Our duties and services are managed by the elected councillors (known within the Council as 'members'). Important decisions are made and debates held in meetings which are normally open to the public.
You can find a list of council meetings here.
Speaking at council meetings
You are welcome to attend and listen. You can speak at 'Public Question Time' at any council public meeting, but you do need to give advance notice for some of them. You need to be aware that although your views are welcomed, you will not be able to take a direct part in the debate on any item unless directed otherwise by the Chair. Questions and/or statements are welcome on any subject on the agenda for the meeting. You may also present a petition on any matter within the remit of the particular group of members who are meeting.
How do I use it?
To speak at any of the Council's meetings, Committees or Cabinet meetings you need to submit your question or statement in writing, by 5pm three working days before the meeting date (which will be 5pm on a Thursday for a meeting that is being held on a Wednesday). The amount of time you will be given to speak will be limited, normally to three minutes, at the discretion of the Chair.
You can submit your question using this form.
What happens next?
The Chair of the particular meeting will decide how public participation is to proceed. In practice this means questions and statements are often taken at the time when your subject on the agenda is considered.
We try and ensure items of public interest are discussed early on in the agenda. Items on the agenda are not time restricted though, so you may have to wait until it is your time to speak.
To help their deliberation on a particular issue, the committee may invite witnesses and specific individuals with known expertise in advance to take a more active part in the discussion.
You can come and go at any time, but please try to avoid disrupting the meeting when leaving.
What is covered?
The agenda is normally published seven days before the meeting.
There may be an item on the agenda that cannot be debated in public for legal reasons (confidential and exempt items). During that item members of the public and press will be asked to leave the room.
Public meetings do not deal with individual complaints.
Where is it?
We hold meetings in a variety of locations and venues. Details of the venue will be provided with the agenda. When meetings are held at County Hall or Shire Hall in Taunton there is no parking available, so please use town centre public car parks. Taunton bus station is a few minutes walk and the Park & Ride services stop nearby.
When is it?
For a list of dates and times of council meetings please refer to the link in Related services.