A NEW system for public questions at Isle of Wight Council meetings, in which people will have to register their questions in advance, is due to be discussed this week.
Currently people can attend full council and cabinet meetings and ask a question without giving notice.
Under the new proposal they will have to register at County Hall reception between half an hour and ten minutes before the meeting starts and provide their name, address, contact details and the topic of the question.
A report due to go before the council's annual meeting on Wednesday (16) states: "This is in the light of recent events when it became increasingly apparent there was confusion in some quarters over who should answer questions and furthermore that more confident and regular attendees in the public gallery may, through their determination to ask a question, assume priority (without good reason) for asking a question compared to those attending a meeting for the first time."
Council leader Cllr David Pugh said the new system would be fairer, as well as help members decide who should answer questions.
However, in an e-mail to councillors, regular council meeting attendee and Stop the Cuts Alliance member Tanja Rebel criticised the proposal, which she said would not benefit democratic input.
She has instead called for the council to introduce 15 minutes to deal with written questions and a further 15 minutes for oral questions.
She said: "As it is now, the written questions often take so much time that the people who have come to ask a spontaneous question have to scramble for the remaining minutes, which has led to some chaotic scenes.
"This could easily be prevented if there was enough time for everybody."
Other issues to be discussed at the meeting include the appointment of a council chairman, vice chairman and committee members, and to agree a committee structure. One proposal, as previously reported, is to combine the planning and licensing committees into a single regulatory committee.