A Whittlesey (Cambridgeshire) Town Councillor has been disqualified from office as he failed to complete the declaration of office form before or at the first meeting of the council.
The law is quite clear on this matter. This is the legal document that confirms the legitimacy of a councillor to engage in council meetings and represent their community.
In a recent editorial CPALC editor Herbert Smith wrote...
“After the elections we're seeing some strange beasts roaming the land. Some County and District councillors also stood for the Town Councils where they lived. Many of these councillors lost their County and District seats but were elected to the Town Council.”
In 2013 we raised the problems which sometimes arose from District or County Councillors serving on Town Councils in an editorial...
"Once elected or co-opted these individuals set about subverting the running of the town council into the image of the principal authority. These individuals have no real knowledge of Town and parish council legislation. A common first step is the election of a leader and then the wholly illegal imposition of a cabinet style decision making structure. Without the correct legal framework of scrutiny committees and the ability to call in decisions you have an organisation which is wholly undemocratic."
CPALC has published a 60 second guide on the topic which covers...
- Legal Background
- Due Diligence
- The Legal Consequences
- The Community Fall Out
The clerk is the proper officer to the Town or Parish Council. As such it is their job to advise the council and councillors regarding the law.
Did the clerk present every councillor with the form for signature before the meeting or did the councillors refuse to sign and if so why?
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.