There is no short-term prospect of councillors being allowed to use technology to attend meetings remotely, according to the leader of Lancashire County Council.
Geoff Driver was responding to a task group report by council members which investigated ways of making a career as a councillor more appealing to women.
READ MORE >>> What would tempt more women to become councillors?
The report set out a series of recommendations - including on promoting the safety of female candidates - the majority of which have been accepted by the Conservative leader.
But County Cllr Driver said he would not support remote attendance - not least because the law does not allow a councillor to vote unless they are in the room.
“There are very good reasons [for that] - when formal decisions are being taken, it’s really important that the people who are making them can be seen to be making them in a proper way and in accordance with the law,” he told a meeting of the authority's internal scrutiny committee.
“I suspect it will always remain as it is until there are significant changes not only in the [technical] mechanism [for attending remotely], but the way it is actually implemented.”
The report had called for remote attendance to be permitted at "informal" meetings - and task group member County Cllr Anne Cheetham said the subject should be revisited every four years, because technology "changes so fast".
Liberal Democrat committee member David Whipp called for the authority to “make representations” requesting the government change the necessary legislation.
But County Cllr Matthew Salter warned that a remote attendance system could “place obligations on councillors who are unwell” to take part in meetings.
County council meetings and committees are webcast live for any members of the public not present at County Hall who want to watch the proceedings.
Deputy leader of the Labour opposition group, John Fillis, backed the proposed change - but said any new system for councillors needed to be introduced carefully.
“What does the public see? That’s the big question - the public has a right to see democracy in action,” he said.
“[So] how it will actually be rolled out, I’m not sure - but I do believe the technology is there and can be used, sooner rather than later.”
Following on from the task group report, County Cllr Driver backed proposed revisions to the code of conduct on sexism and discrimination, as well as enhanced personal safety information for female candidates.
The role of councillors will also be promoted to so-called “hard to reach” minority communities, including via schools, in order to attract candidates from all backgrounds.
A recommendation to hold a public ‘Be a Councillor’ information event was adopted - and will take place on 8th July at County Hall.