Questions about town and parish councils
Follow Councillor Q&A on X/Twitter

Follow us on X/Twitter

+1 vote
Even though standing orders state that minutes and agendas should not contain confidential information…

Even though the internal auditor has said that the council should make non confidential minutes available and
Even though the county advisory body said that minutes should be circulated…

I have even sent in an FOI. They are not going to share them stating that they contain personal data. What can be done?
by (1.9k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes
You can present the case that the AGAR is non compliant in respect of assertion 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 & 8 since you CANNOT have achieved the necessary checks and controls if there is no access to minuted decisions.

Apart from that, if the clerk, the chair and sufficient number of Cllrs are determined and inept - not much...
by (21.8k points)
–3 votes
Minutes for staffing committees will contain confidential information though, by the very fact that you have to minute meetings, but it’s about staff therefore confidential, so minutes won’t be published for all to see. I agree the agenda should be published as the bit about apologies, agreement of minutes and any public participation are open to the public, then the meeting is closed to the public. The agenda would have those three then perhaps something like to discuss staff matters, which is the confidential session

Unless you are on that committee you have no right to see the minutes although if you insist I would share the minutes with you showing the first three items and redact everything else
by (840 points)
Does your council have a standing order which says
‘The agenda, papers that support the agenda and the minutes of a meeting shall not disclose or otherwise undermine confidential information or personal data without legal justification’ in ‘Management of Information’?
Unless that’s in the model standing orders then no.
It is in the model standing orders and it’s in bold…
I'm sorry Won but I completely disagree.  Discussions can be confidential but agendas and minutes can't so a competent clerk will draft these in a way that records the business but not the personal information.   To some extent this can make a nonsense of both documents and it's not unusual to see minutes that say "the council agreed to the recommendations in the report" when the report itself is exempt from disclosure but the principal remains that discussion is confidential, not the decision.
You can absolutely have confidential minutes relating to staff. Say you are making 10 staff redundant, the published minutes would say redundancies were discussed in line with the confidential document, and that document would not be published.
It sounds like many here do not agree with you and keeping confidential agendas and minutes is not compliant with legislation. Can you check if your standing orders include the one I mentioned above.
Yes we do it’s on bold and is therefore a standard clause. I would however publish an agenda that lists 1, apologies, 2 decs of interest, 3 minutes of last meeting, 4 resolve to close the meeting 5 to discuss staff matters or sone such

Minutes would the. Be published and point 5 would simply say staff matters were discussed and a way forward agreed or some such bland point that gives nothing away
This appears to contradict what you said earlier, but I don’t think that you can ‘give nothing away’ either. Are you a clerk? If you are then you have to find a way to balance the fact that you discussed something confidential with the fact that you have to make a record of what was decided that everyone can read.
I apologise most profusely that you don’t get what I am trying to say. To clarify you have to have minutes, but can’t say anything, does that make it clear? You cannot say anything that is confidential is that clear.? And don’t tell anyone how to do their job. As it is I am sick of the people who think they know it all on this site but don’t. Sone of the rubbish told us unbelievable, so I am leaving
+2 votes

There is a useful and relevant discussion of this issue by Mrs Abster at https://towncouncillor.com/3311/should-a-personnel-committee-publish-minutes

by (33.5k points)

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Clares Cushions logo Peacock cushion

Clare's Cushions creates beautiful hand made cushions and home accessories from gorgeous comtemporary fabrics. We have a fantastic selection of prints including Sophie Allport and Orla Kiely designs and most covers can be ordered either alone or with a cushion inner. Buying new cushions is an affordable and effective way to update your home interior, they're also a great gift idea. Visit our site now

2,981 questions
5,837 answers
8,168 comments
10,135 users
Google Analytics Alternative