Birmingham residents are to be allowed more open local government.
Question Time will be coming to Birmingham city council from this month, as residents will be able to challenge council leaders directly – in person and in public – at a session during the full city council meeting.
Introduced by new council leader Sir Albert Bore, members of the public will be able to ask any Cabinet Member or District Committee Chairman questions during a 20-minute session at the beginning of each of the monthly full council meetings. Sir Albert is keen to encourage as many people as possible to submit questions – via email or post – for the next meeting on Tuesday 12th June, saying With my new leadership comes a new style of engagement and participation with the residents of Birmingham. I want people to be involved with us in governing their city and I want to hear questions about the city council and the services we provide, and we will do our best to answer them.”
Residents who want to take part should email their question (which must refer to an issue which affects Birmingham or falls within the council’s responsibilities) and contact details no later than 12 noon on the day before the full council meeting (Monday 11th June 2012) to Council.Team@birmingham.gov.uk or send them in by post to The Council Team, Room B19, the Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB.
Once the question has been agreed, the individual will be contacted with the arrangements for full council and invited to attend and ask their question with a microphone from the public gallery in the council chamber.
The entire question time section of full council has been extended from half-an-hour (30 minutes) to an hour-and-a-half (90 minutes), of which the first 20 minutes is questions from the public. It is one of the first items on the agenda and the three remaining sections of the question time will be questions from councillors to a) committee chairman or lead member of a joint board; b) a cabinet member; and c) the Leader or Deputy Leader.