Hertfordshire County Council is exploring the possibility of holding committee meetings by video.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stricter measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

That led to the cancellation of a meeting of the full county council on Tuesday.

Now the council is looking at a number of options to enable decision-making by councillors to continue.

Those options include the possible use of video-conferencing technology.

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A spokesperson for the county council said: “We are looking at as many different options as possible to provide a solution to allow public council meetings to convene virtually.

“The smooth running of the democracy and governance will continue despite the unprecedented circumstances we are currently in.”

Meeting ‘virtually’ has not been possible before, because councillors have legally been required to ‘physically’ be at the meeting in order to vote.

But an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill could open the way for members could take part from a distance for the first time.

Officials from the Governent’s Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government say they are legislating so council meetings can take place remotely for a temporary period.

There are also proposals to remove the requirement for ‘annual council meetings’, which often take place in April and May.

Even before the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday, the county council had already implemented plans for the number of meetings to be “significantly reduced”.

And it was set to agree proposals that would make attendance at any meeting optional for councillors until next year.

Under the council’s plans, the cabinet – which is made up of the council leader and the council’s eight executive members – would have continued to meet.

And the eight cabinet panels, which each have a remit that reflects a different area of the council’s work, would have been replaced with a single ‘special cabinet panel’ – considering business relating to all areas of the county council’s work.

It is still not known how, or if, any of those meetings will go ahead, following the latest government announcement.

But measures such as video conferencing could allow scheduled meetings to take place without members having to be in the same room.