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0 votes
I am currently going through the pains of persuading Cllrs to more critically examine the reasons given with apologies tendered.  Having made decisions on the acceptability or otherwise of the reasons given what is allowable  to include in the minutes .  Should it be just accepted or not accepted.  I ask this  as our clerk is not happy with including any personal information .  Views ?
by (4.8k points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Dispense with the nugatory process of considering apologies and the reasons for them.

Cllrs are either present or absent.

If they are absent for 6 months they are disqualified although they should probably have asked themself the question - why? - if they are unable to attend for 6 months.

You're either there or not there - anything else is irrelevant in any regard other than having the manners to say you won't be in attendance.
by (21.1k points)
Completely agree I’ve just persuaded my local PC to adopt this system all that’s needed is to record who’s apologised and who hasn’t with no vote or reason
0 votes
Cannot see what personal information is referred to by the clerk for recording. All the council has to have is the reason given by the councillor stated and to vote to accept or not. ( thus recording and avoiding commencement of the 6 month rule) Illness, holiday or personal family reasons etc can be accepted at face value by confirmation from members of the council without fine personal details being stated (on three A4 pages verified by a lawyer .)

 After all Councillors abide by the Nolan principles of integrity and honesty don't they?
by (26.9k points)
0 votes
In order to ensure you don’t fall foul of the six month rule the Council has to formally resolve to accept the reason for the absence, not just apologies and this reason should be minuted, so ill health, work commitment etc , holiday etc
by (840 points)
0 votes
I think this has been raised before and I commented that in our council apologies are noted but not accepted.  Councillors were unhappy about making judgements about whether a work commitment or personal matter was an acceptable reason for an absence so this way they don't have to.  If someone is persistently absent then that individual can ask for the absence to be approved in which case the six month absence rule can be re-set.  We've done it for serious illness for example when the reason was noted simply as ill health.
by (19.1k points)
I like the concept of moving the monitoring of their own 6 months clock onto individual Councillors but I have one question. If a Councillor's 6 months is up on  a date in between meeting dates who manages the decision process ?  Can it be delegated to the clerk ?
It’s not so much a “decision” but rather a process. Disqualification is automatic - no decision required, just application of legislative requirement.
If 6 months has elapsed, and there is no minuted acceptance of apology for absence, disqualification follows automatically.
Facilitating that would likely require clerk notifying electoral services and chair informing subject Cllr.
There isn’t a “decision” within that process….
RAG OK what happens when a Councillor realises after 5 months and 3 weeks he is about to be disqualified and seeks to have his previous apologies tendered reviewed and if adequate  accepted.   Are you saying that no out of a meeting review is possible ?
No decision can be made outside of a meeting so no, there's no "out of a meeting review" possible unless a special meeting is convened.
+1 vote
Would you really want to minute something like "Cllrs X gives his apologies due to his wife passing away" (great way for a friend whose not been yet notified to find out).. or "Cllr Y is on holiday" (anyone watching on the live stream yes his house is empty all this week..) Cllr Z is unwell (cue a awful debate about how unwell he really is with it later transpiring he was actually sucidal so yes he was seen walking around the day before.. ). Similarly do you really want the unedifying and completely pointless spectacle of debating the merrits of the each individual apology. The fallout and unnecessary work generated as well. What does it achieve..  If you still retain a desire to consider apologies (a substantive motion proposed and seconded to accept the valid reason(s) with the apology shared for members is sufficient. Personally over time favour adopted position of other councils (note not vote & consider dispensations in specific circumstances for the six month rule)
by (8.5k points)
The only problem I have with the "no review possible" process is that depending on what day of the month meetings fall it can mean if you miss two consecutive meetings then you are out . That seems a bit draconian
The problem is not with the absence of the possibility of a "review" of reasons for absence - that concept simply doesn't exist.  If you miss attending a meeting for 6 consecutive months you are out unless apologies were submitted and accepted at the time of absence.  If you are suggesting that missing 2 meetings could result in disqual then that must mean you only have 2 meeting per year?
No RAG our Full Council meetings this year have been on Jan 23 , Mar 27,  May 15 and July 24 .  Therefore if a Councillor last attended on Jan 23 his 6 months is up on July 23  a day before the July meeting
OK, I see, maybe it could be as simple as bearing in mind the 6 month rule when setting the dates for the meetings.  Agreed, it might "appear" harsh to be disqual'ed for the sake of 1 day - but them the rules.  Change your meeting dates to avoid the issue.  If you had called an XO in Jun (and the subject attended) the issue wouldn't have arisen - too late now I guess.

There is another option of course - are you clerk or a Cllr (maybe even the effected Cllr?)

Who knows about the 6 month rule?  Are people clambering for the disqual of the subject Cllr or has nobody even noticed the implications?

The 1 occasion where I have had to implement the disqual neither the clerk nor any other Cllrs (and certainly not the public) had even noticed.  If I had kept schtum nobody would even have noticed....

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