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A meeting shall not exceed two hours.

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The title is on our standing orders. However, we regularly have to extend them. We vote on this. Are we actually not supposed to be voting and it naturally ends? Our standing orders say nothing of extending them.
by (920 points)

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You are voting to effectively suspend the relevant standing order to enable the business of the meeting to be finished.  This is perfectly legal (if your using the model standing orders or similar).  The issue I have personally is that councils appear to be routinely going beyond the target time and not doing anything to address it.  Should be difficult questions to help understand how it became the norm.. and things put in place.
by (3.6k points)
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Several years ago, we had this problem of routine overruns. We solved it then by using published report packs to support issues on the main agenda and enable pre-reading around the subjects, often with a provisional resolution.
Thank you very much!
This all comes from NALC unilaterally deciding that someone ( faceless people in darkened rooms somewhere) stated that people at meetings lost concentration after a certain period. This suggestion to limit meeting times to combat such unproven fatigue ( and protect clerks from over work) morphed into such draconian standing orders.
Meeting should last the time required to carry out the necessary business of the council. A good chair and a good agenda should ensure such an outcome is successfully achieved. No wonder many councils keep kicking matters they should be dealing with into the long grass and take every opportunity to not meet the tasks their positions require. Two hours?? some people have trouble fitting in lunch in that time.
I regularly took part in PC meetings that went on for 4 hours at which we efficiently covered and resolved all the business before us- Goodness me it was only once a month!!! ( no big deal). Sometimes tiring, but we did get a hell of a lot done for our community.
I think your comments about NALC and the tone of your whole post are extreme and unfair.
But, factual John. Perception is in the eye of the beholder of course.
Mentorman as usual I completely agree

Quite often the topics discussed at  meetings are about process not progress
For example  the Police attend but nothing has ever been achieved by this especially as both the Police and residents now have online sites which are constantly updated

If meetings are to long have bi-monthly ones

As I’ve said before the last Agenda item should be a summary of what’s been achieved at the meeting for the benefit of the residents
NALC only have themselves to blame for their poor reputation as they will accept any Council irrespective of how poorly run they are run
I agree with John that your comments on the NALC are unfair. I have no idea what their motivation for a 2-hour limit might have been, but I find it a really useful target and completely achievable for a good clerk and good chair working together. As Frank has said, circulating the paperwork beforehand is critical. A good chair will also remind members that the standing orders allow them normally to speak only once on each item. Clarity in the agenda, paperwork circulated beforehand, a clear motion understood by all and even the most complex agenda item should last for no more than 5 minutes. My most recent PC meeting lasted less than an hour and a half.  There were 48 items on the agenda, including verbal reports from 2 district councillors, a county councillor and the police (which we find very useful). If they tried to keep me there for 4 hours, I would walk out and leave them to it!

The NALC is not a perfect organisation and some of the local associations are less efficient than we might like them to be. The standing orders are a model document that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual councils, however, I have never found this to be necessary as I believe they provide a robust framework to which we should all aspire.
I've witnessed some meetings where clearly the rather elderly councillors were unable to stay awake for more than 10 minutes, let alone 4 hours!

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