The six-month rule is contained in Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 and states:
85 Vacation of office by failure to attend meetings.
(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) below, if a member of a local authority fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of his last attendance to attend any meeting of the authority, he shall, unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the authority before the expiry of that period, cease to be a member of the authority.
Approval by the authority is deemed to require debate, resolution, vote and record in the minutes. Councils do not have to approve and MrsAbster has mentioned previously that her council has a policy of no approvals.
The reason for the exemption is to deal with issues such as temporary incapacity, for example, medical issues, but it is frequently abused, particularly in higher authorities, where a paid member may emigrate to France, but complete a four-year term of office by popping back on Eurostar to attend two meetings each year.
A number of local councils simply closed down when Covid came and allowed either their Chair or Clerk to run everything, leading to disqualification.