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Taking a deputation

Taking a deputation to a council meeting

A deputation is made in person to councillors. Up to six people can form the deputation, including a nominated spokesperson.

You can take a deputation to council assembly, the cabinet and other council meetings.

What kind of question can be asked at council assembly or cabinet meetings?

The deputation can only relate to matters that fall within the responsibility of the council or where the council could be reasonably expected to lobby on behalf of residents.

People who have alternative ways of expressing their views through formal channels such as employees of the authority, trade unions representing staff employed by the authority etc should use those channels to raise issues. Deputations can only be made by people who are residents or work in the borough.

Before the meeting

Check the meetings schedule by consulting the council diary or by contacting the Constitutional Team.

Post or email your request to the relevant constitutional team officer no later than three clear working days before the day of the meeting.

Include an outline of what you want to cover in your deputation and the name and address of the person who will speak at the council meeting. We will let you know once we receive this and send you details of what happens before, during and after the meeting.

The council meeting that is to receive the deputation has the choice whether or not to receive the deputation.

Changes to the constitution now allow deputations to be taken on late and urgent items at cabinet meetings that have been added to the agenda after the usual deadline for deputations. At the meeting, the leader, or in his/her absence, the deputy leader has the discretion to decide whether or not to accept a late and urgent deputation. The process above must be used for deputations on late and urgent items.

At the meeting

The chair of the meeting will ask councillors to hear the deputation and, assuming they agree, you will be invited to speak for up to five minutes. Prepare what you want to say in advance so that you can get across all the points you want to make. Councillors may want to ask some questions afterwards so it's worth trying to think in advance of what they might ask you so you are prepared to answer. The spokesperson or any other member of the deputation can respond.

Although you cannot take part in any debate that follows your deputation, you may be invited to stay and listen.

After the meeting

The constitutional team will write to you formally communicating the decision of the council meeting.

Additional information

At council assembly meetings, a maximum of three deputations can be considered at any one meeting, and no more than three on any one item. Those deputations to be considered will be determined on the basis of the date and time they are received until the maximum number is reached.

The council meeting has discretion whether or not to receive the deputation.

Council members are not permitted to debate any issues arising from the deputation, or the item to which it relates, with members of the deputation.

Planning and licensing issues

Deputations will not be considered if it concerns approval or otherwise of a current planning or licensing application.

Any such representations should be addressed to the appropriate planning or licensing officers for consideration as part of the formal consultation on such applications.

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Constitutional Team

Tel: 020 7525 7225

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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