'We need people from all walks of life' - Hartlepool councillor's bid for more evening meetings

A councillor's plea to move more Hartlepool Borough Council meetings to an evening has been defeated.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 2:09 pm

Cllr Jonathan Brash, who is a teacher, called for some of the council’s finance and policy committee meetings, which are held at 10am, to be held outside normal working hours.

He said this would support people who work during the day and also allow more residents to attend.

A vote was held at the latest finance and policy meeting over moving half of the committee’s meetings to outside normal working hours after 5pm.

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Hartlepool borough councillor Jonathan Brash suggested moving more council meetings to beyond 5pm.
Hartlepool borough councillor Jonathan Brash suggested moving more council meetings to beyond 5pm.

Yet the motion was defeated by seven votes to three with one abstention.

Labour’s Cllr Brash said: “I don’t think elected office should merely be restricted to those who are available during the day.”

After the meeting, he added: “We need people from all walks of life to be involved in our council to bring their experience to decision making, both as elected members, but also residents coming along to be involved, and that should include people who work during the day.”

Numerous councillors said they were against the change due to personal commitments linked to looking after children.

Conservative Cllr Mike Young, the deputy council leader, added: “I think that anybody who is looking to be elected to become a councillor, you know what you’re walking into, and those decisions have to be made at that point.”

Denise McGuckin the council’s managing director, said some officers would have to be allowed time off during the day, or would be paid overtime, for attending evening meetings.

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