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Can a person be refused co-option if felt unsuitable when more vacancies than candidates?

0 votes
by (140 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
If you slightly re-engineer your question it is possible to arrive at a straight forward answer.
The ONLY prerequisite for co-option (other than the mandatory qualifying criteria) is a majority vote of existing Cllrs in favour of the co-option candidate.
So if a candidate gains a majority vote of existing Cllrs - they’re co-opted, if they don’t they are not.
So a person can’t be “refused” co-option but they can fail to gain a majority in favour.
by (10.5k points)
Thank you RoundAgainCoxn. I was told that  even if the candidate fails to get a majority they still go through anyway if there are more vacancies than candidates.
My principle is that it’s up-to the residents to select who’s on the Parish Council not the Councillors
It’s happened a couple of times on my PC and I personally apologised to the rejected candidates afterwards even though one was in a political party opposed to mine
The trick is to follow my example I waited until a vacancy arose met the rejected candidate and asked if they wanted to stand for election and then got 10 signatures and sent the paperwork in I then made the point of signing the candidate’s application to stand
Because so much is covered up the other Councillors weren’t told about the election so the look on their faces when they walked in and saw the new elected Councillor sitting behind his nameplate made it all worthwhile
0 votes
Paragraph 5(5) of The Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 states:

"...where a casual vacancy in any such office is not required to be filled by election, the parish or community council must, as soon as practicable after the expiry of the period of 14 days referred to in paragraph (2)(c), co-opt a person to fill the vacancy."

If you have a vacancy and you have somebody willing to fill that vacancy who meets the legal requirements to be a Councillor, they should be co-opted. They still require a majority vote, but members should be reminded of their obligations under the above legislation to support the co-option, regardless of their personal views of the individual concerned.
by (47.4k points)
Whilst I wouldn't dispute any of the reference you quote Dave, I do take a very different line on the compulsion / encouragement you seem to be suggesting should be applied to Cllrs.

The reason I disagree is that I absolutely believe that each individual Cllr absolutely must treasure their own vote and only cast it when absolutely clear on that course of action.

If anybody ever suggested to me - whether clerk or chair or cllr or member of public, that I should cast a vote one way or the other "...because of an assumed deference to legislation..."  the response would involve travel.

All of that said, I am also very uncomfortable with the whole co-option process where cllrs select peers.  It is a generally sub-optimal system.
I just don't think I could co-opt someone for example convincted of specific offences that for whatever reason they escaped a custodial sentence sufficient to be prevented from standing. I just couldnt.. I couldnt look electorate in eye. I couldnt do that to our staff etc. I think my argument would be if legislation itended it to be automatic it shouldnt require a vote to affirm (which clearly to co-opt it does).
That’s exactly what I was thinking…
But if you have vacancies and that person had submitted a nomination form, they'd be on the Council for the next four years regardless. There's nothing you can do about it in those circumstances. And who gives you right to cherry-pick councillors anyway?
It seems crazy that with a Casual vacancy co-option (and 4 yearly elections) anyone can be elected unopposed if there are insufficient candidates without involving any voting .  Yet with another form of co-option instigated usually at the PCs behest that Councillors can insist on  a vote.
As one commentator once said the latter form of co-option smacks of desperation as Councils cant attract applicants any other way.  The problem is that in some cases it can be used to disrupt the balance of power.  Some clearer guidelines are needed. Having said that in my experience I have never seen any refusals to co-opt.
Unusually I feel obliged to disagree with DavetheClerk. I don't want the right to cherry pick councillors, but we're forced into it by the process of co-option. I'm always in favour of elections, and encouraging people to stand - a poll is very welcome. It's sad that it often doesn't happen. Currently, I'm in the midst of a disputed situation. A number of councillors feel that the vacancy has not been effectively publicised. Also the sole candidate is the spouse of the clerk. That is not unlawful, but it does go against the council's agreed policy on councillor-staff relations. (The council didn't invent it, it was pushed by NALC). In those sort of circumstances, I feel that it is legitimate to stress "practicable" and defer the decision while more effort is made to recruit candidates. Repeatedly deferring would not comply with "as soon as practicable" but I do think it provides some leeway.

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