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Secretary of State indicates support for hybrid meetings Published Date: 06/02/2022

In Parliament, Dr Neil Hudson MP asked Michael Gove MP "Moving forward, will the Secretary of State look to allow parish councils to sit in virtual or hybrid format to increase and widen access and to help them work to the best of their ability?"

Dr Hudson cited examples of councillors in rural communities where there are significant challenges to attending meetings, such as transport, adverse weather, work and caring responsibilities. He commented that "In the pandemic, we have seen that the virtual or hybrid format works well."

Mr Gove said in reply:

"If during the pandemic we had not allowed councils to meet virtually, not only would we have impaired the effective working of local government, but we would never have known about Jackie Weaver and the country would have been the poorer for it. I commend the work of parish councils and others. I am strongly in sympathy with the view that hybrid meetings should continue in order to ensure the maximum amount of efficiency. There is a case for saying that certain significant local authority meetings should occur with all councillors present, but I want to proceed with the maximum amount of consensus to reflect the maximum level of efficiency and in particular of sensitivity to those who serve in constituencies such as my hon. Friend’s, where the rurality and dispersed nature of representation are important."