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Members are walking into room and have not prepared for the meeting. We taking on bigger risks and bigger projects this represents a bigger risk moving forward. What mechanisms exist to mitigate this? Formal & Informal interventions reminding members of responsibilities met with giggling laughter.
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There are no protections against councillors acting without care and attention.  You have no choice but to expect members to behave like adults and respect the responsibility they have been elected to exercise.
I once had a clerk who, exasperated at the clear evidence that members were not reading the agenda and supporting papers she took many hours to prepare, put confetti in the envelope so those who only opened their agendas at the meeting were clearly identified.
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It is not always the fault of councillors but that of clerks who send out supporting papers and reports (including AGAR docs) within a day or two of council meetings when they should have had them well in advance ie at least 3 working days before the next meeting. This leaves councillors not fully informed prior to being expected to addressing important council business - particularly that of a complicated and important financial genre - and feeling coerced into voting on them without being able to properly research and understand all aspects of the business at hand.
Councillors must follow the principles laid down in the code of conduct and as such should have the integrity to excuse themselves on voting on the grounds of not having A) either read the details B not having been given enough time. Either way if enough do so then it would be possible for either an EO to be called to deal with the matter or postpone it until the next meeting. It would be a simple matter for the chair to enquire if all have read and understood the papers prior to any discussion or vote and have that minuited.
our clerk send round the AGAR documents to councillors two days before the day of the meeting at which they were to be addressed and signed off by the council. When I complained at the meeting and asked for consideration of the documents to be postponed until the next meeting I was ignored and the chair carried on. I abstained and was treated with contempt by the members and clerk for doing so.
When I was Chair and the full council was about to adopt our updated Standing Orders, I did ask how many had actually read them. The answer was very few! I postponed the item until the next meeting explaining how important it was to read them. Also pointing out how can you make a decision about a document you haven't actually read! In this instance the document had been received in a timely manner but there has also been times when documents have been sent late, in some instances only a few hours before the meeting. Sometimes there is a cause for this but sometimes not. Both Councillors and Clerks must take some blame for poor decisions.

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