These items are usually considered together towards the end of the meeting, so that any press and public present can observe all the other business before leaving.

The CCG has set criteria to determine when business should be treated in this way, and these are set out below. The application of the criteria is always subject to a public interest test:

  • information relating to any individual
  • information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual
  • information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
  • information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter
  • information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings
  • information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
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