Deputations guidance questions and answers
Which Committee will hear Deputations?
Deputations will be heard by the Audit and Scrutiny Committee (see Committee details)
What issues should a deputation be about?
We will consider deputations that relate to matters within the responsibility of Scottish Borders Council or to the general well-being of the residents of the Scottish Borders. Community organisations or groups should be able to show that there is a public interest in the issue they are raising.
How do I submit a deputation request?
You should put forward your deputation on a standard form. This is available in paper format from the Clerk to the Council. You can also download the deputations submission form, complete and submit on-line, or print it off and post to the Clerk.
What must the deputation form include?
The deputation form should be titled and include a clear statement (no more than 250 words) which covers the main issue. Any further information, e.g. about measures already taken or approaches made to other bodies, or which you wish the Committee to consider at the meeting should be included but limited to no more than 4 sides of A4 paper.
The form should include the name, contact details and signature of the principal representative of the community organisation or group. No deputation will be accepted from a political party.
Can a deputation be heard from a business?
Unless a deputation is from a recognised Chamber of Commerce or other business grouping, then a petition is the process which should be used by businesses.
Are there issues that will not be considered?
We will not accept deputations where there are already regulatory procedures in place or the matter relates to individuals. Deputations will therefore not be accepted about:
- planning, licensing or other matters where there are already procedures in place
- a complaint or grievance which should go through the Council’s complaints procedure
- personal or business issues
- commercially sensitive or confidential material
- individual Councillors, members of Council staff or other individuals who may be easily identified
- employees’ terms and conditions of employment
- information which is protected by an interdict or court order
- an allegation that someone or an organisation has broken the law
We will also not accept deputations which:
- contain language which is defamatory, offensive, provocative or otherwise inappropriate
- relate wholly to the business of another organisation
- relate to a decision made by the Council or a committee during the preceding six months; or
- are identical or similar to other deputations considered during the preceding 12 months
Are the meetings open to the public and will I be invited to speak?
The meetings are held in public. However if we think any issue is confidential that part of the meeting will be held in private.
The principal representative of the community organisation or group will be expected to speak at the meeting, although he/she should indicate on the form whether more than one representative wishes to speak. It will be normal practice to allow this but it is at the discretion of the Chairman.
We will try to give an approximate time when we are likely to consider your deputation. Any deputation shall not exceed 10 people in number. Unless the Chairman decides otherwise only one speaker shall be heard and the time allowed to make a statement will be limited to 10 minutes. The speaker should also be prepared to answer questions at the meeting from Councillors and those invited to be present.
What action will be taken when my deputation has been heard?
The Audit and Scrutiny Committee will make a decision and do one of the following:
- refer the subject matter of the deputation to another Committee or Director, with or without a recommendation or comment
- refer the subject matter of the deputation to the relevant Community Planning Partner, with or without a recommendation or comment, if appropriate
- take no further action and give a reason for this
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Those signing a deputation form should be aware that the detail of the deputation and the names and addresses of any signatories (but not their signatures) will be available for public access on our website as part of the agenda pack for the meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.
How will I hear what has been decided about my deputation?
The decision of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, and any reason for that decision, will be recorded in the minute of the meeting and a copy of that minute will be sent to you. Should the subject of your deputation have been referred to another person or organisation you should receive further communication from that source.
There will be no right of appeal in response to a final decision made in response to a deputation and no right for a deputation representative to address any other Committee of Council.