Local people are encouraged to get involved with democracy as part of a national initiative raising awareness of local government.
National Democracy Week is running from 12 to 18 October. The initiative aims to raise awareness of local councils - what they do and how they work - while also encouraging communities to engage with the local decision-making process.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for democratic renewal, said: "We promote democracy all year round, but National Democracy Week provides an ideal opportunity to help people get a better understanding of what democracy really means and how it affects their everyday lives.
"It is all about helping to raise awareness of government as well as the work of local councils, which has never been more important than it is now in the current climate. This year has been extremely challenging for councils with the focus on protecting the most vulnerable and keeping communities as safe as possible while ensuring that vital services continue to run.
"With local restrictions limiting what we can do to celebrate this year, we were still keen to mark the week and would urge local people to get involved online through our virtual meetings. We've worked hard to put the technology in place over the last few months so that people can get involved from their comfort of their own home by accessing meetings through the Council's website."
Previous Democracy Week events have included tours of South Shields Town Hall and intergenerational debates involving older people and school children as well as democracy role play sessions in the Council Chamber.
However, the usual programme of activity has been stood down this year due to restrictions in place to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Instead, members of the public are encouraged to get involved in democracy by seeing it in action through the virtual public meetings scheduled to take place during the week.
The People Select Committee is 'meeting' at 10am on Tuesday 13 October. Select Committees review and scrutinise the work of the Council to ensure that policies, practices and services continue to meet the needs of local people. They also have a key role looking at how services can be improved.
Tuesday's meeting will see members receive a presentation on digital inclusion as well as discuss the impact of Covid-19 on tackling poverty across the Borough.
The East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum is taking place at 6pm on Thursday 15 October. It is one of five Community Area Forums promoting and championing community engagement across South Tyneside. The Forums are an ideal opportunity for local people to find out more about what is happening in their local areas. Issues discussed range from community safety and housing to environmental improvements.
The meetings are taking place online and are streamed live via YouTube from www.southtyneside.gov.uk/watchcouncilmeetings
For further information about how to get involved in local democracy in South Tyneside, email email@example.com or visit the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk