Full council meetings The Council meets every 7 weeks (except August) and extraordinary meetings are sometimes held to deal with specific issues. Since 1828 the meetings have taken place in the semi-circular council chamber, which was suppose to be a replica of the Parliamentary Chambers with its elaborately carved screen of Riga oak, panels of Italian walnut and murals depicting 'Truth' and 'Justice'. For more than a century, history has been made in this Chamber with votes cast, issues debated and disputes democratically settled. Layout of the Chamber The Lord Mayor, as chair of the Council, occupies the central seat on the dais. Seated to the right are the deputy Lord Mayor and the head of Committee Services. To the left of the Lord Mayor are seated the chief executive, the city solicitor and the council manager. They provide advice on the conduct of the meeting as well as making an official record of the proceedings and decisions taken. Upon election, councillors are allocated a specific seat in the chamber. The grouping of seats is along party political lines with the Labour group occupying those on the left of the Lord Mayor, the Liberal Democrat group those on the right and at the back the Liberal group and any other minority groups. The reduction of councillors from the original 165 to the present 90 means that not all of the seats in the chamber are now occupied. The media make use of a press table located below the dais and in front of the members’ seating area. A number of officers will also be present on the floor of the chamber supporting various aspects of the meeting. Behind the members seats are two distinct areas: the public gallery, which is to the left of the Lord Mayor and accommodates 30 people and is easily accessible for all through the rear of the chamber an officers gallery, which is to the right of the Lord Mayor and is available to those senior officers attending the Council, and can also used for the public when necessary. Each seat has shared access to a microphone that is controlled from a console on the dais in the chamber. The Lord Mayor has a replica of the microphone layout on the dais so that those wishing to speak can be identified. The console and the Lord Mayor's microphone incorporate an override button. The council meeting The meetings are conducted on a formal procedural basis and are governed by standing orders that can only be varied by the Council itself. Amongst other things, the standing orders deal with the order and conduct of business, the rules of debate, the length of speeches and voting arrangements. They also give the Lord Mayor authority, in certain circumstances, to clear the public gallery or ask a member to leave the chamber. Throughout the period while the Council is in session, the mace rests on supports in front of the dais and acts as a symbol of authority, though it has no procedural significance. The original mace was presented to the Council in 1667 by the Earl of Derby, but was replaced in 1795 by a Charles II mace when this was stolen. Order of business The council summons is produced the week before the meeting and is available, along with the minutes of the previous meeting, for inspection by the public. Details of the date and time of the meeting are displayed on the notice boards at the main entrances of the Town Hall and Municipal Buildings and on the council’s website. Public attendance is welcomed. The summons defines the order of business which usually comprises: declarations of interests approval of the minutes of the last meeting receiving any announcements from the Lord Mayor supplementary questions changes in membership and appointments to organisations; reports / recommendations. motions, including motions submitted by the Leader of the Opposition and two motions for debate submitted by non-executive members. If you require any information about the Council you can contact the council manager, Charles Yankiah on 0151 225 2566 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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