To make Group Parish Council meetings more accessible, open and transparent you can now listen to council meetings and raise matters with the council via the internet. You don’t need to go to the hall. The idea is to help people who may find it difficult to get to Cawley Hall when meetings are scheduled, for example on a wet and windy evening during the winter, when away from home, or because of a medical condition or disability.

The ability to use the internet in this way is the result of several months research and investment in new technology, including: broadband internet at Cawley Hall, dedicated conferencing hardware and Microsoft Office 365 for business, which includes Microsoft Teams.

The good news is that the only technology parishioners need to be able to ‘virtually attend’ council meetings is an internet connection and browser. Each council meeting will have a unique URL that you can use to access the meeting via your browser. To obtain the URL for the meeting you’d like to join online you’ll need to contact the Clerk who will email you the URL a few days before the council meeting. Then:

1. Click on the URL in your email from the Clerk, which will open a ‘Microsoft Teams’ page in your web browser;
2. Click the ‘Join on web’ dialog box on the Microsoft Teams page;
3. You will then be informed that you have been placed in a ‘lobby’;
4. Wait in the lobby, and you will then join the meeting just before the scheduled time of the meeting, usually 7.30pm;
5. On joining the meeting please remember that what you say can be heard by everyone at the meeting.

As you’d expect, the standing orders of the council will still apply whether you are online or physically at the meeting. This means that members of the public will need to be invited to speak by the Chairman. Public participation is usually requested under ‘Matters raised by residents’. Also, participation online is restricted to local people – you must be living in or have a business in the group parishes. Councillors will need to be physically present at meetings, so will be attending council meetings as usual.

Luston Group Parish Council.