Torbay Council begins a new era in using video conferencing technology to allow public meetings to be held remotely. The web-based technology means that decision making by councillors in public meetings can be made during the current Covid-19 lockdown.
The agenda for the first virtual meeting is being published today (Thursday 7 May) for the Planning Committee which is due take place on Monday 18 May. The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 19 May and the Licensing Sub Committee and full Council, both to be held on Thursday 21 May, will also be held virtually.
Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council says “It’s really important that we maintain transparency about our decision-making process, particularly during this time of social distancing. The use of video conferencing systems have become the new norm now, and we really want to ensure that we are able to conduct business in an open way during these unprecedented times. Decisions can be made by councillors in a safe way, whilst also allowing the media and public to hear and view their deliberations in line with Public Health guidance.”
Meetings will be accessible to all through a Zoom meeting online and also with a telephone number for those without internet access. Details for how to join will be included on the meeting agendas. The public and media will be able to hear and see the meeting taking place as normal and people can still register to speak in the usual way at a number of meetings.
Instructions for the press and public for joining the meeting:
If you are using an iPad you will need to install Zoom which can be found in the App Store. You do not need to register for an account just install the software. You only need to install the software once. For other devices, you should just be taken directly to the meeting.
Joining a meeting:
Click on the link provided to you via email and follow the instructions on the screen. If you are using a telephone, dial the Zoom number provided in advance and follow the instructions. Note: if you are using a landline the call will cost up to 13p per minute and from a mobile between 3p and 55p if the number is not covered by your inclusive minutes.
You will be placed in a waiting room when the meeting starts the meeting Host will admit you. Please note if there are technical issues this might not be at the start time given on the agenda.
Upon entry, you will be muted and your video switched off so that only the meeting participants can be seen. When you join the meeting the Host will unmute your microphone, ask you to confirm your name and update your name as either public or press. Select the gallery view if you won’t see all the participants.
If you have joined the meeting via telephone, your telephone number will appear on the screen and will be displayed for all to see until the Host has confirmed your name and then they will rename your telephone number to either public or press.
Speaking at a Meeting:
When it is your turn to address the Meeting, the Chairman will invite you to speak giving the Host the instruction to unmute your microphone and switch your video on (where appropriate) therefore please pause for a couple of seconds to ensure your microphone is on.
Upon the conclusion of your speech/time limit, the Host will mute your microphone and turn off your video.
Meeting Etiquette – things to consider when speaking at public meetings on video:
Background – the meeting is public and people will be able to see what is behind you, therefore, consider what you will have on display behind you.
Camera angle – sit front on, upright with the device in front of you.
Who else is in the room – make sure you are in a position where nobody will enter the camera shot who doesn’t want to appear in the public meeting.
Background noise – try where possible to minimise background noise.
Aim to join the meeting 15 minutes before it is due to start.
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