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0 votes
Our parish council minutes only record the decisions that are made by cllrs and don't record what anyone says, however, in the public forum section of the agenda verbatim public comments are recorded. This gives rise to members making comments about cllrs proposals and citing the names of cllrs (namely me) in their comments BUT because cllrs comments are not recorded you have no right of reply included in the minutes.
Question is - can I sit initially in the public forum space and then when the meeting moves on to council business take my seat around the table thus ensuring that my comments are recorded?
by (560 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
As a councillor you are well within your rights to request through the chair that any particular  comments you make are entered into the minutes of the meeting especially if the are pertinent to an agenda item.
by (25.6k points)
they cite standing orders that say minutes will only reflect the decisions / votes taken.....
0 votes
An interesting question to which you are unlikely to receive a qualified reference but rather to be provided with (in varying degrees) considered opinion.
I would suggest that the procedural mechanism by which your meetings are conducted will play a significant part in (properly) assessing the situation.
What I mean by that is….

Are your standing orders such that proceedings of the meeting are ‘suspended’ for the duration of the public session?

If they are, it becomes kind of irrelevant whether you speak as a Cllr or as a member of public since the meeting is under suspended orders.
Does that make sense?
by (17.4k points)
Very good point - I shall go and take a look - thank you
It’s not entirely straightforward though since, even if SOs are suspended, and you seek to speak in the public session, it could still be argued that you are, or are holding yourself out to be, acting in the role of a Cllr (and therefore subject to CoC) because you are at a meeting of the PC and an external observer might reasonably consider you are acting in an ‘official’ capacity.
But CoC could be a bit of a red herring and irrelevant so long as you don’t actually DO anything which could give rise to the referral of a complaint to the MO.
I am actually conflicted by where this question takes us when measured against that other little teaser - can a Cllr be excluded along with press & public.
On the one hand, I think not since they are a Cllr at a council meeting.
But on the other hand, for me to extend that rationale, it would naturally follow that I shouldn’t seek to support a Cllr acting as a member of public simply because they are a Cllr rather than a member of public….

What fun!

The common factor in all these tricky questions seems to be an element (to a greater or lesser degree) of organisational dysfunction in the council which gives rise to the question….
0 votes
Our public forum is used as a means of bullying councillors whom the staff don’t like. Their emails are read in full without their names and some comments put into the minutes which clearly reference troublemakers (me) without mentioning my name, and other members of the public make lots of effort to attend and are sometimes critical, but the minutes say that they attended and made a point.
by (1.6k points)
You should require a right of reply if a point is presented which can be reasonably attributed to yourself.
If the ‘point’ is recorded, then equally the reply should be.
Sounds like you’ve got an uphill struggle.
Surely the public session is exactly that a chance for members of the public to raise points that are within the remit of the Parish Council ?
How can Councillors be speaking or emails mentioned as they should be agenda items so you would automatically have a right of reply
Do you record the meetings as I be fascinated to know what’s happening
It’d be good if there was a thread where links to webcast or YouTube livestreams could be posted by any council that currently provides an online meeting broadcast. Especially if it were from some of the councils that seem to have “issues” as highlighted by perennial posts here…

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