The measures South Tyneside Council put in place to make its first 'in person' meeting in over a year Covid safe

South Tyneside Council has made a return to ‘in-person’ meetings again with a range of Covid-19 measures to keep councillors and the public safe.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 5:07 pm
South Tyneside Council meeting of full council held at Temple Park Centre, South Shields. (Picture: South Tyneside Council)

Town hall business resumed on Tuesday, May 18, following a break for local elections with the council’s annual meeting kicking off the municipal year.

The meeting marked the first in-person gathering of the council for more than a year, after the coronavirus pandemic forced proceedings to be held online.

As legislation allowing councils to hold remote meetings expired earlier in May 2021, local authorities across the country have been forced to use alternative venues to make larger meetings Covid-safe.

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South Tyneside Council meeting of full council held at Temple Park Centre, South Shields. (Picture: South Tyneside Council)

South Tyneside Council’s annual meeting, which normally summons all 54 elected councillors and a range of officers to the town hall, took place at Temple Park Leisure Centre this week.

A range of restrictions were in place at the venue including social distancing, the requirement to wear face coverings, one-way systems and a limit on public attendance.

The local authority also made arrangements for the meeting to be filmed and broadcast live on its YouTube channel.

Council business, such as the appointment of new Mayor Pat Hay and Deputy Mayor Joe Amar and changes to the council constitution, were carried out without any technical issues on the night.

South Tyneside Council meeting of full council held at Temple Park Centre, South Shields. (Picture: South Tyneside Council)

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said that council officers and elected members had “risen to the challenge.”

The spokesperson added: “Pulling together an event like this has been a Herculean effort.

“Having the flexibility to continue to meet virtually would have always been our preference at this moment in time but officers and elected members have risen to the challenge.

“Whilst a meeting with so many people provides challenges, we had undertaken meticulous planning to deliver it in a Covid-secure way.

“We also took measures to ensure that the meeting would still be streamed online, so that those who wished to stay at home could still engage with democracy.”

As well as appointing the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor, the meeting also saw the members of the council’s cabinet revealed.

For more information on upcoming council meetings, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/60650/Upcoming-committee-meetings

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