Sheringham Town Council agrees to email agendas to members - but only for trial period

A council is stepping tentatively into the era of electronic communication after agreeing to a trial period of emailing agendas to some members.

Sheringham Town Council agreed to the six-month trial, with councillors who sign up getting their paperwork at the touch of a button, rather than in the post.

The decision was made following a proposal by Malcolm Birtwell, who pointed out that each meeting resulted in more than 200 pieces of paper being posted across the town.

He said it 'made much more sense' for councillors who wanted to, to get their paperwork via email. He added that, rather than then printing out the documents, he could bring his laptop computer to meetings and view them.

Mac McGinn, who asked to not get the papers via email, said he was an 'unpaid volunteer' and added: 'I'm not prepared to undergo the expense of printing out the papers myself. The cost of the council clerk doing so is budgeted for.'

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Peter Cox said the papers were 'legal documents', and they should 'all be brought to meetings by members'.

But Peter Burns said the implication was 'ridiculous', adding: 'It is almost as though you are suggesting we have the council police stationed at the door for every meeting, to check that members have all of the documents that they need.'

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A straw poll of councillors saw a handful ask to receive the agendas and supporting papers by email.

Clerk Denise Medler, when asked if she thought it would mean more work, said she thought it should be 'manageable', and suggested the trial period. Members voted to reassess after six months.

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