In response to latest government restrictions, all Portsmouth City Council public decision meetings have been suspended until further notice.
From today, Tuesday 24 March, decisions on urgent items will be made by the council's Chief Executive Officer following consultation with elected councillors. This is because the law does not currently allow for councillors to make decisions other than at public meetings, and public meetings are not possible at the present time. Sometimes known as 'Gandalf powers', most councils have provision in their constitutions to allow their chief executive to make urgent decisions - in Portsmouth's case it is enshrined in Standing Order 58.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: "These are exceptional times and we need to be able to keep things moving as best we can for our city. We are providing services to many of the most vulnerable residents as well as supporting other agencies such as the NHS. The Chief Executive has consulted with all councillors on the way forward, and I believe has their full support. Hopefully the Government will bring forward new regulations as a matter of urgency that will allow councillors to take decisions without the requirement for public access.
We urge everyone to follow the latest government advice and only leave their home for the specific purposes advised by the government."
For the latest on changes to Portsmouth City Council services please check https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus
For the latest information from the government visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. For the latest information from the NHS visit www.nhs.co.uk