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0 votes
My local council has set up a working group which includes members of the public. The council has held a meeting at which the business of the working group has been considered as a confidential item, i.e. with memers of the public excluded. However the non-councillor members of the working group were present for this item. Is this allowed?
by (1.7k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Working groups are temporarily set up either by a committee or the council with specific tasks stated as to what they are expected to carry out on behalf of the committee or council. They are not formed to make decisions on behalf of the PC. They are not bound by normal requirements ( notice of meeting, minute taking, open to public) Members of the public who serve on a working group should be treated as if they were members of the council and as such should be in receipt of all information required to carry out the task of the working group.
It would be strange that a working group would need to have a confidential section anyway as members should be bound professionally by confidentiality in all they do as a matter of course as they are preparing information for the PC to make decisions on.
by (24.3k points)
Thanks Mentorman. Perhaps I didn't make my question clear. I am asking about a full meeting of the council at which an item considers a report from a working group. This item is taken as confidential business with the public excluded. Should any non-councilor (i.e. public) members of the working group be present for this item?
The simple answer is no. It is before the council for consideration and the working party's job is done unless the council request they carry out further work. Having been on the working party does not bestow any privelage in such a matter.
Thanks again Mentorman. This is my view and it is good to have it confirmed.
0 votes
Even after nearly 12 years being involved in dysfunctional Parish Councils something pops up which stuns me
In theory only elected Councillors should be present when the report is presented if it truly is confidential
On the face of it the report shouldn’t be confidential but out of interest exactly what was the subject of the meeting and why was it claimed to be confidential
by (10.5k points)
We don't know why it was secret. My council resorts to the Admission to Meetings Act (Public Bodies) 1960 ("publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted") to disuss items behind closed doors.

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