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Public questions at Council meetings

The Council has agreed that at each ordinary meeting of the Council (other than the Annual Meeting and Budget Council Meeting) the public (residents and persons who work or study in Sunderland) will be able to submit questions to the Leader of the Council or a Cabinet member to which the relevant member will respond.

A period of up to 30 minutes will be set aside for the taking of questions and answers. Please click on the link to obtain the dates of the Council meetings (opens new window).

This note sets out the procedure for members of the public who wish to submit a question to be asked at a Council meeting.

How do I submit a question?

Questions must be received by noon on the fifth working day before the day of the relevant meeting. This normally means that when a Council meeting takes place on a Wednesday, the deadline for receipt of questions is noon on the Wednesday of the week before.

Questions must be submitted in writing to the address below, or complete the Public Questions at Council Request Form

The Chief Executive, c/o Governance Services, Law and Governance, Sunderland City Council, City Hall, Plater Way, Sunderland, SR1 3AA.

Please state your name and address and also your Sunderland place of work or study if you live outside the city.

Questions that have been accepted will be published on the Council's website together with the name of the questioner. No person may submit more than one question to any one meeting and no more than one question may be asked on behalf of an organisation at any one meeting. No question may be sub divided into more than two related parts.

If the Chief Executive considers that the number of questions received is such that they cannot all be answered within 30 minutes, he/she will, after consulting with the Mayor, select those which are to be put to the Council meeting. Any question which cannot be dealt with at the meeting because of lack of time will be dealt with by a written answer to be sent within 5 working days of the Council meeting by the member of whom the question was asked.

The Mayor will determine the order in which questions will be put and may group together similar questions. Questions will be read out at the relevant meeting by the Mayor.

What type of questions can I ask?

A question must relate to a matter for which the Council has responsibility or which affects the city.

A question may be rejected if it:-

  • is not relevant to a matter for which the Council has a responsibility or which affects the City;
  • is illegal, improper, irregular, frivolous or offensive;
  • is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of the Council in the previous six months;

  • will, if answered, disclose confidential or exempt information;

  • relates to a development control or licensing application;

  • relates to a matter or issue in respect of which a response has already been given under the Council's complaints procedure or which is currently being dealt with in accordance with the complaints procedure or other formal process, such as court or tribunal proceedings or which is the subject of threatened court or tribunal proceedings by the person asking the question or a person or group which they represent;

  • relates to a matter or issue of a purely personal concern to the individual asking the question or their family members;

  • is lengthy or a speech;

  • is an unintelligible question.

If the Chief Executive considers that a question submitted may be rejected under these Rules, he or she will advise the Mayor, who will then decide whether to allow the question to be put. If the Mayor decides not to allow a question, his or her reasons will be notified to the questioner in writing.

Will there be any discussion on my question?

There will be no discussion by Council on your question.

Record of questions

All questions to the Mayor or Cabinet Members asked by the public at a Council meeting will be published on the Council website where the details of the Council meetings (opens new window) are held.

Further information

Meetings of full Council are usually held in the Council Chamber at City Hall, commencing at 4pm.

City Hall is located in Plater Way, Sunderland, SR1 3AA. If you require directions please contact Governance Services via

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