These are 2 completely different meetings which have very different purposes. They are however frequently confused. Strictly they are the Annual Meeting of the Parish and the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council. Both meetings apply to town councils as well as parish councils.
Both meetings are open to the press and public but what is said and done at each meeting is fundamentally different. One is formal whilst the other should be relatively informal. There are specific legal requirements as to when each meeting must be held.
Councils do not have AGMs (Annual General Meetings)
It is worth noting that Town and Parish councils do not have AGMs (Annual General Meetings) as they are not limited companies, clubs or associations but part of local government whose operations are defined in legislation. Councils advertising an AGM are engaging in bad practice. This creates confusion for residents who may not realise that their parish council is part of local government. It also indicates that the clerk is probably untrained and lacks basic competence.
The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council
This is the meeting of the parish council where they elect the chairman, make other annual appointments and review their insurance, risk management policies, etc.
The Annual Meeting of the Parish
This is the meeting where the parish council invite the public and press to hear reports from the Chairman, District & County Councillors, maybe from Neighbourhood Watch or any organisation that the council gave significant funding to. There should also be an opportunity for the public and press to express their opinions on what the council are doing. No votes taken at this meeting are binding on the parish council although they should consider them at the next meeting of the parish council. Only members on the electoral roll can vote on an issue – other members of the public can attend and express their opinions but not vote.
If the council has standing orders these should be suspended for the annual meeting of the parish.
It is recommended that in an election year the Annual Parish Meeting should be held after the elections to prevent the meeting being used as a “hustings” for potential District and County Councillors.