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0 votes
We have a clerk who puts everything below the line. Our proposed budget is below the line but no councillors except those on finance have been allowed to see it.

Buying a piece of equipment below the line, our hall hire fees yes u guessed it below the line.

FOI request has not been answered properly after 75 days, Sar request is now on its 49th day

Councillors being told all questions from public must fo via the clerk and we should not use social media to liase with residents tgis is the role of office staff.

Now i know i can complain to our staffing committee but they havent listened in the past whats next course of action as its like the clerk runs the council and not councillors. Even to the point i believe they lied to councillors during a debate and produced biased one sided evidence on something on the agenda showing all negative points but no positive points so that it would be refused.
by (330 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Can you define what you mean by "below the line"?
by (25.8k points)
In secret after passing a resolution to exclude the public and press. Ive never known this be done its always normally been in the normal agenda. I know we can request its done in public.
Does the resolution to close the meeting include the legal power under which you are being asked to vote and is this included in the minutes of the meeting?
0 votes
Do you have elections on May 4th?
by (52.8k points)
Yes we do not but have previously had elections and always been on the agenda above the line so to speak
It sounds as though you need a few new councillors and some whole council training on roles and responsibilities. The councillors run the council and are responsible for ensuring that it acts in accordance with the legislation.
And adding to Dave the clerk is there to advise the council it is for the council to accept or reject such advice. Unfortunately we live in a world where the doers are outnumbered by those who do nothing and expect everything done by others.
+1 vote
As a first step you could vote against excluding the press and public.  If a majority  of councillors also voted against excluding the press and public then the business would have to be transacted in the 'open' part of the meeting.
by (9.6k points)
Stand up, speak up, don’t just put up.
There has to be a vote to exclude press & public.
Speak up and Vote No!
Our PC presents the closure of meeting to the public as a fait accompli…so you are saying that councillors can vote otherwise???? I didn’t know this…! How should I challenge?
If you're using the model standing orders, 3d states "Meetings shall be open to the public unless their presence is prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons. The public’s exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by a resolution which shall give reasons for the public’s exclusion." The legislative origin of this is contained in the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.

A member of the council, not the clerk, must propose a motion to exclude the public with an explanation that references one of the sub-paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. This schedule contains the limited circumstances under which exclusion is permitted. The council must decide whether or not to support the motion in the usual way, with discussion and a vote. The whole process must be recorded in the minutes.
You can challenge it by first reading and then quoting your standing orders.  If you use the NALC model then paragraph 2d (well at least its para 2d in the version I have) states that "The public's exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by resolution which shall give reason's for the public's exclusion".
You are right ! (of course….). I’ve just checked 2d. Learning every day
The best way to knock them off the perch is to have a member of public in attendance.
When the clerk or chair declare the public must leave - they refuse.
It’s exactly what I used to do when I was attending as public.
Then quote THEIR OWN regs at them. You will never see a bigger bunch of lemons!

The look of bewilderment on their faces was PRICELESS!
0 votes
Are you sure you aren’t a member of my Parish Council as we have an almost identical situation
As others have mentioned a change in Councillors is the only solution
by (11.5k points)
Here we go just received my first Conduct code violation
I’ve had several I just hope you have a professional and unbiased Monitoring Officer like I had
What for? Asking questions?
Scottie >> Happens to the best of us! My LA seemingly tries to push everything back "for local resolution" whereby you "say sorry" and nothing more is done. I've argued against this. I've stated to them that they haven't heard my side of the story and to say sorry is an admission of guilt. They've "threatened" formal investigation over my matter and I said I welcomed it; I would have loved the shady going's on at my council to have been formally documented and publicly available. Instead, the chair and the clerk had raised so many complaints about so many councillors over the most ridiculous of things, the LA called in an outside company to "investigate". We're still waiting on the findings, but suffice to say, they weren't exactly thorough. The investigation took the form of sending people questionnaires just before Christmas and then a brief 30min chat a couple of weeks ago. No evidence was asked for, so the whole thing is based on anecdotes and opinion.

I just can't wait for May to come round. I can honestly say the short time I've been a parish councillor has felt like community service for a crime I'm yet to commit.
I was not allowed to see the “evidence” against me but they called an Investigator in who spent a long time on the phone with me
I thought he was doing the initial fact finding but he wasn’t instead he produced a detailed report outlining the Clerks case against me
This all came good as I always keep full records including recordings so I was able to systematically destroy the complaints one by one and undermine the credibility of the Council as a whole
Good for you Jules!

We are starting to see more and more examples of Cllrs properly questioning, requiring fulsome and credible responses and refusing to take the brush off.  That approach is not bullying - it is due diligence.

It is not acceptable for cliques, cabals and clerks to seek to suppress the proper function of individual Cllrs and the days of complaints and threats of Ind tribunal need to be called out and flushed with the sanitiser of public exposure.

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