What is a deputation?

Members of the public do not have automatic speaking rights at meetings of Council bodies, such as full Council, Cabinet or scrutiny committees. Instead, any individual or group wanting to address a Council meeting about an issue must make a request to speak in advance, known as making a deputation. After a deputation request is made, usually it is up to the Chair of the relevant body to decide whether to hear the deputation or not.

While the Council is holding remote meetings, existing rules with regard to deputations still apply but there are variations to our rules in light of current restrictions. You can find out more information on our remote meetings page.

Any person who would like to make a deputation, but cannot participate in the meeting due to technological barriers, may submit a written submission in lieu of a deputation.

Which body should I make my deputation request to?

Deputations to full Council must relate to the borough or a Council function. The Mayor decides whether deputations should be accepted, but can only take a maximum of three per meeting. As such they might refer your request to a different body. Deputations will not be accepted if they are on the same or a similar subject to a deputation heard in the last 3 months. Additionally, a deputation request may be rejected if the same deputation has been heard already at a different Council meeting.

Cabinet deputations must relate to an item on the agenda. For other bodies, such as scrutiny committees, deputations do not have to relate to an item on the agenda, but must relate to the functions of that body as listed in their terms of reference, which are set out in the Constitution

There are slightly different rules for deputations to Planning Committee, which are set out in our Planning Committee deputation pages.

Licensing Panels and the Licensing (Sexual Entertainment Venues) Sub-Committee do not take deputations but do have a procedure to allow those who have already made representations on applications to speak at hearings. More information on making a representation can be found on our licensing pages and for those who have made representations you can find out more information on our pages about speaking at licensing hearings.

Before making your deputation, you should consider which body makes decisions on the issue or is best placed to consider the matter. In addition, you should bear in mind that there are only 3 minutes per deputation at Council and Cabinet, but at other meetings there are usually 5 minutes to make a deputation and more time for discussion thereafter. Ultimately the decision on which body to submit your deputation to is yours, but if you would like any advice or are simply unsure about which body you want to address, then please contact Committee Services on 020 7974 1915.

What should I put in my deputation request?

Deputation requests have to be made in writing and should include:

  • A summary of the points you wish to make, including what action you would like the Council to take.
  • Contact details, including email address, of the person(s) or organisation(s) who will be addressing the meeting. For deputations to full Council, a maximum of 7 people are permitted in the deputation party.  However, please note that you must identify a single speaker for the deputation party in case of connection issues. If the identified speaker’s connection fails when the item under consideration is the item on which they have asked to address the committee, the meeting will be adjourned or the Chair may choose to move to another item if appropriate while the connection is re-established. Where the connection of another member of the deputation party is interrupted, the Chair will not ordinarily adjourn the meeting but will have the discretion to do so where considered appropriate.
  • Any photographs, pictures or other illustrative material that you want to refer to when making your deputation.

Bear in mind that any deputations that are accepted will be published on the Council's website and copies made for councillors and members of the public. You should read our Privacy Notice in respect of this.

Deputations for full Council can be made via email or by using our Council deputation submission form.

For other bodies, deputation statements should be sent to the clerk of the relevant body, preferably by email, before the deadline. It is strongly recommended that you submit your deputation requests via email as these can be picked up more quickly.

Deadlines

In order to give councillors and officers time to consider deputation requests, there is a deadline for requests to be made as follows:

Working days are Monday to Friday (not including bank holidays), so for Cabinet, normally a deputation must be received by 5pm on Monday for a meeting on a Wednesday. If the Monday was a bank holiday, then the request would need to be received by 5pm on the preceding Friday. Please feel free to contact us to clarify any deadlines.

Preparing for a remote meeting

If the deputation request is accepted, officers will publish the deputation statement on the Council's website and send the link to councillors.

Due to the way the technology works, as far as possible, deputees will need to provide an email address to join the meeting and have access to a device with Internet connectivity for the duration of the meeting. If a deputation request is accepted, deputees will be issued with details on how the join the remote meeting on Microsoft Teams as a participant. This is separate to simply hearing and watching the meeting as an observer.

Deputees must not forward the link to any other participants. Only those who have registered with the Council in advance will be admitted to the meeting as a participant. If you have an issue connecting, which means you need to attend with a different email address than that registered, then you must let the clerk know as soon as possible. 

It is recommended that in preparation for participating in a remote meeting, deputees should: 

  • Download the Microsoft Teams app. This should give you a better experience in participating but is not mandatory. You can also join on the web.
  • Ensure that you are located in an area where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
  • Test your broadband connection to ensure it is sufficiently stable to join the meeting. If your connection has low bandwidth, you might need to close any other applications you are using on your device and ask others using your broadband connection to disconnect their devices from the broadband for the duration of the meeting. If this does not help, you may wish to try connecting your device to your router using an Ethernet cable.
  • Ensure that your background is neutral – a blank wall is best – and that you are dressed appropriately for a meeting held in public. 
  • Ensure that the camera on the device that you are using is positioned to provide a clear, front-on view of your face. This may involve thinking about lighting in the room you are in – for example, sitting in front of a window may plunge your face into shadow – or putting your webcam, laptop or tablet on top of a couple of books so that you can look into the camera face on.
  • Ideally, you should use earphones or a headset to participate in meetings as it reduces the risk of feedback from using your device’s external speaker and reduces background noise from your surroundings.

The committee officer will be online 15 minutes before the meeting start time to give everyone time to join and deal with any technical challenges, so please try and join the meeting no later than 5 minutes before the formal meeting start time to make sure that everything is working. The clerk will check with each deputee that their audio and video connections are working. They will then ask you to mute yourself and turn off your video feed until your deputation is called.

Giving your deputation at a remote meeting

At the point at which your deputation is to be heard, you should unmute your microphone so that you can address the meeting. Once the allotted time has expired you will be asked by the Chair to bring your remarks to a close, mute yourself and turn off your video. Deputees may be asked to answer questions subsequently and should turn on their video and unmute themselves as needed.

The deputation will generally be heard as follows:

  1. The Chair will invite the speaker(s) to address the meeting (3 minutes for Council and Cabinet; 5 minutes for other bodies except for Planning Committee). The speaker(s) should make sure that their remarks are relevant and no personal attacks or defamatory statements are made. Speakers should also be mindful not to present personal data relating to third parties without their consent.
  2. Councillors can then ask questions (up to 3 minutes at Council and Cabinet; up to 5 minutes at other bodies), to which any member of the deputation can respond.
  3. What happens next depends on which meeting the deputation is at:
  • At full Council, the relevant Cabinet Member or committee chair will respond to the deputation in a speech lasting up to 3 minutes.
  • At Cabinet, an appropriate Cabinet Member will usually comment on the points raised by the deputation during the discussion on the relevant item on the agenda.
  • At other committees, officers will usually respond to the deputation and councillors may ask them questions and discuss the matter.

Deputations to remote meetings are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Mute your microphone and turn off your video when you are not talking in order to reduce bandwidth. The clerk may do this if you have left your microphone on.
  • Only speak when invited to do so by the Chair.
  • When speaking for the first time, please state your name.
  • While noting the time limits in place for deputations, keep your deputation and other contributions brief and to the point.
  • If referring to a specific page on the agenda, mention the page number.
  • Committee members will be using the ‘chat’ function to make requests to speak, to indicate that they are having a connection issue, or to make a request for a formal vote. Deputees should not however use the ‘chat’ function.
  • Once the deputation is over, the deputees should leave the call, although they can continue to watch via the public video stream of the meeting on the Council’s YouTube channel.

Any deputees causing disruption to the meeting – such as unmuting themselves and speaking when not asked, or using the ‘chat’ function, will be warned by the Chair and may be muted, or if deemed necessary, removed from the meeting. 

Interruptions to connections during remote meetings

You will need to identify a single speaker for the deputation party in case of connection issues. If the identified speaker’s connection fails when the item under consideration is that on which they have asked to address the committee, the meeting will be adjourned or the Chair may choose to move to another item if appropriate while the connection is re-established.  Where the connection of another member of the deputation party is interrupted, the Chair will not ordinarily adjourn the meeting but will have the discretion to do so where considered appropriate.

Exempt or confidential items

Occasionally, the committee may need to go into closed session to consider information that is confidential or exempt from publication. If this happens, the committee will pass a resolution to that effect, the public feed will be cut and any participant who is not a member of the committee will be asked to leave the meeting.  If you are asked to leave the meeting, please end your connection promptly. Any connections that are not ended promptly will be terminated by the committee officer.

When the meeting resumes, the clerk will advise via the chat function that you can rejoin the remote meeting.

Recordings

Remote meetings of the Council are capable of repeated viewing for up to six months on the Council’s website, which would include any deputations. Please note that by making a deputation your contribution will be recorded, including video when switched on, when addressing the meeting.
 

Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice relates to information supplied by you when submitting a deputation request or a written submission to a formal body of Camden Council.

Name and contact details of the data controller:

London Borough of Camden
Judd Street
London
WC1H 9JE
020 7974 4444

Who is our Data Protection Officer:

The Council’s Data Protection Officer is Andrew Maughan, who is the Council’s Borough Solicitor.  He can be contacted at dpo@camden.gov.uk.

What will we do with the information that you have provided to us?

Any data you have provided will be processed in such a way as to allow us to deal with your request to make a submission to a formal meeting of Camden Council and to reflect the Council's legal duty to allow public access to its formal meetings (except in limited circumstances where the press and public may be excluded).  We will only process the information provided to us for the purpose for which you have provided it.

Your name and address may appear in the papers of the council, committee or sub-committee meeting that you have asked to make a deputation to.  These papers are freely available on the Council’s website.

We will not transfer your personal data outside of the EU/EEA.

How long will we hold this information?

The Council has a legal and public interest obligation to retain records of all formal council, committee and sub-committee meetings, and this will include details of submissions made to those meetings.  More information is contained in the Council’s data retention schedule.

Your data subject rights

You have the right to request a copy of the information we hold about you, the right to ask us to rectify, erase or restrict processing of your data, the right to ask for data portability, the right to object to automated decision making, and if we are relying on consent the right to withdraw consent at any time.  There are some exemptions to these rights.  Please see our website and the ICO website for more information. To exercise these rights please use our web form on the website.

The right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority

You can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are unhappy with how the Council has handled your personal data.  It would be helpful if you contacted us first at dpo@camden.gov.uk to see if we can resolve the problem.  You can contact the ICO via casework@ico.org.uk, telephone on 0303 123 1113, or post to Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.