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We have a proposal on our agenda to decide whether we ask the county/district council to take over the maintenance of the parish churchyard as we had excessive expenditure on it last year and further excessive costs coming up for repairs etc.
I asked as an individual and not a Cllr if our district Cllr could ask the Director of Customer Services what the procedure is in going about this in advance of the meeting so I could be armed with any relevant information on the process. The Director wrote informing me that the relevant officer was away and would get back to me on their return.
The clerk was not copied into any of these emails but mysteriously sent an email out to all councillors and the Director stating that I am acting outside of my authority. I have written to the clerk informing them that I believe they have exceeded their authority as I was seeking information in my own name and NOT instructing or requesting that any action was taken on behalf of the council. This was a fact finding mission only which I am perfectly entitled to do.
Any thoughts?
by (560 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Yes, your Clerk is exceeding their authority. As a member of the public, you have the same rights and privileges as any citizen in a free democracy.

Looking at the churchyard issue, it seems unlikely that your district or county council will take on this responsibility without seeking reimbursement from the parish council. Assuming that the churchyard was formally closed by an Order in Council, the parish council had three months from the date of the Order to pass this responsibility to the district council. Beyond that deadline, the district council is entitled to refuse. Section 215(3) of the Local Government Act 1972 refers. If your churchyard wasn't formally closed, the maintenance responsibility lies with the parochial church council (or the diocese if the church itself has been closed) and the district council will not get involved.
by (53.3k points)
Yes quite possibly but they recently took over another parish council's churchyard and I felt we had a good precedent argument. Thank you for your response. I may have screwed up because I sent my email to the district councillor from my parish council email address although in the actual email I signed off with my name only and no reference to me being a councillor. It seems my email programme as soon as I put in the district councillors email address defaulted to my parish council email instead of my personal email. Either way I was not asking as a councillor but as an individual.
Parish councillors can engage district councillors - whether by voice, email or jungle drums. It is a fallacy to suggest otherwise and an unreasonable restriction to seek to prevent it.
You have to ‘have regard’ to the ‘advice’ of your clerk. In cases like this (and your other question) all that means is listen to them - then ignore!

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