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Asking a Question at a Meeting

How to submit a question to be answered by West Berkshire Councillors at a public meeting

Who can ask a question?

Any members of the public living or working in West Berkshire can ask a question at meetings of the ExecutiveCouncil and the Health and Wellbeing Board.

30 Minutes is open for questions at these meetings.

What questions can be asked?

You can ask a question on any subject relating to the work of the Council or the wellbeing of West Berkshire. 

Your question must be about a particular topic.

What can't be asked?

Questions should not be:

  • about a specific individual's personal circumstances;
  • defamatory, offensive or frivolous;
  • substantially the same as a question which has been put to a public meeting in the last six months;
  • requiring the disclosure of confidential information; and
  • a series of sub-questions.

Please note that no public or member questions, petitions or motions may be dealt with at the Annual Meeting of Council which is held in May.

When do I need to submit a question by?

  • If your question does relate to something that will already be discussed at the meeting: submit your question by 10am two working days before the meeting.
  • But if your question does not relate to something that will already be discussed at the meeting: submit your question by 10am seven working days before the meeting

Please note that 'working days' don't include the day the question is received or the day of the meeting (as well as bank holidays and weekends).

How do I submit a question?

There are three different ways you can submit a question:

  1. Online: complete and submit our online form
  2. Email: send your question to the Democratic Services Team
  3. In writing: to the Democratic Services Team at our offices in Market Street, Newbury. You can use our printable form Icon for doc printable form [209KB]  to help you do so

What if my question is accepted?

We'll contact you to acknowledge receipt of your question and to let you know the date of the meeting on which you will ask your question.

Information on attending the meeting will be sent to you.

Questions and their answers are recorded in the minutes of each meeting and can be viewed on the relevant webpage (links below).

How should I ask my question at the meeting?

You can now attend all our meetings in person or online via zoom.

Questions will be asked in the order they are received.

When invited to ask your question by the Chairman you should ask your question by saying "I ask my question as set out in the agenda". 

Your full question will be shown on the screen.

Answers to questions may take the form of a direct response from a Councillor, a reference to a publication containing the desired information, or a written answer (where a reply cannot conveniently be given orally, or because of a lack of time).

Someone asking a question in writing who chooses not to attend in person (and doesn't nominate someone else to do so for them) will receive a written response

If any person submits more than one question at a meeting, only their first question is guaranteed to be asked and answered.

If there's time after all other questions have been asked and answered, the Chairman might invite the questioner to ask their further questions.

Questions are asked in this way to help free up time for more questions.

Can I ask a follow up question?

Once your question has been answered you will have the opportunity to ask a follow up question (known as a supplementary question).

Your supplementary question should be relevant to the original question and must not be on a new subject. 

Following the answer from the relevant Councillor to your initial question, the Chairman will invite the questioner to ask a supplementary question if the questioner wishes to do so.

Can someone else ask a question on my behalf?

If you don't want to ask the question personally at the meeting, you can nominate someone else (eg a friend or your local Councillor) to ask it for you.

If this is the case, you need to notify us about this at the same time that you submit your question.

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