Public participation in meetings

Public participation in meetings

All Chesterfield Borough Council meetings are open to the public and press to attend except where, for example, personal or confidential matters are being discussed.

The majority of business, however, is transacted in public. Agendas and reports for all council and committee meetings are made available to the public five days in advance. Minutes and details of decisions are also published on our website once available.

Where decisions are likely to be taken in private, this will be indicated on the agenda of the meeting. In addition, for decisions of Cabinet to be taken in private, 28 days' notice of those decisions will be given in the Forward Plan. Anyone wishing to make representations about why a decision should not be taken in private may do so by contacting Democratic Services at least five clear days before the meeting at which the decision is to be taken.

Participation can be in a number of ways depending on the meeting. You can also submit questions to council meetings and planning committee. For more advice on this, email or use the link below.

On 10 September 2012, the government introduced new regulations relating to council meetings and citizen’s access to information.

The full legislation is available online at: The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012

Part of this legislation offers new legal rights to "citizen reporters". This means that members of the public are afforded the same rights as accredited journalists to report on proceedings via online media (for example, blogs, social networking sites and hyperlocal news forums).

Responsibilities of the council

  • the council will publish a notice of a meeting dealing with a key decision matter on the website 28 days before the meeting is held, this notice is called the Forward Plan; the document will explain the key decision to be made plus any related documents and how to access these documents
  • in the case of a "special urgency decision", where 28 days' notice cannot be given, the council will publish a notice to explain the reasons why
  • the council will justify the decision to hold any meeting or part of a meeting in private and allow the public to make representation against this decision
  • for members of the public attending a meeting for the purpose of reporting the proceedings, the council will provide, as far as practicable, reasonable facilities 

Responsibilities of the public

By attending a public meeting of the Cabinet or individual Cabinet member, you are agreeing to these guidelines as a whole and in particular the stipulations listed below.

  • you are welcome to attend a public meeting to report proceedings, either in real time or after conclusion of the meeting, on a blog, social networking site, news forum or other online media 
  • you may use a laptop, tablet device or smartphone to record a written or audio transcript of proceedings during the meeting 
  • you must not interrupt proceedings and digital gadgets must be set to silent mode 
  • any person whose behaviour threatens to disrupt orderly conduct will be asked to leave 
  • be aware that libellous comments against the council, individual councillors or officers could result in legal action being taken against you 
  • personal attacks of any kind or offensive comments that target or disparage any ethnic, racial, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability status could also result in legal action being taken against you 

The council regards failing to comply with any of the guidelines above as a risk to the orderly conduct of a meeting. The council therefore reserves the right to refuse entry, to any further council meetings, to any person who breaches any of these requirements.


Most committee meetings and meetings of the council are held at the Town Hall in Chesterfield. The meeting rooms are all accessible to wheelchair users. Wheelchair access is available from Rose Hill East.

A reasonable number of copies of documents to be considered at meetings will be made available for the public attending the meeting. Copies of published agendas, public reports and the Forward Plan are also available to inspect on request at the Town Hall during normal office hours. Copies are available on request, and subject to a charge for the costs of photocopying.

A hearing loop system is available in the meeting rooms at the Town Hall.  

If you or someone you know needs to have information in a language other than English we can provide translation and interpretation but may need a few days to arrange these facilities.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty reading any council publication, these can be provided on request in large print or on audio tape. This may take a few days notice to arrange.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by the council and asks that we provide access to our information under a Publication Scheme. This sets out details of other information held by the council and which it makes available to the public or intends to make available in the future.

Related links

Find out more about speaking at council meetings.

Find out more about speaking at planning committee meetings.

Find out more about forthcoming key decisions to be taken by the council's Cabinet on the Forward Plan.

For further information, please contact at the Town Hall, Chesterfield S40 1LP. Phone: 01246 345227.

Last updated on 04 January 2024