'Digital democracy' continues to be the norm for East Northants councillors

As one of the first councils in the county to hold a virtual meeting after lockdown, the authority has now held more than 35 meetings online

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 2:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 3:02 pm

East Northants Council (ENC) continues to embrace digital democracy with its virtual full council meeting taking place this week.

Members of ENC met virtually on Monday (October 26) for a leader’s update, to receive committee meeting minutes and reports from the past few months and to discuss the council’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

When the country went into lockdown in late March, ENC was one of the first councils in the county to hold a virtual council meeting.

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This full council meeting was no exception with councillors dialling in remotely and Cllr Helen Howell chairing the session.

Since the end of March, more than 35 ENC meetings have been held virtually and have included appointing a new chairman and re-electing ENC’s leader, plus day-to-day council work such as making planning decisions and supporting residents at this difficult time.

ENC leader Cllr Steven North said: “Council decisions must continue to be made and to be done so in an open and transparent way so by hosting virtual meetings, we remain accountable to our residents and businesses.

“At last night’s meeting, it was my honour to thank staff for the tremendous effort that they continue to put in to the coronavirus response and ensuring our most vulnerable residents are supported.

Cllr Helen Howell chaired this week's virtual meeting (pic credit: Peter Rondel)

“We also made time to focus on other local issues that remain important to our residents including our response to the Government’s White Paper on proposed changes to the planning system, the opening of the Enterprise Centre to help boost the local economy and the final round of the Community Facilities Fund which has been wrapped up with over £2.75 million of New Homes Bonus funding ploughed back into the community.”

All ENC councillors will next meet again in January 2021, before a final full civic council meeting at the end of March, just before East Northants Council is abolished and replaced with the new North Northamptonshire Council on April 1.

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