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If a co-opted councillor is agreed in camera can they vote at PC meetings despite not being formally co-opted?

0 votes
The PC got the candidate to sign the forms before the next Public meeting and they were allowed to vote for the next Chairman and Vice-Chairman before thay'd actually been officially co-opted by the council who actually only had 2 official councillors present so not quorate.
by (140 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
The co-option of new councillors is an informal procedure and therefore can take place using whatever method the council chooses - you can formally interview candidates, pick a name out of a hat or ask a bloke down the pub to become a councillor if there is a space available.  Therefore the requirement for the co-option meeting that you mention is not a legal requirement and therefore being quorate is not relevant.
They become a co-opted councillor when they sign their acceptance of office form and it is countersigned by the Clerk.  The are required by law to submit their register of interest form within 28 days of this date, otherwise they are breaking the law and will lose their seat.

So whilst what the council did was galling and not best practice, it is not illegal.  The signing of the form makes then a councillor.
by (17.2k points)
I do not agree with this.  Co-option is a formal process and requires a majority vote on the back of an agenda item at a properly called and constituted council meeting.  It is not the signing of a form that makes them a councillor - its the vote at a council meeting.
The process is not defined in law and it is for the council to decide the process for co-option.  Ideally there should be a policy that outlines the process and an agenda item for co-option where voting is required for the appointment.  If a council decides on an informal procedure that doesn't include an agenda item at a meeting, then there can be no vote.

The requirement for a majority vote only comes in to being if there is an agenda item for the Councillors to vote on.

I don't for one minute support this method and it is clearly not in the spirit of democracy but it can happen.
As I said earlier.  I do not agree that a council DECISION to co-opt can be taken other than at a properly constituted council meeting.

So we may have to agree to disagree!
As I've said, I don't agree that this is at all appropriate but the OP asked if it was legal. We agree John1706!
It is time some people actually ready the Local Government Act 1972 which  prescribes much of the activity around co-option. It is a last resort failing enough candidates for an election; there are time limits on the co-option itself and the candidates(s) have to be appointed, after a formal resolution.

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