As part of local government with powers to tax their communities there are legal controls over how town or parish council decisions can be made.
- To make legally valid decisions a council meeting must be quorate.
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- A specific number of councillors must be physically present at council meetings
- Voting by proxy is illegal for all councils
- Without a quorum a parish council can do nothing
- If a parish council meeting continues without a quorum any decisions are illegal and invalid
- Councillor vacancies do not affect the calculation of the quorum
What happens next depends upon why the parish council meeting was not quorate.
- Meetings that are inquorate due to parish councillor absence will of course happen occasionally
- Where a council is permanently inquorate the principal authority has the power to intervene and appoint temporary “councillors” whilst elections are organised
- This is decided by the principal authority with regard to the population of the parish
- Changes are normally only made either after a long term decline in the population of the parish
- Or an influx of new residents after or part of a major new housing project
- These changes are usually made as part of a community governance review
- The minimum number of councillors for any parish is 5
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