A HUMAN rights group has questioned how much elected councillors were involved in key decisions by City of York Council at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

York Human Rights City Network has made a submission to a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights about the impact of the pandemic on rights in York.

It said concerns had been raised by opposition political representatives and some members of the public that key council decisions had not been in the hands of elected members.

It said: “At times of crisis, it is inevitable that the weight in decision-making shifts from consultation to direction, and from elected representatives to experts and civil servants. But here again it is important that a balance is maintained, with oversight of and limits to new arrangements.”

Janie Berry, director of governance at the council, said that during unprecedented times, the council had been working at pace to implement new measures to keep people safe.

She said that in response to national advice and guidance, the authority had been required to adapt its usual functions - namely all meetings of the executive, council and other committees - and utilise urgent decision making provisions contained within the constitution.

She said actions were taken in full consultation with the leader, deputy leader and executive members, and information was shared with political group leaders on a weekly basis.

“The introduction of remote virtual meetings now means that our decision making functions have reverted back to business as usual,” she added.