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0 votes
The written agenda for a parish council meeting was sent out a week before (fine so far), it included a motion to approve spend on a project but it does not mention how much and the supporting documentation wasn't sent until 4 hours before the meeting. I complained to the Chair that insufficient notice was given to make an informed decision and that the three day rule has to include all information otherwise Councillors were being bounced into decisions. The Chair claimed to have the power to move to a vote and did so.
by (180 points)

4 Answers

0 votes

The Local Government Act 1972 Schedule 12, 10 2b states "a summons to attend the meeting, specifying the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting" has to be published with the 3 clear days notice.  There is no legal requirement for the background papers to be sent at the same time although, it is wholly appropriate wherever possible that this happens.

So as long as the agenda is sent out, then the law in its purest form is being followed.  Not good practice though and if enough councillors agreed with you, you could table a motion to defer the decision or vote against the Chair.

by (24.6k points)
If the PC is classed as a Smaller Authority then the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities applies. This states "Smaller authorities should also publish meeting agendas, which are as full and
informative as possible, and associated meeting papers not later than three
clear days before the meeting to which they relate is taking place."

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388541/Transparency_Code_for_Smaller_Authorities.pdf
0 votes
We had a similar situation, where the Chair and the Clerk jointly decided not to send out paperwork regarding a small item until a few hours before the meeting, even though it was on the agenda and had a lot of local interest.

They claimed they were waiting on last minute information, however, it was more of an attempt to push a vote for the item.

Unfortunately, as this happened on a regular basis, as it suited the chair and the clerk, we finally took a stand and voted against the proposal.  We requested that the vote be recorded and also made it clear that we were voting against due to the lack of time and transparency, which not being present was a danger to public finances.

The chair resigned two months later, and the clerk a few days later.

We now have a happy, informed and content PC

Down_here
by (2.2k points)
0 votes
If there is insufficient information to make an informed decision - for whatever reason - do not cast a vote in favour of the motion.
When every Cllr has the opportunity to speak prior to a vote they should all say (if that is what they feel) that the motion lacks detail.
Make it so that votes are meaningful rather than meaningless.
by (22.2k points)
0 votes
Yes, associated meeting papers must accompany Agendas at least 3 working days in advance  The answer you are looking for can be found in The Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities Item 30.
by (480 points)
That's for councils under £25000. It's not a legal requirement for larger councils, although good practice.
An interesting avenue but parish expenditure 32k so that code might not apply although you'd think transparency would be more onerous for larger organisations.

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