Members of Bromley’s urgency committee are set to green-light a plan to hold meetings remotely for the first time in the borough’s history.

The committee – which meets on rare occasions to discuss urgent decisions which would otherwise require a full meeting of council – is set to come together on Wednesday to discuss proposals to take the authority’s meetings online.

The committee last met in March when a raft of new measures to enable council business to continue during the coronavirus lockdown were waved through.

These included increased responsibilities for committee chairmen, giving them sole decision making powers on what items could be deferred from council business; while the chair could also cancel entire meetings at their discretion.

Since then, the Government has relaxed rules surrounding councils requiring meetings to be physically accessible to the public.

It means Bromley can follow other authorities across England in a move to holding council meetings online.

Members of the urgency committee – which includes council leader Colin Smith, Mayor Nicholas Bennett, Labour leader Angela Wilkins and Independent head Melanie Stevens – will now vote on a number of measures to be adopted alongside digital meetings.

The move would see all meetings outside of executive, resources and contracts, and development control suspended, while planning and licensing sub-committees would also go ahead.

The chief executive will be authorised to reinstate the full meeting programme at any time if the Mayor and the leader agree.

Council leader Colin Smith will also have decision-making power on what matters of the executive should be decided in public.

In a document to be viewed by councillors, members are given a dot-point ‘cheat sheet’ of “etiquette and advice” for virtual meetings.

Among the tips are that members should dress in a smart and business-like manner, despite broadcasting from home.

They’re also reminded to ensure “there is nothing in the background that would be inappropriate, or show something you don’t want members of the public to see”, such as pictures of children or other family members, posters or book titles.

Neighbouring boroughs Greenwich and Bexley are both scheduled to hold their first remote meetings on Tuesday. 

Bromley is due to hold its annual meeting on May 13,  although it’s yet to be announced if this will be the first meeting to be held remotely.