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0 votes
Can I be crystal clear as to what rights (if any)  do Councillors have re attending Committee meetings if they are not a members of that committee.   Can they a) attend b) speak c) vote as of right ? Some advice says they can attend whereas other advice says yes but with member of the public status. Also is there any formal Chairman's discretion ?
by (4.9k points)

3 Answers

0 votes
If a Councillor is attending a Committee that they are not a member off, they are attending as a Member of the Public.  All committees are open to the public so can certainly attend, they can speak during the public session but cannot vote.
by (3.8k points)
Exactly but if someone adds value you could waive Standing Orders to let them contribute but not vote
Absolutely- the same if a member of the public can add value to the discussion. Standing orders allows contributions at the discretion of the chair.
0 votes
A) attend - yes

B) speak - yes if invited to do so by chair

C) vote - no

Where this type of question usually goes is, can a Cllr be required to vacate if the meeting goes into closed session.
On that subject opinion appears to be divided.
Whilst press and public may be excluded, a non committee member Cllr is neither press nor public, they are a non committee Cllr and I have seen noting which quantifies the legitimacy of the argument presented by some that a non committee Cllr may be excluded.
Others will differ - but the only case they will present is that a non committee Cllr is a member of public.
This is obviously a flawed position to adopt since a Cllr is a Cllr when acting as such….
by (21.3k points)
1) "Civilisation, generally, depends upon the existence of "rules" which PRECLUDE rather than authorise definable behaviour.  It is seldom possible to find relevant example of a rule which enables rather than disqualifies - I suppose the minimum speed permissible on a motorway could be an exception?" So how would you stop someone from attending a closed session of a meeting if they tried to say "I'm not a member of the public, I'm a school teacher!", or "I can stay; I am a parish councillor for the Happy Valley parish"? There's no rule to preclude school teachers or councillors from other councils.

2) The committee is telling you to leave. The committee does so under the authority of the Council. You are saying you don't have to leave because you are a councillor. You are therefore instructing/directing/ordering the committee that you be permitted to stay. You don't have the authority to do that because the quoted standing order does not permit you to instruct/direct/order without the Council's authority. Why is that hard to understand and why are you unable to produce any evidence that this isn't the case?

3) I'm talking about recording a closed session and anyone who has a right to be there. The link had a stray comma at the end, but for convenience and to avoid further debate: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/8-9/67/section/1
3A(b) gives authority to the public body holding the meeting to not permit recording in a closed session. You claim you can do this on the basis you've experienced rogue behaviour before now. What if any other person decided "foul play" was afoot in a closed session - are you suggesting they should be permitted to observe and take recordings of the proceedings? If you think foul play has occurred and the free, fair consideration of councillors has been compromised, you raise a complaint after the matter has occurred. It isn't for you to pre-empt this and act in a way to police things as they happen. Ironically, you previously stated my stance questioned whether Councillors have the moral fibre to do what is right, but you are making up your own rules because you actually don't think they do have the moral fibre to do what is right!

3) You have demonstrated throughout that you believe that you are right. You believe your perceived rights (which aren't substantiated or evidenced by your arguments) trump anything anyone else may say on the matter. Some quotes, just from this thread to highlight the point:
"Since EVERY Cllr is (collectively) considered to be the employer" - Wrong. The Council is the employer, and you are not the Council.
"They can sit through a closed session of a committee of which they are not a member because there simply isn’t a mechanism to exclude them. There just isn’t." There is, it's as I have demonstrated, but you are ignorant to it or otherwise not willing to accept it because it doesn't suit you. By not enforcing the rule, your council is either ignorant to it or everyone just wants to go home and can't be bothered to argue with you. You are jeopardising the council's decision making by being there though.
"It has also been a bone of contention that a closed session may not be recorded." It can't, if that committee has decided as such as per the legislation outlined in point 2 above. You have been told by a committee not to record and you have anyway with your "I know my rights" nonsense.
It's because of those comments and many more besides that I am very much under the impression you think you "are" the council to some degree.

Again, you've given absolutely no evidence to even attempt to support your claims and arguments, nor any evidence to dismiss mine. It's just "I know what I'm talking about" statements muddled with unsubstantiated dismissals against any point that counters your self-approved opinion.
Pot kettle!

I'll have to say it twice (a) because the forum requires a minimum characters for a post and (b) maybe it'll register the second time...
1) "Civilisation, generally, depends upon the existence of "rules" which PRECLUDE rather than authorise definable behaviour.  It is seldom possible to find relevant example of a rule which enables rather than disqualifies - I suppose the minimum speed permissible on a motorway could be an exception?" So how would you stop someone from attending a closed session of a meeting if they tried to say "I'm not a member of the public, I'm a school teacher!", or "I can stay; I am a parish councillor for the Happy Valley parish"? There's no rule to preclude school teachers or councillors from other councils.

Of course there is - they are members of the public!
2) The committee is telling you to leave. The committee does so under the authority of the Council. You are saying you don't have to leave because you are a councillor. You are therefore instructing/directing/ordering the committee that you be permitted to stay. You don't have the authority to do that because the quoted standing order does not permit you to instruct/direct/order without the Council's authority. Why is that hard to understand and why are you unable to produce any evidence that this isn't the case?

Simply because one cannot under any circumstances disprove a non-entity - something that doesn't exist cannot be disproved.  I'm starting to wonder if you are on a wind up.

3) I'm talking about recording a closed session and anyone who has a right to be there. The link had a stray comma at the end, but for convenience and to avoid further debate: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/8-9/67/section/1
3A(b) gives authority to the public body holding the meeting to not permit recording in a closed session. You claim you can do this on the basis you've experienced rogue behaviour before now. What if any other person decided "foul play" was afoot in a closed session - are you suggesting they should be permitted to observe and take recordings of the proceedings? If you think foul play has occurred and the free, fair consideration of councillors has been compromised, you raise a complaint after the matter has occurred. It isn't for you to pre-empt this and act in a way to police things as they happen. Ironically, you previously stated my stance questioned whether Councillors have the moral fibre to do what is right, but you are making up your own rules because you actually don't think they do have the moral fibre to do what is right!

I'd suggest you have completely misinterpreted the reference you quote - it refers to the preclusion of recording FOR THE PURPOSE OF SHARING OR BROADCAST.  Please try and absorb this very simple logic, it is practically IMPOSSIBLE to prevent note taking either at the time or immediately afterwards - if you can wrap your little grey cells around that concept then the rest of your point really will start to become clearer.

3) You have demonstrated throughout that you believe that you are right.
We have maintained a difference of opinion could be a better way of putting it...

You believe your perceived rights (which aren't substantiated or evidenced by your arguments) trump anything anyone else may say on the matter. Some quotes, just from this thread to highlight the point:
"Since EVERY Cllr is (collectively) considered to be the employer" - Wrong. The Council is the employer, and you are not the Council.

I'm afraid you are wrong there fella - the council is the employer, the council is comprised of every Cllr ergo - every Cllr is the employer.  Every INDIVIDUAL Cllr is personally liable for matters of employment responsibility to council staff.  This is most frequently illustrated when individual Cllrs are subjected to CoC complaints from a clerk - BECAUSE THEY ARE INDIVIDUALLY LIABLE AS AN EMPLOYER.  {I know, the capitals are a bit like shouting and, to be fair, the frustration is starting to show}


"They can sit through a closed session of a committee of which they are not a member because there simply isn’t a mechanism to exclude them. There just isn’t." There is, it's as I have demonstrated, but you are ignorant to it or otherwise not willing to accept it because it doesn't suit you.
No, I have illustrated how you are talking out of your hat.

By not enforcing the rule, your council is either ignorant to it or everyone just wants to go home and can't be bothered to argue with you. You are jeopardising the council's decision making by being there though.
"It has also been a bone of contention that a closed session may not be recorded." It can't, if that committee has decided as such as per the legislation outlined in point 2 above. You have been told by a committee not to record and you have anyway with your "I know my rights" nonsense.


Individual rights are nonsense huh....  Ok....


It's because of those comments and many more besides that I am very much under the impression you think you "are" the council to some degree.

I've already illustrated how your assumption and deduction are fundamentally flawed, I'm not going to keep repeating it for you.

There will be no further response to any such ad hominem nonsense - if you eventually find any relevant legislation which you haven't misinterpreted feel free to carry on but until then you're on your own pal.



Again, you've given absolutely no evidence to even attempt to support your claims and arguments, nor any evidence to dismiss mine. It's just "I know what I'm talking about" statements muddled with unsubstantiated dismissals against any point that counters your self-approved opinion.

Oh yeah, this bit....  Pot kettle?
Look, I get that you think you are in some sort of privileged position being a Councillor. I just want to know what right, power or law you think there is for a Councillor to attend a closed session of a committee if you aren't on that committee. You can't say "because I'm a Councillor"; it's as illogical as someone saying they can do the same because they are a school teacher, a cab driver or eat Weetabix for breakfast.

You are aware a committee may even have non-Councillor members on it, right? So it must be the case that it is equally incorrect to suggest anyone who's not a Councillor must follow the "member of the public" rules as much as it's incorrect to suggest anyone who is a Councillor shouldn't follow the "member of the public" rules.

Whatever you think you are or claim to be is clearly irrelevant. It just boils down to being either a member of the committee or not being a member of the committee. If you are a member of the committee, you sit on one side of the table. If you are not, you sit on the other side as a member of the public. Those people on the member of the public side follow the "member of the public" rules. If they're asked to leave, they leave.

If you can't comprehend that, there's nothing else to be said.
No you don't "get it" at all.
You have made an assumption - again - which is entirely without foundation.

You may NOT state my thoughts as a matter of fact!
You can state YOUR OWN thoughts.
You cannot claim to know anyone else's.

There is nothing else to be said so please say nothing else.
+2 votes
A committee is a body independent of the council that created it. The Proper Officer issues a summons to the members of the committee to attend and conduct the business as councillors. Those not conducting the business are not acting as councillors but may attend with the same rights as members of the public. To quote the NALC LTN:-
"Sometimes councillors wish to attend meetings of committees (or sub-committees) to which they have not been appointed. This is a perfectly legitimate practice as councillors have the same rights to attend committee (or sub-committee) meetings as members of the public. However, where councillors attend meetings of committees (or sub-committees) to which they have not been appointed, they will not enjoy all the rights they enjoy as councillors. They will not have a right to participate in the meeting unless the meeting includes a public participation session. In England, a councillor (or non-councillor) member of a committee is not, without a dispensation, permitted to speak during a public participation session if he holds a disclosable pecuniary interest or another interest stipulated by his council’s code of conduct in a matter that is being discussed during the public participation session of a meeting."

There are two easy ways to provide clarity on this issue. Firstly, the committee or sub-committee is established with terms of reference and delegated powers, which set out the framework within which it operates. The involvement of non-member councillors could be clarified within this document. Alternatively, if the aim is to clarify the position in relation to the exclusion of the press and public, as mentioned by others, the resolution to exclude could specify non-member councillors alongside the press and public.
by (53.3k points)
And the flaws in that argument are that:

(a) NALC “opinion” is only really relevant to councils that subscribe to NALC and even then it is for that council to choose whether or not to adopt NALC’s opinion.  Just like model SOs - they are a basis from which every council may choose, or not, to adopt, wholly or in part, NALC’s opinion.
(b) the contradiction - a Cllr not associated with the committee is to be treated as a member of public UNLESS they have a disclosable interest in which case they are to be subjected to CoC and treated as a Cllr - so which is it? Are they a member of public or a Cllr? I know what my thoughts are.
(c) the role, function and responsibility of Cllr is not something that NALC (or anyone else for that matter) can bestow, curtail or remove OTHER THAN AS LAID DOWN IN STATUTE.
(d) committee TOR or a local amendment to statute is wholly insufficient to authorise locally imposed rules which have no higher authority in statute.
Let’s cut to the chase - whilst it might be the case that some contractural elements might feature as elements where press and public might need to be excluded, the main area where such circumstances might arise are HR committee staff performance discussions.
Since EVERY Cllr is (collectively) considered to be the employer, that status rather adds to the situation which justifies the case for a Cllr to attend a meeting even where press and public are excluded.
It is not the case that "every councillor is (collectively) considered to be the employer".  The Council i- e. the body corporate - is the employer.
"...Alternatively, if the aim is to clarify the position in relation to the exclusion of the press and public, as mentioned by others, the resolution to exclude could specify non-member councillors alongside the press and public..."

This is to assume though, that the subject council knows better, and is authorised to amend, what was the intent of both Houses of Parliament in passing the Bill into law than their Lordships and Honourable members did.  If they had meant members of the public, members of the press and any other so defined person - well, to be fair, that is what they would have said.

The wording in the legislation is quite plain and easily interpreted as the press and the public.  There is no opening to suggest that a subordinate council may alter, add, change or amend the primary wording.  Not to add "non-committee Cllrs" not to add uncle John Cobley and his dog and not to add, or remove, or in any other way alter, the wording which has been through the proper process of both houses and passed into law.  To do so would be a flagrant over-stepping of the authority which is NOT bestowed upon a parish (or any other) council.

There is of course another screaming void in the argument being presented by those that maintain only duly appointed committee members may remain after the exclusion of the press and the public.
Who's that person sitting in the corner?  Neither a Cllr, nor a committee member nor a member of the public but the clerk!

So a Cllr is a Cllr when acting or holding them self as acting, or where might reasonably be considered as acting in the role of a Cllr - and that would be at a council meeting - and that would make them NOT public and that would make them exempt from exclusion of the press and the public.

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