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+1 vote
Is it actual legislation that any supporting documents for an agenda should be sent with 3 clear days, same as the agenda? If so can anyone quote the relevant legislation. (Wales).
Our clerk has yet again sent documents a few hours before the meeting!
by (2.8k points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Got to be honest, I'm not familiar with the rules regarding Welsh rules and regulations but in any event it is clearly good practice to include supporting papers when the agenda is sent out so that everyone is prepared for the decisions that are going to be required.  However, sometimes we do have to be a bit realistic that the requirement to give three clear days notice (which in practice means five days or a week) can cause an issue for things that are simply not available at the time the agenda is posted.  Nothing can be discussed if it's not on the agenda but sometimes accompanying reports or documents relating to planning applications for example might not be available so need to be sent out later or even tabled at the meeting.  Afterall, nothing says you have to have a supporting paper at all on any agenda item and if you're unhappy with not having the paperwork in time, you can always vote to defer the item to the next meeting.
by (17.5k points)
+2 votes
A good Council is a transparent Council and will make support papers, wherever possible, available on their website several days before any meeting so residents can keep up with what is going on and decide whether to intervene in any way. It may not be law but any self-respecting Council will have written this into their Standing Orders, whatever NALC and SLCC may have tried to decree.
by (1.3k points)
After we received a big stack of documents at a meeting I tried without success to change standing orders to get my Parish Council to only do this in an emergency

Strangely enough any documents handed over at a meeting don’t get published on the website and even more strangely some have been destroyed
A few years ago someone ( not NALC ) produced a tick sheet so you could score a Council based on different criteria it’s a pity I didn’t take a copy
My Council scored 45%
Personally I have started to load all documents on to our website and they are e-mailed to the 11 Council members before the meeting - most of the reports are generated by the members rather than the Clerk..
Chelmsford City Council does an agenda pack with hyperlinks to the appropriate documents.
Its essential all parties can see the reports to aid transparanecy as others have said.
+2 votes
Your standing orders include, at 15.b.i, a reference to "any documents relating to the business to be transacted" but your Clerk may apply his or her own interpretation of "as far as reasonably practicable". The same caveat is applied to the legislative reference at LGA Schedule 12 Part IV para 26 (2)(aa).

Have a look at the "Parish and Community Council MPS template" on the Information Commissioner's website. It introduces the Model Publication Scheme document and states that "You are in breach of FOIA if you have not adopted the model scheme or are not publishing in accordance with it."

Class 4 of the MPS lists meeting documents you are required to publish, including "Reports presented to Council meetings, unless an exemption applies to the information or parts of it." This relates to the requirement to publish but not the timing of the publication.
by (52.8k points)
0 votes
Thank you all for your replies. I agree that sometimes documents form an outside source are not received in time for the '3 clear days' but in many cases this does not apply. A recent example is a grant  application form was sent in, plenty of notice. But as not sent with the agenda but a couple of days later. The email with the agenda actually said it would be sent later!
Interesting to see the comments about publishing 'documents'. We don't publish (on website) anything except the actual agenda.
by (2.8k points)
See Dave’s reply 5 days ago as your Council is in breach of the Law
I’ve just made a complaint to the ICO where they accepted the destruction of documents by a Parish Council without question even though those documents  should have been published
0 votes
If you feel you have not had time to read any documentation required to enable you to vote on an issue - ask for it to be deferred (or abstain stating why ).   How else will it ever get sorted if it is accepted by the council as the norm?
by (2.5k points)
I have done this on a couple of occasions, when the document has been quite long an I really haven't had sufficient time to read it properly. I just find it so annoying that it happens so frequently. I also deferred an item on the full Council agenda, to agree Financial Regulations and Standing orders, when the majority of Councillors in attendance admitted they hadn't read them! And they WERE received in time!
Jann   I have been there re councillors wanting to vote a doc through even though they have not read it.  Both as a councillor and as a MOP.  When questioning docs as a member of the public the councils answer is 'noted' and then voted through.   Even though the document makes no sense!
I share your pain.  It seems there are some Councillors who want to revel in being a Town Councillor, but are not prepared to put in the work. I don't know what the answer to this is, until such time as training is a legal requirement. Hopefully those prepared to do it will make good Councillors.

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