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County Advisory Body trainer: ‘clerk can refuse motions’

+1 vote
At a recent training event the county body trainer answered my question ‘can the clerk refuse my motions?’ by listing the criteria in Local Councils Explained and then said, ‘if it was divisive’ or ‘against the interests of the council’. I asked him to point me to where it says that. Of course, he couldn’t. This was at the same time as telling us that the clerk must be impartial.

There is never any doubt in these bodies’ minds that the clerk is correct and the councillor is wrong. So now he thinks that I bring motions which are divisive and are not in the interests of the council: I am marked ‘a troublemaker’.
What can be done about NALC and its local bodies?
by (590 points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Surely it’s up to Councillors to make those kind of decisions rather than in effect the Clerk censoring the Agenda
Some of the excuses I’ve seen are “ I’m not prepared to let the Council waste money on that “ and “  I don’t see any need to discuss that “
With regard to the latter this was directly concerning a matter involving the Council which residents are still very unhappy about
I can’t think of any reason why a Clerk should refuse any motion
by (7.0k points)
0 votes
What can be done?
There is no obligation upon a council to subscribe to an under or inappropriately performing ALC.
Present your well constructed and empirical argument for un subscribing or non renewal and let the vote prevail.
It is the weakness, apathy or lack of understanding of Cllrs that has allowed the situation where the misinterpretation of intent allows the situation where it is believed that clerks set agenda.
I’ll say it without any reservation - if a PC believes the clerk sets, controls, dictates the agenda, anyone that doesn’t absolutely object to that situation is unfit for the office they hold.
by (3.0k points)
The problem is the creep, creep effect. LTN5E now states "The preparation of the agenda is usually the responsibility of the clerk".  Does that mean they are also judge and jury of the content of the agenda?  The change of Councillor submitted motions criteria in para 9 of the SOs certainly adds to that view of things.  We then move to the ability to clerks to assist in the implementation of decisions made.  That is now moving from an advisory role to more of a policeman role.   Boundaries must be established.
What happens when the clerk dictates procedure is that the savvy Councillors form an alliance with them and the whole thing becomes a mess.  The more I hear of this debate the more I believe that Councillors should have their own body as NALC/SLCC have a vested interest in the present situation
100% agree. There is no body that has councillors' interests as its prime focus. The result is slowly and quietly undermining local democracy.
There is a body which ‘should’ have Cllrs interests as their primary output  - that is NALC.
Since there appears to be such a widespread perception of the lack of actual support for Cllrs, in some cases especially from national and county ALCs, that should be the cause of considerable concern to those organisations.
I know I have wholeheartedly changed my mind on the usefulness and VfM of a CALC subscription.
I wonder if the ‘problem’ with NALC/CALC could be that the officers are ex clerks rather than ex Cllrs?  I don’t know how common the might be but if that Jackie Weaver situation is anything to go by it’s a wonder any of them sustain their subscriptions.
Always said that councillors should form themselves into a professional association
NALC's and regional ALCs' stated function is to support the 'corporate interests' of councils. That is not the same as supporting individual councillors. And it is not always the same as the public interest. A council's 'corporate interest' often gets interpreted as the same as the interests of whichever group is currently in charge - usually including the chair and clerk - and/or whatever makes life easier for them. That's why poor practice spreads and never gets picked up unless it goes to Judicial Review.

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