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0 votes
Are Background papers considered to be part of the agenda?   We always get our agendas on time but papers seem to arrive in dribs and drabs and often on the day of the meeting.  Also, what are rules re public access? I ask this as hard copy display is a non starter (can be 100 pages).   Should they be displayed on web site.  Our clerk states "sight available on application" on our agenda
by (4.6k points)

3 Answers

0 votes
The Transparency Codes require all papers to be published with the agenda three clear days before the meeting, but there are two codes, one for councils with an annual turnover of under £25k and the other for councils above £200k turnover. This means that many local councils fall between the two and may consider themselves to be exempt. There is an expectation that all councils adopt the smaller code as a minimum, however we can't quote chapter and verse on this, as the legislation doesn't exist.
by (52.8k points)
0 votes
I don't think there is a legal requirement for all agenda items to have background or briefing papers so it would be difficult to say that failure to provide one renders the agenda item/meeting invalid and matters can be verbally delivered or often tabled at the meeting.  Personally I prefer a briefing paper so I have a chance to read it and consider any questions or issues I might raise but other than move to defer an item when I feel I've had insufficient information to make a decision, I don't think there's a legal requirement to publish something that doesn't exist.
by (17.3k points)
It's all a bit vague really, isn't it, even for those smaller councils that are clearly within the scope of the smaller code.
"Smaller authorities should also publish meeting agendas, which are as full and informative as possible, and associated meeting papers not later than three clear days before the meeting to which they relate is taking place."
+2 votes

Regardless of any "legality" why would a council NOT want to or avoid issuing such information at the very least to reduce meeting times due to questions and extended discussion time from councillors who do not have the information given to them. Making them public of course goes a long way to informing the electorate of what is done in their name by their council. You never know it could well encourage people to take an interest and participate more in matters scheduled for the PC meeting. Only good of course if the council aims to be open and honest wink 

by (25.7k points)
Yep, all the hand wringing, excuse finding regulation quoting in the world will never detract from the inalienable reality that the only acceptable good practice is to make all bar the very exclusive examples of genuine confidentiality publicly available.
It serves no useful purpose (other than perpetuation of self serving councils) to adopt anything other than deliberate openness.

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