The first item of business at the annual parish council meeting must be the election of the parish council chairman.

Contrary to myth or bad practice a parish council chairman is not elected for the 4 year term of the council but must be elected annually as the first item of business at the annual parish council meeting. Please note Town and parish councils do not have AGM's (Annual General Meetings).

There is no automatic right for an incumbent chairman to continue in the role. Some however continue year in and year out. Whilst such civic duty is to be applauded it may however lead to the council stagnating and other councillors feeling excluded.

Standing orders are often a broken reed to find out why read...

Are some standing orders worth the paper they're written on?

This CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) editorial provides a real example.

Electing the Chairman is part of the democratic process and as such town and parish councillors can call for a secret ballot. A good parish clerk should understand this process and come to the meeting prepared. This process does not need to be on the agenda.

Parish councils are not private fiefdoms, a secret ballot takes the fear and threat of bullying out of the meeting.

Are you and your council prepared and ready for a secret ballot?