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+1 vote
It’s my understanding that meetings (in this case a staffing subcommittee) held in confidential session should produce minutes which are not confidential which their colleagues ought to be able to see. These meetings are not regarding grievance or disciplinary matters, and if and when they are I do not expect to see minutes of those matters. These are general staffing matters and have included policy making discussions, annual leave etc. Can anyone point me to something which explains this for colleagues who insist that the agenda and minutes of these meetings are ‘confidential’ and so are not for councillors to see,,.and Happy Seasonal greetings to you all x
by (1.5k points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
As far as I'm aware, there is no specific reference to this in the legislation, however the keeping of minutes is covered by paragraphs 41 and 44 of Part VI of Schedule 12 of the LGA 1972. These confirm the requirement to publish minutes of the proceedings and to ratify them at a subsequent meeting. Check the terms of reference for the committee to see whether they ratify their own minutes or require the Council to do so. If the ToR do not include a specific power to ratify, that power doesn't exist and the Council must ratify.

Ask the Clerk how he or she would respond to an FOI request for the minutes. If, as you say, there was no confidential element to the proceedings, there would be no exemption under FOI, so the information would have to be provided.
by (50.8k points)
+1 vote
I have always understood that whilst a discussion can be confidential, the minutes cannot be confidential so they tend to be worded appropriately to ensure the decision is recorded.  So, for example, if there is a decision about pay that decision might reflect that the council agreed to the recommendation that staff be paid at the (specified) national scale rate.  This reflects the decision but doesn't provide information that might be considered personal to the staff member.
by (16.0k points)
+1 vote


Page 26 "It is a criminal offence if, without reasonable excuse, a person with custody of a document (xxix) which is required by the national rules to be made available to the public, refuses to supply the whole or part of the document, or intentionally obstructs any other person/s from disclosing such a document. If a person is found guilty of such a criminal offence, he/she may be fined up to £200.

by (34.2k points)
I’ve been told on several occasions that the Legislation you are quoting from does not apply to Parish / Town Councils and having looked at it I believe this to be the case
The standards for Higher Tier Authorities for excluding the public and press are also much higher
With regards to minutes of confidential sessions they should be released unless there is an issue with GDPR
Of course the way round this is not  to take minutes in the first place as after all who would do anything about it ?
Hi Jules, this is quoted several times in the guide, and the instance on page 26 is under part 4, specifically for Town & Parish Councils. I keep meaning to identify which specific legislation it is quoted from but haven't got round to it. Will update if I find it.
Graeme  Of course the $64,000 question would then be who would enforce it ?
Hi Jules, this is quoted in The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, part 3, article 10.0. As it is a criminal offence, it would have to be reported to the police, and I would assume the Crown Prosecution Service would decide whether or not court action should ensue.
See article 10 in part 3 in the link below.
Note that“(9) In this Act—“relevant local government body” means—
(a)the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
(b)a parish council; or
(c)a parish meeting of a parish which does not have a separate parish council; a
Thanks I’ll have a look at this after Christmas
NALC Legal Topic Note 5e confirms councillors (and indeed any elector in the town/parish) can see any minutes of any meeting as per Graeme_r's quoted law from the 1972 Act. The minutes shouldn't be verbose, especially if the meeting is held "behind closed doors", but the decisions taken must be noted and made available. If the signed-off minutes include exactly who said what during the debate, then that is the fault of the writer of the minutes and this has to be available for all to see.

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