What is a Public Meeting?

Public Meeting / Public Meetings

Public meetings are gatherings arranged by government bodies, organisations and community groups to engage the general audience, exchange information and discuss topics of public concern. They offer a platform for elected officials, leaders and organisational delegates to gather feedback and update the public about their activities, developments and plans that can impact the community. When executed correctly, public meetings can foster trust and good relations within a community.

What is the purpose of public meetings?

Public meetings serve a variety of purposes — to increase public awareness of specific issues, encourage public participation in important matters and help build trust within a community. Here are the main reasons for holding public meetings:

Inviting additional input on important issues

The primary purpose of a public meeting is to welcome a wide variety of suggestions from the public regarding matters that concern them. These perspectives can inspire insightful discussions and enhance the decision-making process.

Promoting transparency

Public meetings are open to everyone. The general audience can observe the proceedings and understand the reasons behind the decisions made. 

Increasing accountability

Meeting in public helps foster an environment of accountability. Decision-makers are aware that their actions are subject to public scrutiny and they can be held accountable. This encourages ethical behaviour from officials.  

Types of public meetings

Here are the different types of public meetings:

Council meetings

Council meetings are held by elected officials and representatives to discuss key policies, legislative matters and decisions of public interest within the council or municipality’s boundaries.

Planning meetings

Planning meetings are held to discuss matters of regional development. These meetings offer a platform for local government, developers and urban planners to discuss and engage the community in the planning and decision-making phases relating to land use, zoning and development projects.

Town hall meetings

Town hall meetings are informal gatherings held by elected officials and leaders to discuss a wide range of issues. These meetings promote open dialogue with community residents who can voice their concerns and raise important questions.

Public hearings

Public hearings are scheduled meetings designed to gather feedback from the public on specific policies and projects. Citizens can express their concerns and share their input.

Community forum meetings

Community forum meetings are organised to promote open discussions among community members on a range of matters and problems concerning them.

Non-profit organisation meetings

Non-profits hold regular public meetings to engage with their supporters. These meetings deliver important updates to the public and provide a platform to discuss governance matters.

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