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Questions about co-option et al

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Our Parish Council is about to canvass residents for people to come forward or to be co-opted, what happens if someone is proposed but rejected? 

What happens if no one comes forward?  If this latter occurs do we limp on as 8/9ths of the Council?  Is the number of Councillors proscribed anywhere?  And does it have to be an odd number?
Given that the make up of the Council isn’t representative of the parish as a whole - location or gender/pronoun - are we able to make it so?
by (580 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Good to see that you are proactively encouraging the community to consider joining the council.

If you have a laid down co-option policy then provided this is followed then rejection is upheld. (democratic decision of the council)

If no one comes forward then unfortunately you should examine your campaign to attract candidates and perhaps examine ( via questionnaire) why people do not apply and address the results.

The number of councillors for a parish council is set by the local or county authority but can with a protracted application be considered for change.

Who decides whether a council is representative of the parish? Councillors should be drawn from those who wish to serve their communities NOT to tick a politically correct diversity box regardless of invented social trends. You should attract the best person for the position regardless of who or what they are.

You have to sell the council to the people and convince them that is a worthwhile social commitment not somebody else's job. That is the hard bit!
by (13.2k points)
Simply - 'Thank you'
The key number isn’t the number of Council seats filled it’s the number you need to remain quorate
I know Councils which have a high proportion of seats filled but the majority of Councillors never or almost never contribute
As the years go by less and less people are interested in giving up their time to help their communities
So even at Borough level there are uncontested elections
Be careful about rejection. If you have one candidate who meets the basic legal requirements, you must co-opt them. The law requires the vacancy to be filled "at the earliest opportunity".
Dave exactly what law is this, who would enforce it and what are the penalties ?
The Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 Rule 5. Co-options, like all council business, should be discussed and determined in open session, so a sole candidate deemed unsuitable could sue for defamation.
Dave, I can’t ever see that happening can you ?
Thank you all, I've learned a great deal from this conversation, it is much appreciated.
I wonder what one would record in the minutes of such deliberations. "Michael Mouse offered himself for co-option to fill the vacancy. Members discussed Mr Mouse and deemed him unsuitable for the role." Pure conjecture presumably and something Mickey might not wish to see in the permanent record. At the very least, he could fire off a Code of Conduct complaint against each of the councillors who voted against him under Nolan Principle 3, Objectivity.

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