The basics no minutes, no decision so no legal actions. no agenda no meeting
- Any Council, committee or sub committee meeting must have an agenda containing details of the business to be transacted.
- It is difficult to view a parish council agenda in isolation, just as the minutes cannot be considered alone.
- The agenda, the meeting itself and the minutes themselves comprise the legal decision making process of a town or parish council.
- By default there will be a considerable degree of overlap between these events.
- As a result this Best Practice Guide includes matters relating to the agenda, the meeting and minutes.
- It is hoped that this will put items of procedure and Best Practice into context.
This article is a basic introduction to the subject it is not intended to provide comprehensive in depth coverage.
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Yes, the 1972 Local Government Act defines 3 clear separate requirements when any meeting of a Town or Parish Council, a committee or sub-committee is called...
- The Notice of Meeting which must be published
- The Legal Summons to individual Councillors
- Details of the "Business to be Transacted" often called the agenda
The term agenda is a misnomer which has come into common usage.
- The "Business to be transacted" is not a list of items for debate or decision but also includes all the supporting papers.
- This is give Councillors adequate time to read and review the items to be discussed.
- Failure to do this may result in any decisions or actions being open to legal challenge.
- All meetings of councils, their committees and sub committees must have and keep minutes.
- No minutes no decisions, it's that simple.
- If councils make decisions to do things or spend taxpayers money and there is no clear minute recording what it was agreed to do then no decision has been made.
- If a council proceeds with an action which is not recorded in the minutes then the action or spending is open to legal challenge.
- Minutes which are approved by the council are evidence in a court of law.
- The draft minutes of all Council, Committee and Sub Committee meetings should be published no more than 1 month after the relevant meeting.
- The draft minutes should be approved at the following relevant meeting.
- Agendas and full working papers for all Council, Committee and Sub Committee meetings should be published at least 3 clear days before the relevant meeting. Source DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government)
- It should be noted that there is currently no legal requirement to publish the agenda or minutes in a prominent place in the parish.
- The legal requirement is that the Notice of Meeting must be published.
- There is a legal right to view, access or inspect the minutes wherever or by whom they are kept.
- It is the responsibility of the parish council i.e. the councillors to decide what they wish to discuss not that of the clerk or the parish council chairman
- To suggest that an unelected individual may decide what a legally elected democratic body can and may discuss is laughable
- It is the responsibility of the clerk or proper officer to physically produce the agenda.
- The clerk should include agenda items requested by parish councillors and local residents.
- It is the collective responsibility of all councillors comprising the council to decide what should be on an agenda for discussion.
- There is a clear difference between the decision as to the contents of the agenda and the physical production of the agenda.
- The clerk is an employee and is not elected consequently they have no part to play in deciding what the council may discuss.
- Yes. The Parish Council is required to make a range of documents open to inspection.
- They've described which ones are open in a "Publication Scheme" under the Freedom of Information Act.
- As with any public body, the Freedom of Information Act applies to all Town, Parish Councils and Parish Meetings.
- You have specific legal rights to view your council's minutes.
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