Lewisham Council is due to hold its first virtual council meeting next week. 

On Thursday, April 30, the ‘urgency committee’ will meet for the eleventh time since the mayoral system was introduced in 2002. 

Urgency committees meet when a pressing issue needs to be passed ahead of the next full council meeting.  

Details of four times urgency committees met before are available online, once in 2004 to appoint a social care and health select committee member and an acting director for resources following a resignation. 

It met in 2007 to review an audit report of the council’s statement of accounts, which legally needed to be published before a certain date.  

It met in 2011 to appoint a chair and vice chair and to amend delegated duties, and privately in 2015 to discuss extending a lease for Millford Towers, which was due to be demolished in 2016.

All scheduled council meetings in Lewisham were cancelled on March 17 after social distancing rules were introduced by the Government, except for a mayoral meeting, which was held in private with cabinet members via video conference.  

The Government recently passed legislation to allow councils to hold meetings online amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The urgency committee will hold a virtual meeting next week, which will be open to the public, to approve the new arrangements. 

The council said the meetings will “ensure urgent decisions can continue to be made in a transparent and democratic way”. 

Cllr Kevin Bonavia, cabinet member for democracy, refugees and accountability said: “In the last few weeks, the council has worked under immense pressure, with many council staff being redeployed to ensure support for critical services, especially to our most vulnerable residents in the current pandemic.  

“In the meantime, I am pleased that in this time of essential social distancing, we are trying new ways to keep our local democracy functioning and accessible to the public.” 

Members of the public will be able to watch meetings via the council’s website and should contact the council if they want to make representations through the usual channels.  

The video conference meetings will be broadcast live using Public-i – the system it already usesfor webcasting.