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A dispensation is only permission to be exempt from the rule or usual requirments,correct? so when this is passed to cancel all council meetings untill further notice due to covid at full council meeting of councilors in the month of march, the 1972 act does not start from that month not until it is changed, correct?having this printed and posted in the parish council notice boards the clerk should ( if she is up to scrstch).not in form the principal council until that dispensation has ceased is that correct, unless she has somthing against the group in power and as lost her family and friends from the council ( by voting )she as also been reportd by parishioner of involvement of moving boxes of council papers unautherized only 2 days after voting before any council meetings held,proven by CCTV, when asked at the annual parishmeeting her brother-in-law is asked were did he get his exemption from to attend a YALC WEBINAR, rember no meting held for months due to being cancelled through a dispensation due to covi, and his asnswer was wakefield WMDC,they cannot give an exemption, correct, so all thes actions are illegal 100%, the WMDC say it is not their responsability, the ombudsman say town and parish councils do not come under their durisdiction,the clerk is lying , her brother-in-law is lying and a third party becomes village warden after helping to remove council headed papers,so who can take positive action against these people as the community is beeing cheated and the present councilors don,t have the backbone to do the right and just thing by prosecuting and sacking the people involved which I think is the right thing to do, WHO can I contact to take this up.

by (240 points)
edited by

3 Answers

0 votes
A lot of questions within a question there. We would need to see the exact wording of the dispensation. Are the minutes of the March 2020 meeting where it was resolved available?  Did a situation arise where all councillors were deemed to be suspended by virtue of not attending any council meetings for 6 months?
by (35.5k points)
+1 vote

The original post is a little difficult to decipher so a couple of comments which may not be relevant if I've misunderstood:

  • At the start of Covid lockdowns, the Government passed legislation enabling parish and town councils to hold valid meetings online but that legislation was time limited to May 2021.   Such meetings were not obligatory and the legislation requiring councillors to attend at least one such meeting in every six months was not repealed so if a council resolved not to hold meetings at all for a period of over six months, councillors found themselves automatically removed as councillors after a six month period, by virtue of s85 (I think).  Where councils were unable or unwilling to hold an online meeting, some held a brief outdoor meeting to comply with Covid social distancing/lockdown rules whilst ensuring the 6 month rule did not apply.  There is no doubt that this was a difficult time and those councils without the support of their county association or a similar body or a knowledgeable clerk did fall foul of this.
  • Where a council resolved not to meet electronically or otherwise, many set up a scheme of delegation enabling essential decisions to be made by the clerk, usually working in conjunction with two or more councillors but never to a single councillor which would be in breach of yet more legislation.  Such a scheme of delegation would have been essential for payment of invoices, for example.  I'd suggest authorising training (I presume the webinar was a training event) would have been likely to fall within that definition but as I say, it is dependent upon what the scheme of delegation would be likely to permit.   The existence of a scheme of delegation would not remove the requirement for a meeting of some sort to take place within six months however. 
  • The term dispensation is misleading.  It is usually used to refer to a process whereby someone with a disclosable interest can speak on a subject in a meeting but I accept that it is sometimes used to refer to "leave of absence" for example when a councillor gives an apology in advance for not attending a meeting which is then accepted by a council.  
  • A principal authority has no jurisdiction over a town or parish council.  There is no requirement for a town or parish council to "inform" a principal authority of it's decisions unless that decision is directly relevant to the principal authority's area of responsibility.
  • Not sure I understand the point about moving council paperwork.  From a practical point of view, some papers must be kept for a specified period of time but there are surprisingly few of these (basically, minutes and accounting records) whereas other documents/files can be kept electronically.  For historical purposes, some councils send historic records to the local records office whereas others store old documents in other places.  For those with or without an office, storage of historic records can be challenging (I've had many years of records in my garage at one point!).  I would certainly have taken the reduced activity of lockdown to have a clear out of old papers if it were me but that doesn't mean I would have been "cheating" the community in some way; just occupying my time with routine records maintenance. 
Not sure if any of this helps at all.
by (20.2k points)
–1 vote
You’d need to think this through properly and formulate some specific questions if you ever hope to receive any credible responses.
by (22.2k points)

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