Double time for public questions

In a move set to boost involvement in local democracy, residents of Brighton & Hove will have even more opportunity to ask questions of their councillors.

The council’s Strategy, Finance and Regeneration Committee will discuss making changes to the council’s constitution extending question time to 30 minutes from the current 15. 

If the 30 minutes runs out before all questions are asked, there will be a guaranteed written response, so no questions will be left unanswered.

Under the possible new rules, it’s also proposed that priority for public questions at council meetings be given to members of the public who have not asked a question in the previous six months. This aims to encourage and support people who do not normally engage in this way to do so.

Reports referred from other Council Committees for information only would also not be debated so that councillors can avoid duplication and focus on questions from the public and matters requiring decision.

Council Leader and Chair of the Committee, Councillor Bella Sankey said: “In our Council Plan for a “Better Brighton & Hove for all” we said that we would be a responsive council that listens to its communities.

“These proposed changes will help the council do just that by giving residents extra time for participating in local democracy and asking questions of those they elected.

“By prioritising people who have not asked questions before, the new arrangements will also help spread the opportunities for greater public involvement.

“The proposals will also help councillors focus on decision making for the important day-to-day issues that Brighton & Hove residents and businesses care about.”

If approved the proposals will go before a meeting of Full Council for approval.