Residents have a number of rights in their dealings with the council. These are set out in more detail in Chapter 3. Some of these are legal rights, whilst others depend on the council’s own processes.
Where members of the public use specific council services, for example as a parent of a school pupil or as a council tenant, they have additional rights. These are not covered in this Constitution.
Residents have the right to:
- vote at local elections if they are registered
- contact their local councillor about any matters of concern to them
- inspect, read and obtain a copy of the Constitution
- attend meetings of the council except where, for example, personal or confidential matters are being discussed
- petition the Council
- find out, from the Cabinet’s forward plan, what major decisions are to be discussed by the Cabinet or decided by the Cabinet or officers, and when
- see reports and background papers, and any record of decisions made by the council and Cabinet
- complain or make comments to the council about any of the services it provides, using the council’s complaints procedure (Make a suggestion, compliment or complaint)
- complain to the ombudsman if they think the council has not followed its procedures properly. Though, they should only do this after using the council’s own complaints process
- complain to the Monitoring Officer if they have evidence which they think shows that a councillor has not followed the council’s code of conduct (Complaining about a councillor) and
- inspect the council’s accounts and make their views known to the external auditor (within relevant legislation / regulations as published each year).
The council welcomes participation by its Residents in its work. For further information on your rights as a Resident, please contact the council’s Local Democracy Manager at Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth — Telephone 023 9283 4055.
The council has adopted rules, which are set out in Part 3 of this Constitution, regarding the availability of information relating to what the council, the Cabinet, committees and panels discuss. Before any meeting an agenda and supporting papers that are to be discussed will be available normally within 5 clear days before the meeting.
Residents can attend the meeting, and the council has also adopted rules that allow anyone to speak as a deputation on any matter that is included on the agenda for the meeting. Anyone wishing to speak must notify the Local Democracy Manager by 12 noon on the day before the meeting.
After the meeting, a record of the decisions (known as minutes) is prepared, and these are published. The agendas and minutes for all meetings are also available on the city council’s web site at http://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/ieDocHome.aspx?bcr=1