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If a named vote is requested by a councillor, should it be recorded in the minutes by the clerk?

0 votes
This is what is written and adopted in our Standing Orders, 3(s) which is also written in bold:

"At the request of a councillor, the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each councillor present and voting gave their vote for or against that question."

At an extraordinary meeting last week, prior to an agenda item, a councillor requested that the locum clerk did a recorded vote.  The clerk said that she records a count of a vote, but does not record names.  The draft minutes only show the number of votes for, against and abstentions.

Should the clerk have recorded the names, as requested, and can the councillor insist that they are added to the minutes before they are approved at the next meeting?
by (1.1k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes
Yes to both questions. The purpose of this provision is quite clear, as is the wording of the standing order. It allows elected members of any authority to show how they voted, usually on a controversial matter.
by (38.1k points)
Thank you DavetheClerk.   This is, indeed, a highly controversial matter in our village.  The locum clerk, unfortunately, lives nearly 300 miles away!
This does seem the new way of clerking on smaller parishes. It has its advantages because the  clerks are not put in the position of the centre of community politics. He or she can give unbiased advice.
300 miles is bonkers. I live 15 miles from one of my parishes and I find that difficult at times. The Clerk can't be invisible and must be accessible to everybody.
0 votes
The position is perfectly clear.

Para 13(2) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Act 1972 states that "On the requisition of any member of the council the voting shall be recorded so as to show whether each member present and voting for or against that question".
by (780 points)
To correct my sloppy grammar "On the requisition any member of the council the voting on any question shall be recorded so to show whether each member present and voting gave his vote for or against that question".
Thank you for your response.  I'm not sure what we do if the clerk refuses to amend the minutes.
Firstly it’s the Chair that amends minutes at the next meeting if they won’t then vote against acceptance of the minutes
Secondly the vote is in the public domain so assuming you recorded who voted which way you can publicise this and mention the refusal  to follow the Standing Orders
Personally I think every vote should be a recorded vote but that’s just me
Agree with Jules in that it should be standard procedure that every vote taken should be recorded with councillors name and recording whether they voted for against or abstained. This would meet the obligation of openness and transparency and allow the electorate to see which of their councillors take part in the democratic process. No reason why this could not happen. (other than the desire for secrecy). It would also of course allow for not recording the vote but that a valid reason must be recorded in the minutes.
There may be a case for that in respect of the big decisions, but not for everything. It would require an amendment to the standing orders, which would need to be worded very carefully to cover all eventualities.
0 votes
I think public domain is the key reference here. You mentioned extraordinary meeting about a controversial issue. The members of the public will have seen the vote and therefore the details will have been recorded. If however the meeting was closed for whatever reason then the minutes are not in the public domain and should not be discussed in an open meeting

The while council are bound by the resolution irrelevant of how any councillor voted
by (5.8k points)
edited by
What is confidential about a request from a councillor for a named vote?
Why would we avoid transparency on this issue?  The Standing Orders aren't a secret.
The subject matter of the vote doesn't need to be discussed.  That is not the issue (as detailed in the question).
I think the point is being missed - normally a named vote is because an individual councillor wants to send a message out to the community of their views on a particular topic. Is this what you wish to do?
I’d been interested to see what the Information Commissioner would say especially as Parish Council's frequently misuse closed sessions
It’s perfectly legal for a Parish Council to exclude the public whilst considering bids for a contract it’s illegal for the Parish Council to withhold the minutes and working papers once the matter has been settled
My understanding is that GDPR is the only reason minutes can be withheld
If anyone wants to pursue this under FOI and needs a hand send me your email via a PM
The problem is we are discussing this when we don't actually know all the details and reviewing this thread, it has gone off in different directions. If it was a normal meeting it would just be noted as a closed session. The discussion topic may still be under discussion - very rarely do our topics get discussed, voted on and closed off in one meeting - I wish!!!
Sorry Robin, we've gone round the houses on this one. Your original question was clear and the answer is that your clerk must record the names in the minutes. We've digressed into a hypothetical debate about confidential items, which wasn't part of your enquiry.

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