A WELSH council has conducted some of its meetings remotely following the outbreak of the coronavirus, so why haven’t Gwent councils followed suit?

Powys County Council held its first remote meeting via Microsoft Teams last week, however subsequent meetings have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Under section four of the Local Government (Wales) Act 2011, councils have the power to hold meetings remotely, assuming several conditions are met - these include the ability to see and hear, and to be seen and heard by members in attendance.

However, the Welsh Government regulations mean that major decisions cannot be made or voted through in remote meetings.

With annual general meetings (AGMs) due to take place in May according to law, is there a chance that the Gwent councils could be holding these remotely?


There are two ways in which this could happen. The first, and most likely, is a relaxation in the laws by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government may choose to be more flexible with operations to allow councils to fulfil their local duties and make key decisions that would otherwise be made by full council or other committees. This could also include the ability for remote meetings to have voting powers.

The other would require a meeting of the full council, where at least half of the councillors are in attendance.

In the current climate this seems highly unlikely with the country in a situation just short of a lockdown.

But do the Gwent councils even need a change in constitution?

Here is what the five councils currently say in their constitutions about remote meetings.

Blaenau Gwent

Blaenau Gwent council does permit remote attendance at meetings; however, the constitution doesn’t mention scope for the whole meeting to be conducted remotely.


Caerphilly council’s rules and procedures does not allow remote attendance “of any meetings of the authority.”

For remote meetings to be held at the council either this rule would need to be changed or temporarily suspended from the constitution.


Like Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire County Council does permit remote attendance at meetings, but says nothing about a whole meeting being held remotely.

The constitution does allow for more than one member to be present remotely.

It says: “If there is more than one remote location, all the members attending remotely must be able to hear, but not necessarily see, the other remote attendees.”


There is nothing in Newport council’s constitution on remote attendance.


There is nothing in Torfaen council’s constitution on remote attendance.