Meeting Rules and Etiquette

Meeting Rules

Standing orders contain rules for the conduct of the proceedings of local authorities, committees and community boards. Their purpose is to enable local authorities to exercise their decision-making responsibilities in a transparent, inclusive and lawful manner.

The Standing Orders adopted for Council and Community Boards are listed below:
Council-Standing-Orders-2022.pdf(PDF, 794KB)
Community-Board-Standing-Orders.pdf(PDF, 752KB)

Participation at Public Meetings

Members of the Public can participate in public meetings by registering to speak at the Public Forum either in person or online via Microsoft Teams.

Public forums are a defined period of time, up to 30 minutes, usually at the start of an ordinary meeting and are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters, not necessarily on the meeting’s agenda, to the attention of the local authority.

You can bring along written material supporting your position. Please ensure that enough copies are available for all elected members, please check with the appropriate Advisor how many copies to bring.

At the conclusion of the presentations, with the permission of the Chairperson, elected members may ask questions of speakers. Questions are to be confined to obtaining information or clarification on matters raised by a speaker.


The Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear a speaker or to terminate a presentation at any time where:

  • a speaker is repeating views presented by an earlier speaker at the same public forum
  • the speaker is criticising elected members and/or staff
  • The speaker is being repetitious, disrespectful or offensive; 
  • The speaker has previously spoken on the same issue; 
  • The matter is subject to legal proceedings; and
  • The matter is subject to a hearing, including the hearing of submissions where the local authority or committee sits in a quasi-judicial capacity.

NO RESOLUTIONS - following the public forum, no debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the public forum unless related to items already on the agenda.

Speakers can speak for up to 5 minutes. No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation during a public forum. Where the number of speakers presenting in the public forum exceeds 6 in total, the Chairperson has discretion to restrict the speaking time permitted for all presenters.

Meeting etiquette

When you arrive, you will be greeted by staff who will show you where to sit and where to stand when it is your time to address the meeting. If you have brought along written material, please provide it to them to distribute to the elected members. 

Council meetings are formal, so please follow these basic rules:

  • It is important not to interrupt elected members when they are speaking and not to speak until requested by the Chairperson. 
  • Be mindful of the time allocation, the Chairperson will advise you how long you have to speak. 
  • Be respectful, if your statement or behaviour is disrespectful or offensive the Chairperson may ask you to leave the meeting

If you wish to address Council, its Committees or Community Boards during public forum please register here

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are my local elected members and how do I contact them?

Find the names and contact details for your elected representatives by visiting our Councillor and Community Board members section.


Are members of the public allowed at Council meetings?

Yes, meetings of the Council, its Committees and Community Boards are open to the public. Occasionally it will be necessary to exclude the public for all or part of a meeting where sensitive or confidential items will be considered. The Chairperson also has the discretion to remove a member of the public whose conduct is disorderly or creating a disturbance to the meeting. 


Are members of the public allowed to speak at Council meetings?

Members of the public are allocated a defined period of time, usually at the start of an ordinary meeting, this is called Public Forum. Public Forums are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters, not necessary on the meetings agenda to the attention of the local authority.


How do I register to speak at a Public Forum during a meeting?

If you are wanting to speak at a public forum please complete the Register for Public Forum online form

When and where does the Council meet?

The Council meets at the Council Chambers in Thames, which is located at 515 Mackay Street in Thames. Council meetings start at 9am. For Council's Committees and Community Boards please see our Council Meeting Calendar.


When is the next Council meeting?

Visit our Council Meeting calendar to find out.


What is an order paper?

An order paper is a collection of reports which make up the content of the Council meeting, it includes an agenda (the order of items to be discussed in the meeting).


I can't make a meeting, how do I find out about what happened?

Why not join our eNewsletter and receive the highlights from the formal meetings straight to your inbox. Go to our subscription page and subscribe to the "Council meetings" list.

Alternatively, you can visit the Agendas, Reports and Minutes page and read the official minutes from the meeting.


Where can I get a copy of the next Council meeting order paper?

You can download a copy from the Agenda, Reports and Minutes page or you can pick up a copy of the latest order paper at your nearest Council Service Centre or District Library. Copies will be made available 2 working days before the Council meeting.


How do I find out more about how Local Government works?

Visit this Department of Internal Affairs web page about Local Government to find out how Local Government operates.