This page provides information about attending a meeting in public.
A meeting in public is where members of the public can attend to observe a formal meeting. However, observers are not permitted to join in the discussion.
These are different from public meetings, which are open forums to allow members of the public to ask questions and discuss issues with members of the NHS in Kent and Medway – usually on a specific topic.
For meetings in public, questions related to items on the agenda can be submitted in advance. Details are provided on the individual event pages for each meeting.
The Chair will keep to the timing on the agenda to make sure all items of business can be covered. This may mean not all questions can be covered in the meeting. Responses to all questions relevant to the agenda will be provided as part of the formal minutes of the meeting.
As meetings in public are being held virtually, please make sure you read the meeting etiquette section below before joining one of our online meetings.
We use Microsoft Teams for our virtual meetings which does rely on observers managing their own video and microphone settings. Please make sure your microphone and camera are switched off. This will help prevent any unintended disruptions to the meeting.
You can find the camera and microphone buttons on the MS Teams toolbar. When muted or switched off, they will appear with a line through them. In the below image, the camera is off but the microphone is on.
Please note: The chat function in virtual meetings will only be used for members of the committee to signal to the chair that they wish to make a comment. Please do not post questions or comments into the chat function.
The chair of the committee or board is in charge of the meeting. It is their role to make sure members can discuss the published agenda items in the time available. The chair is also responsible for making sure it is a well-run and respectful meeting.
We will make the papers available online one week before the date of the meeting. You can find the papers to a meeting in public by searching for and selecting the particular meeting in the event section of this website.
If you cannot access the papers online, or require them in an alternative format, please contact us.
The minutes of meetings in public will be published on our website, this is normally as part of the papers of the next meeting of the committee or board.
During virtual meetings there will be a role call of the committee members at the start of the session and members will be asked to confirm their name and have their camera on when making comments.
Members may turn their cameras off when not speaking as this can help with connection speeds.
The event information will include a contact email for requesting a link to the virtual meeting and for submitting questions related to agenda items.
While we do not expect disruptive behaviour at our meetings held in public, we hope being clear about expectations will assist with them running smoothly.
In normal face to face meetings in public the organisation has a common law power to prevent members of the public entering a meeting if they have reasonable grounds for believing they would disrupt the meeting by disorderly conduct and make it impossible for the body to conduct its business.
Also, if the chair of the meeting considers behaviours of observers are disrupting the meeting, they can exercise the power during the course of the meeting.
In virtual meetings if there was significant intentional disruption we may either disconnect and individual from the meeting or close the meeting and reconvene with a private link for committee members only.