Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to ask a public question to council

How to ask a public question to council
Following up on what I said at this meeting about public questions to council, the information is quite well hidden on the council's web site (rather like this comment is on marchonstoke's web site):

Follow the instructions at the above link and fill in the form which can be obtained at the bottom of that page.
It is still very much as clear as mud and can be very confusing at council.
For example where is the 'advice note' referred to on the form? I've no idea. Also, what really baffles people and isn't explained is that your question submitted on the form is NOT the one you ask if you turn up at council. The one you submit is answered in writing ahead of the council meeting, here are some examples:

What happens at the council meeting
You are told when you get your written answer that you may ask a SUPPLEMENTARY question, limited to 50 words. That is the one you ask in person at the council meeting. It's quite likely you will think of a supplementary question because their 'answer' will be poor or a related question occurs to you. You actually get to speak very little, but at least it's a chance and can put them on the spot. For example see mine at time (0:40:08) 
It's also possible it can lead to a meeting or referral to scrutiny.
The half hour mentioned at the March on Stoke meeting is the total time limit on ALL the public's supplementary questions and the leader and cabinet's answers.
What questions to ask
There would be no point lots of people asking the same question (they would be rejected) but people may wish to ask different questions related to moving the civic to Hanley, the CBD, cuts, or anything at all that the council has to do with.
For 'ordinary' full council 5.30pm 4th July, public question forms need to be submitted any time before 12pm 13th June.

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