Public Participation at Meetings

Public forums are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters, not necessarily on the meeting’s agenda, to the attention of the local authority.

General Information and arranging a time to speak

Public forums are a defined period of time, usually at the start of an ordinary meeting, which, at the discretion of a meeting, is put aside for the purpose of public input.

Up to 30 minutes are reserved for public participation (public forum) at the beginning of every Council, Committee and Community Board Meeting.

Public forums are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters, not necessarily on the meeting’s agenda, to the attention of the local authority.

There are restrictions in public forum, the Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear a speaker or to terminate a presentation at any time where:

  • A speaker is repeating views presented by an earlier speaker at the same public forum;
  • The speaker is criticising elected members and/or staff;
  • The speaker is being repetitious, disrespectful or offensive; 
  • The speaker has previously spoken on the same issue; 
  • The matter is subject to legal proceedings; and
  • The matter is subject to a hearing, including the hearing of submissions where the local authority or committee sits in a quasi-judicial capacity.

At the conclusion of the presentation, with the permission of the Chairperson, elected members may ask questions of speakers. Questions are to be confined to obtaining information or clarification on matters raised by a speaker.

No resolutions Following the public forum no debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the forum unless related to items already on the agenda. (See the 2019 Guide to Standing Orders for suggestions of good practice in dealing with issues raised during a forum).

If you wish to address Council or its Committees during a public forum session please contact the relevant Committee Advisor. Links will redirect you to full details of each Community Board and Standing Committee. 


Contact :  Ariana Hay, Governance Team Leader

Community Boards

Standing Committees

Procedure of the day of the meeting

Each public participant will have five minutes to speak.

  • You can bring along written material supporting your position. Please ensure that enough copies are available for all Councillors, Community Board or Committee Members, please check with the Committee Secretary how many copies to bring.
  • You can obtain copies of agendas and reports at least two days before the meeting from Council, Service Centres or online.
  • Speakers can speak for up to 5 minutes. No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation during a public forum. Where the number of speakers presenting in the public forum exceeds 6 in total, the Chairperson has discretion to restrict the speaking time permitted for all presenters.

At the meeting

Council meetings are formal, so please follow these basic rules:

  • When you arrive, you will be greeted by the Committee Advisor who will show you where to stand when it is your time to address the meeting. If you have brought along written material, please provide it to them to distribute to Councillors, Community Board or Committee members.
  • At the start of the meeting the Chairperson will run through some housekeeping matters and will then move on to public participation.
  • It is important not to interrupt Councillors when they are speaking and not to speak until requested by the Chairperson. 


  • The Chairperson will advise you how long you have to speak. You will be timed so please be mindful of the time allocation.
  • The Chairperson may ask you to leave the meeting if your statement or behaviour is disrespectful or offensive.
  • When finished speaking, the Councillors or Committee members may want to ask you a few questions so that they can understand your position.

All question are recorded and included as part of the minutes of the meeting