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Does a clerk have to attend parish council meetings in person?

+1 vote
If the clerk can attend remotely, e.g. via Zoom, should the same option be available to the public?
(Our councillors attend in person.  However, the clerk is connected remotely.  The chair can see the clerk on her laptop, which has its back to councillors.  Therefore, the clerk cannot see the rest of the councillors.  The chair of the meeting counts votes and relays the result back to the clerk.)
by (390 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
I believe the legislation requires that Councillors must be present in the room and enough to make the meeting quorate but that there is no requirement for a Proper Office to be in attendance in order to make the meeting legal - in the event of the absence of the Clerk, a councillor is able to 'clerk' the meeting ie take the minutes.

Therefore, the Clerk could dial in and be able to clerk the meeting if that was necessary although it is not ideal.

If there is a zoom link set up for the Clerk to attend, you could in theory allow members of the public to also dial in but they would not get a great experience - they would only be looking at the Chair and possibly would not be able to hear the other councillors speak.  To allow the public to dial in, you would need to really look at a better solution that one laptop...
by (17.2k points)
0 votes
Part of the clerks employment contract should include their attendance at PC meetings. Part of that duty is to take the minutes and be available to answer any questions put to them regarding procedures, legal positions etc. or to receive instructions and to facilitate the wishes and decisions of the council.

I can see that attending online could be acceptable in an emergency by council consent but not as a matter of regular procedure. It is a contractual duty.
by (12.2k points)
0 votes
The clerk doesn't have to attend in person or even virtually, but such absence is not desirable and can be circumvented by making attendance a requirement in the job description.
by (25.3k points)
Thank you Graeme_r, Mentorman and MrsAbster for your very helpful responses.

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