The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first virtual meeting of the Council and stated that the meeting was being recorded.
She expressed gratitude to the NHS and other emergency workers for their work during the Coronavirus epidemic and paid tribute to other critical workers. She also thanked officers within the South Kesteven District Council team who had worked to support local communities especially where demand for services had increased and where staff had been redeployed to help with the Council’s response. On behalf of all the Members she thanked everyone for their efforts. She also paid tribute to the role that Members were playing as part of the COVID-19 response, including those who had signed up to the befriending service supporting elderly and vulnerable residents and the other work Members had been doing to support their communities at this time.
A minute’s silence was held for all those who had lost their lives due to the Coronavirus and their families.
In commemoration of the VE day anniversary, a further minute’s silence was then held for all those who gave their lives, recognising that many of those who had been involved had come from Lincolnshire.
The Chairman then asked for silent reflection for two former Councillors who had recently passed away. Frank Turner and Alan Parkin had both been long serving members of the Council for the Barrowbygate area of Grantham. Frank Turner had been a Councillor from 2003 – 2019 and had been elected Mayor of Grantham twice in 2005 and 2013 and had been a member of the Licensing Committee from 2007 – 2019. Alan Parkin became a Councillor in 1995 and had served the Ward for 20 years retiring in 2015. During his time as a Councillor he had been either Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee and had been Mayor of Grantham in 1999 and Chairman of the Council in 2001. Both had died during the peak of the pandemic so funeral services were only for very close family. Members would be notified of memorial service details when they were known.
A minute’s silence was held to remember the former Councillors.
Members were informed that the meeting would follow the Covid19 Council procedure, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members with the agenda.
As it was the first meeting of full Council the Chief Executive had made an officer delegated decision to adopt the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. The procedures included the suspension of the public open forum, Members’ Open Questions and motions on notice for the meeting. The view had been taken that public confidence would be better served by having a well-run accessible meeting at which key information could be shared and urgent decisions made. Once Members were more comfortable with the arrangements for virtual meetings, the suspended items would be reinstated on the agenda.
Members were advised of practical arrangements for indicating that they would like to speak, the etiquette for the use of microphones and the arrangements for timing the length of speeches.