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0 votes

We had a meeting the other day that was not quorate. Several councillors had not turned up because another councillor had said they were going to film the public meeting. The councillors didn't want to be filmed. The clerk did not emphasise that the law allows for all public meetings to be filmed and that councillors and officers can be filmed as part of the meeting. 

The clerk then circulated minutes from the meeting with the following heading at the top:

"MEETING WAS NOT QUORATE – NO BUSINESS TRANSACTED The meeting was not opened"

The minutes then went on to record a page of comments from the 3 councillors who did turn up - comments wherein they attacked the councillor who intended to film for encouraging the Chair and others to not turn up because they didn't want to be filmed! 

The minutes then included a page of comments under Public Forum - all making the same accusations against the councillor who wanted to film meetings. 

How can a meeting that was not opened have published minutes?

by (560 points)

6 Answers

0 votes
Simple answer, no.  No meeting so no minutes.  What you've got is a note of an informal discussion that certainly should not be published as legitimate minutes.
by (19.1k points)
No - the clerk has already published them online on the council website as minutes.

There surely cannot be minutes and a record of public forum if there was NO meeting?
As I said, can't be published in the guise of a formal meeting.  I agree there's nothing to stop publishing but can't be held to be a formal meeting as it wasn't and certainly nothing "agreed" can be considered to be a decision of the council.
I have to question the reason why such an inflammatory set of "notes" is being published other than to clearly discredit the individual who intended recording/filming the meeting.  There is no law against recording meetings.  In fact, the right to do so is protected by law.  Commentary from the chat down the pub after a meeting isn't "minuted" and published so why should the informal discussion in this instance be considered appropriate material to publish as if a legitimate meeting.
If a meeting is inquorate in my council, the clerk publishes a note that simply says the meeting was inquorate so did not take place.
0 votes
By law they must publish minutes for quorate meetings.

But is there a law that says a Parish Council cannot publish minutes from other meetings? Anyone can hold a meeting and publish minutes from that meeting if they wish. As long as they are not inferring that the meeting was quorate - and in the case it was made clear that it was not - i cannot see any reason why not to publish the minutes. It aids transparency for the public who may be wondering why the minutes for the expected meeting never appeared.
by (4.6k points)
The answer to that is that there wasn't a meeting, so there can't be minutes of something that didn't happen. What you have is notes of a conversation between a group of people whinging about the fact that we don't live in a perfect world. They can be published anywhere by anyone, but they aren't minutes of a meeting. As there was no meeting, there was no public forum, as this is a constituent part of the meeting. The fact that it has been noted separately suggests that somebody was chairing the non-meeting and following an agenda. There should be no separation between the councillors and the public, as the event should have followed the rules of a conversation in the local pub.
0 votes
The chair, the clerk and the Cllrs - and the public for that matter - need to get a grip of what can / cannot occur at a council meeting.

Any person may video / audio record a public meeting.  I've been doing it for years (since mid 2018) - although the first occasion still makes me laugh when I watch it (its on YouTube if anyone wants to see it.)
The PC had a right hairy fit lead by the then clerk (later handed lunch in a road map.)  Even the County Cllr in attendance was observably 'put out' by it - but the funniest part of all, in his surreptitious attempts to covertly sneak a picture of me overtly video recording the meeting he was actually DOING that which he set out to catch a picture of me doing so that he could present it to (I presume what he thought to be the powers that be) in an attempt to curtail me from doing it.
The irony was exquisite!
Having literally forced it upon them, the PC then educated themselves and came to realise it was entirely reasonable, lawful and appropriate behaviour despite their best attempts to prevent with attempted motions to relinquish a personal Facebook page to PC control, various motions claiming that filming was "disturbing" the meeting, threatening letters from legal firm at tax payers expense...  All to no avail.
Eventually, they came to realise that they needed to do their own filming and livestream.  It was just a shame it had to be forced upon them rather than showing the leadership, knowledge and public engagement they should have as a matter of routine...
by (21.3k points)
You describe exactly how I feel it will go for me! You should read what they put in the minutes of the meeting that never happened!
Send me a link!
They tried all sorts to stop me filming and publishing.   None of it worked.  I still do it now.
0 votes
Putting aside the question of whether this non-meeting should have gone ahead, the minutes as you have described them should never have been written.  Minutes are intended to record the decisions that were taken or, at best, as a summary of a discussion where it was not possible to reach a decision.  They should never be written as (what appears to be) a character assassination, whether justified or otherwise.
by (10.1k points)
edited by
0 votes
I thought that once Councillors had been summoned to a meeting it has to be opened , declared inquorate and then adjourned (not closed).
by (2.9k points)
0 votes
I was reported to the Police for recording a meeting, had threats of legal action made against me and the Clerk made false claims against me to the Information Commissioners which only came to light when I issued a Subject Access Request and to cap it off she published my request

I self reported myself to the Monitoring Officer and if anyone wants the link  send me a DM

What’s happened is a symptom not the cause which is a disfunctional and poorly run council
by (11.6k points)
edited by
I had a stage 1 ASBO warning for writing to the publicly listed address of the PC chair.

The poor sod that had to try and deliver that paperwork must have been the duty Sargent's least favourite person );0) He was very clearly told to Foxtrot Oscar and take his paperwork with him...
Then I SAR'd his body cam footage so that I could publish that as well );0)

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