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Agenda Requests and refusals by the clerk

0 votes
Can the Parish clerk refuse to add agenda items made by its members and members of the public. These are first time requests and sensible in the request.  Clerk is stating that they own the agenda and have the right of refusal. ie relating to council committees and associated items for debate and change.

Paul M
by (120 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
There are usually stipulations in standing orders governing how members submit motions to be put on the agenda. They commonly impose a deadline. The only grounds for refusal are usually lack of clarity or being improper. Clarity should be resolved with the member involved. Improper motions are those that go beyond the council's powers or do not relate to its functions. Subject to these conditions, a request for a motion should be accepted by the clerk.

Members of the public do not have a right to request agenda items. They can write to the council, in which case their letter should be raised as correspondence and dealt with by the council. Or they can find a councillor who is willing to raise the matter on their behalf.

It is the clerk's responsibility to draw up the agenda, in consultation with the chair over the practicalities of running the meeting. I wouldn't really call it the clerk "owning" the agenda.
by (30.8k points)
It’s not unusual for Clerks to act like the Agenda is theirs and theirs alone.  In fact I know of one Council where the Chair claims there is nothing anybody can do to override the Clerk no matte what the circumstances
Counterpoint has explained the situation in detail

 But at the end of the day Standing Orders should allow Councillors to call an extraordinary meeting  if they feel the Clerk is abusing their position
I'm afraid that is true. The right for two councillors to demand an extraordinary meeting is more than just standing orders, it's statute, and the councillors can force the matter regardless of the clerk's position. Better for the council to try to improve the clerk's attitude though, if possible!
In my opinion, the advice and follow up comments from Counterpoint are spot on.  I would just add; the notion that an officer of a public authority has ownership of its agenda (and therefore, by implication, controls what matters are considered by that authority) is preposterous.  The exceptions to that, as stated by Counterpoint, are when an item put forward for discussion is either unclear, unlawful, or improper.
Could I just add that in my experience there are some instances where a debate really isn't necessary.  There is no need, for example, to debate whether to request that the county council repairs a pothole or whatever.  This can be actioned by the clerk and/or any other member of the public or councillor without reference to the parish council.  Why add it to the agenda when it can be dealt with far more quickly directly
0 votes
Playing devils advocate here - sometimes the clerk is trying to minimise the agenda item due to time limit. Try having a look at what is discussed - does it all have to go on the agenda.
by (5.9k points)

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