Dear Experienced Parish Councillors
We have a situation where one of our Councillors attended a meeting of full council on 25th. May 2021 for 15 minutes (in order to vote for the Chairman for the coming year) and then left.
Said Councillor next attended a full council meeting on 14th. December 2021. Under LGA 1972 s.85, it was suggested that their failure to attend a meeting for a period in excess of 6 months meant that a casual vacancy had thus occurred.
Our local ALC was contacted for advice and the condensed version of the reply focused on whether or not this Councillor attended a MEETING of a Working Party in July 2021 and if they had done so, then a vacancy has not arisen.
The following message was sent by email a week in advance to the four Councillors who are members of the working party:-
The garden allotment inspection is now arranged for 11am on Wednesday 14th. July for the XXX allotment.
This inspection was not recorded on the Council’s website, no Agenda was issued and no Minutes recorded or published anywhere, other than some brief, handwritten notes supposedly taken at the time but not distributed to Council members.
My question is, does this inspection constitute a MEETING for the purposes of LGA 1972 s.85? I know there are other avenues of exclusion in this Act such as “…representing the Council on outside bodies” and so on but none of these others apply. The entire issue hinges on whether or not the inspection was a MEETING and I would greatly appreciate your views on that please?