COUNCILLORS will not be returning to the chamber at Penmorfa “for a long time” especially as cases of Covid-19 are higher now than at the beginning of lockdown.
Corporate lead officer for democratic services Lowri Edwards said on Thursday (October 15) that the decision of the county council’s gold command that staff and members work from home wherever possible – in line with Welsh Government guidance – still stands.
Members of the democratic services committee received a report on the remote meetings system which has been in place since legislation was push through by Welsh Government due to lockdown in March.
“We won’t be back in the chamber for a long time. The situation we are in at the moment means we will be working from home for a longer period again, so this is how it’s going to be for a long time coming,” she added.
Ceredigion County Council has been live-streaming its full council and cabinet meetings in English and Welsh on Facebook with public and press access to committee meetings on Zoom.
Committee chairman Cllr Ceredig Davies said given the situation the council had “succeeded in upholding democracy holding meetings in this way.”
Site inspection panel meetings will also not be restarted, with a video used to dhow members a site at development control this week, with the Covid-19 situation “worse in Ceredigion than when we went into lockdown.”
Technical difficulties with remote meetings were highlighted and acknowledged to be a universal problem for users across the country however overall the system was working adequately.
There are also plans in place to move towards a “hybrid” system which would allow some councillors and officers to attended meetings remotely and some in the chamber once Welsh Government guidelines allow it.