How council works

Hearings process

Attending a hearing

If you make a submission to a council consultation, you may be asked if you would like to attend a hearing. This means that you will be able to present a summary of your submission to a hearing panel of elected representatives who may then have questions they would like to ask you.

The following is some information about what you can expect at a hearing.

How do I attend a hearing?

Tick the box on the submission form that says you would like to speak at a hearing in support of your submission.

A schedule of hearings will be produced once it is known how many people would like to speak. You will then be contacted by the council to confirm dates, locations and times. You can decide not to attend a hearing at any stage, but it is helpful if you can let the council know so that the hearings can be rescheduled as necessary.

Please ensure that you provide a daytime phone number and email address on your submission form to ensure that the council can reach you easily.

Where and when will the hearings take place?

The location of hearings will depend on the project, some hearings may take place within the local board area, and others will be held at a sub-regional or regional level.

The hearings generally take place during the working week.

What happens when I arrive?

Your details will be taken by the hearings co-ordinator and you will take a seat in the public seating area.When it is time for you to speak, you are likely to be asked to stand and talk through a microphone.

Who will be there to hear my submission?

Usually, your submission will be heard by elected representatives – this may be local board members or councillors. The names of those who are on the hearing panel will be clearly displayed. In addition, there will usually be council officers who may take notes or be there to provide answers to specific questions.

The hearings are open to members of the public so other members of the public may attend, and the media are also invited.

Sometimes, the hearing is also filmed or taped. You will be advised if this is happening at the hearing.

What should I say at the hearing?

You should give a brief summary of your submission. You should not read the whole submission, nor should you use this as an opportunity to talk about different issues.

Each person who wants to speak at a hearing is likely to be given between 5-10 minutes to speak and to answer questions asked by the hearing panel. More than one person can speak in support of a submission but there is a fixed amount of time for each submission so you will need to share the time-slot.

You will be advised how long you will have to speak when the council confirms the hearing arrangements with you. This is likely to depend on how many other people are interested in speaking.

How do I find out what other people are speaking about?

Information on the submissions received will be made available on the council’s website a few days before the hearing.

Will there be parking?

This will depend on the venue. Some venues may have allocated parking spaces or free passes for car-parks. You should receive information about this when you receive confirmation of your hearing details.

What do I do if I change my mind about coming to a hearing?

We will acknowledge your submission providing an opportunity to change your mind and providing contact details to do so.

This gives you the opportunity to attend a hearing even if you said ‘no’ on the submission form, or to change your mind if you said ‘yes’ on the submission form.

What happens after the hearing?

The council will consider all the information it receives through the written submissions and verbal hearings.

It will take into account the feedback it received and decide whether any changes will need to be made to the draft policy to reflect that feedback.

The final policy will be published on the council’s website.

Everyone who made either a written or verbal submission will receive a letter to say thank you for taking part and to let them know what changes were made to the draft policy as result of the feedback.

Your feedback helps us to improve our website. If you have feedback about our services (not the website), please contact us.