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Our local council has a history of not being very transparent, and the current agenda has the following in it.

Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
To consider and if deemed necessary, pass the following resolution in accordance with the provision of Section 1 (2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960. “That the: Press and Public be excluded from this meeting during the discussion of any matters arising in connection with the remaining items in the Agenda, on the grounds that by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest.
Part II – Private Session
Co-Option Of A Councillor. Candidates to give a five-minute presentation to members and for members to vote on the acceptability of each candidate.

Now, I know that the only exemptions are set out in Sect. 12A I can't see how this should be private. Anyone have any clue?
by (150 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Best answer
On the basis that you would have no say in any candidate who presents themselves for an actual election, I see no reason for making a discussion on co-option a confidential agenda item, although I do understand why some people would like that.  As I've said before, there are reasons (limited ones) for a confidential discussion but embarassment isn't one of them.
by (20.2k points)
selected by
Thanks all for your replies, think they want to keep the vote secret, rather than the discussion (blaming the clerk for misinterpretation request). Likely no co-option as they don't have to this soon before the May elections & the candidate doesn't probably match the political leaning of the majority. This way there is no embarrassment when an ideal candidate is overlooked.
As has been said there's no statutory procedure for co-option other than there needs to be a majority vote for the successful candidate so many councils have (should have) an agreed policy/procedure.  That way everyone is clear what is going to happen and how.  Many councils (and this is not necessarily recommended practice) opt for a ballot rather than show of hands vote on each candidate.
0 votes
It's a difficult issue since there is no indication in legislation of how co-option is to be done.

My personal preference is to put a short list of general questions to the candidates, asking for written responses. Advise the candidates that the answers will be made public (as would happen in an election campaign). No interviews.

That way, the public can see all the information that was before the council when making the decision. It is preferable to simply proceed to voting in the meeting, based on the written submissions. If the council insists on a debate, I'd be inclined to agree to excluding the public in the interests of good relations, but that is arguable.
by (33.5k points)
0 votes
It shouldn't....

It can't....

Think about it....

The 'candidates' are members of the public, if you exclude the public it is ALL OF THE PUBLIC - including the candidates.
In any case, why would what the candidates have to say about themselves be confidential?

Whoever thinks this should be confidential is unfortunately misinformed.
by (22.3k points)
Taking this to its logical conclusion it’s there’s an election and the same Councillor distributes a flyer should it be marked Confidential and the number of votes kept secret

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