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Draft minutes

0 votes
Our Clerk has still not published minutes from our meeting in May or the Annual Meeting also held in May (same day). When questioned they replied saying they've been busy with end of year etc. No other Councillor has raised concerns. We are a small Council precept 6k.
Any advice?
by (1.5k points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Under the Transparency Code for smaller councils, draft Minutes should be published on the website within one month of the meeting to which they refer.  In reality, few do, I've noticed, and some have a specific policy not to publish draft minutes but only publish once they've been approved at the later meeting.  This is something that technically the internal auditor should be picking up when confirming that the council complies with the requirements for exemption from external audit as compliance with the Code is a requirement.  However, I do get that clerks who are paid to work just a few hours a week can get a bit bogged down at year end so the first question is what is the council's policy re. publishing minutes and secondly does your clerk have enough paid hours to do the job properly?   I'm not entirely sure what the legal requirements are for the publication of the minutes of the annual meeting as technically it's not a council meeting.  No doubt someone else can advise.
by (4.8k points)
0 votes
In this day and age there’s no reason why draft minutes shouldn’t be circulated within 24 hours and if there are no objections published in say 48 hours and before anyone tells me that’s not possible there’s a large local council that makes their minutes public in 48 hours
by (6.4k points)
Large councils have staff employed on a full time basis.  Smaller towns and parishes don't.    As a former clerk to a small parish employed on a part time basis  could not have produced draft minutes in 48 hours.
At a lot of meetings I go to the minutes are taken direct onto a tablet or laptop if this is backed up by a recording then I don’t see the problem
0 votes

The question has 3 distinct parts. 

1 - non compliance which should be recorded at AGAR.

2 - staff work load management issue with an indication that the employer / employee relationship is perhaps not wholly understood by cllrs and or clerk. 

3 - if others seem unconcerned there may either be a lack of suitably qualified and experienced cllrs or that they are insufficiently engaged. 

in that order, it is the ICOs model publication scheme against which an organisation might be judged to be compliant / non compliant with statutory publication requirements link:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/definition-documents-2021/templates/4018916/template-parish-councils-20211029.doc

Cllrs should be aware of this, the clerk is paid to be aware of this and so is the internal auditor.  If it is felt that the clerk has insufficient time to fulfil fundamental tasks then they are either inefficient or they have insufficient contracted time to undertake what should be stated within terms and conditions of employment. 

If the internal auditor is either unaware of the the ICO MPS or failing to highlight non compliance within their observations / interim reports - then what are you paying them for? Get rid!

Having a non compliance entry on your AGAR (should) act as a wake up call for cllrs - it’s not something to be afraid of, it’s an acknowledgement that some parts of a system are not as might reasonably be expected it is the starting point for remedial action. 

It sounds like there are not enough cllrs ‘bought in’ or understanding what is required, that (possibly) the tail is wagging the dog in the employee / employer realm and that staff oversight, prioritisation of tasks and time management is insufficient in managing staff.

Are you a new arrival amongst longer standing incumbents?

Quite a challenge to update and improve entrenched sub optimal habits.

Those that rely upon ‘experience’ as an argument against improvement often fail to realise / recognise that ‘experience’ is only useful if it is GOOD experience  - there is considerable potential for harm where BAD experience is perpetuated by those with behavioural aversion to change. 

Good luck (in a Liam Neesom ‘Taken’voice)

 );0) 

by (1.2k points)
We are still awaiting the internal auditors report. The AGAR was signed off at the May meeting. The Council, under the instruction of two Councillors who interviewed the Clerk, reduced the advertised hours from 4 to 2 p/w,  have no policies and must not have any. The Clerk is fully qualified (we have GPOC) and experience. They are Clerk for the local Town. Nalc encourage people to put themselves forward to improve their Communities; this is the worst decision ive ever made and ostracised for asking questions. There is nothing I can do and no sanctions. Oh and just to add no Financial Standing Orders have been adopted and as for ICO legislation well we pay the annual fee....

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