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Can councillors change the order of the agenda?

0 votes
Many councils have much the same standing orders, based on the NALC model. Those that have will include an item usually numbered 1 (a):

"Motions on the agenda shall be considered in the order that they appear unless the order is changed at the discretion of the Town Mayor"

They will also have an item usually numbered 10 (a) (vi) under "Motions at a meeting that do not require written notice" subheaded "The following motions may be moved at a meeting without written notice to the Proper Officer":

"to change the order of business on the agenda"

These two are apparently in conflict, and I recently experienced a situation where the person presiding refused to accept a motion under the section 10 provision on the grounds that they controlled the agenda by virtue of section 1 (a).

Does anyone have a clear resolution to this apparent conflict?
ago by (30.1k points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Your SO 1(a) has given authority to the Mayor (hmm, interesting as this would normally be the chairman of said meeting), alone to change the order of the agenda whereas 10(a) is a standard SO which allows a request to change the order of the agenda to be considered without giving 3 clear days notice of the intention to propose this.  They're not exactly in conflict but together the result is a request can be made (without notice) to change the agenda order but authority to make a decision arising from that request being delegated to the Town Mayor who, in your example, refused the request.
Slightly unusual to delegate authority like this to a named person (even if named by virtue of their office) as it begs the question what if the Town Mayor is not chairing the meeting or not in attendance at said meeting?
ago by (180 points)
Sorry, should have added that it is more usual these days for there to be a need for approval of the change of order to be put to the meeting for agreement rather than the decision of a single person
0 votes
There's usually a Standing Order that gives the Chair the ultimate right on how to interpret the Standing Orders at a meeting.
ago by (880 points)
0 votes
My reading of this is that 1(a) addresses the possibility of multiple motions relating to a single agenda item, whereas 10(a)(vi) relates to moving items up and down the agenda. We use the latter frequently for verbal reports from district and county councillors who may not be able to be present for the whole meeting as we clash with neighbouring parishes, so they move from one to another on the same evening.
ago by (37.2k points)
0 votes
I have read Standing Order 1a and 10(a)(vi) carefully and I must confess that they do appear to contradict each other.

In these circumstances I would ask your County Association to get a formal opinion from the NALC Legal Team.
ago by (560 points)

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