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Does a parish council clerk have authority to call a council meeting? Or is is it only councillors who can call a council meeting?
by (640 points)

1 Answer

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The Clerk will normally send out the summons to the meetings so basically yes they have the authority to call a meeting.  The dates for the year should have been set at the beginning of the year so Councillors would be aware of those, any extra meetings that need to be called, the summons comes from the Clerk but I would expect some communication between the Chair and Councillors on dates and times so that a quorum can be met.  I wouldn’t want to receive a summons to a meeting I didn’t really know anything about although it does happen.
by (3.8k points)
No - a clerk does NOT have authority to unilaterally convene a PC meeting.
It is a nonsense to suggest otherwise.
The clerk issues the summons for meetings that are scheduled by the PC.
A PC chair can convene an extraordinary meeting or 2 councillors can give written notice to a chair of a requirement for an extraordinary meeting.
A clerk cannot just unilaterally decide to convene a PC meeting - they may present the reasons why they think there might need to be one to a chair and the the chair might authorise them to issue a summons.
It is so very simple a concept - clerk works FOR the PC.
There is a difference between an extraordinary meeting, as defined by legislation, and an additional ordinary meeting.  The Clerk absolutely does have the authority to convene an additional ordinary meeting.  This is a meeting which is within the usual remit of the council but is sometimes necessary where ordinary business has to be dealt with urgently.  So, for example, many councils don't meet in July or August but if there was an urgent planning application that requires a response or perhaps a financial matter that needs to be dealt with, both are "ordinary" business of the parish council but the clerk may have to convene an additional meeting to deal with this, particularly if there is no scheme of delegation in place enabling the Clerk to respond within the timeframe.
I'd be interested to know which piece of legislation confirms that "the clerk absolutely does have the authority to convene an additional ordinary meeting".
So where can anyone find legislated authority of a clerk to unilaterally call a Council meeting please; and where a meeting date isn’t among the pre-agreed published scheduled  of meetings in the first place, then what what’s the difference between an extra ordinary council meeting and an extraordinary council meeting if in all cases there meeting must be to dispense with council business?
All ordinary meetings of the PC for the year are decided by the council and voted on. The clerk has the authority to summons the council to those meetings. Every other decided meeting required by the council is defined as extra-ordinary (Going beyond what is normal). The only people who can call an extra-ordinary meeting of the council are a) the Chair b) the requisite number of councillors as per standing orders/code of conduct.
The clerk may recommend to the chair that a matter might require an EO meeting but it is the chair who decides and calls it not the clerk. The clerk has no defined ability to call an EO( or any other) meeting only a duty to summons councillors to a council decided meeting.
Responses in order:

DBsW - sorry, incorrect.
John - there isn’t any.
RWood - you won’t.
Mentorman - spot on.
But, with respect, there is a legislative basis for all the actions of a parish council and its officers so if it is correct that "the clerk absolutely does have the authority to convene an additional ordinary meeting" then the legislation must say so.
John, the clerk is the employee of the council and is there to ensure that the councils wishes and instructions are lawfully carried out. Unless delegated by the council ( highly unlikely) they cannot call a meeting as the specification of who and under what circumstances are laid down in standing orders and code of conduct. Don't confuse the issue of notice of summons issued by the clerk on behalf of the chair or qualifying councillors as being an arranging and calling a meeting by the clerk.
I'm not confused.  I was merely asking for clarification on the comment by Delboy's Wife that "The Clerk absolutely does have the authority to convene an additional ordinary meeting".
There isn’t any because they don’t.

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