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0 votes
Should a parish council publish on the open public agenda items that will be included in a private Part B section where the press and public are to be excluded?
by (320 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Yes but to clarify.  Part B as you refer to it, generally only applies to higher authorities.  Town and parish councils can exclude the public for part of their meeting (within certain parameters) but it is important to note that the discussion is confidential but the the decision is not.  When it is planned to exclude the press and public as part of a meeting, there must be a resolution to do so and I would expect that resolution to be indicated on the agenda when you know this is going to happen (see a separate thread on this subject).  It follows that the items being discussed are rather vaguely  identified on the agenda but they should still be there and minutes are similarly vague but again, should be there.
by (19.1k points)
Many thanks. There is only a resolution to exclude the public and no mention vague or otherwise of items to be discussed in a part B (public and press excluded) section. Is there a statute that governs this or is it just best practice?
Also may I ask do you know if reports referred to in the agenda should be published for the public to read before the meeting as well? At the moment all we have is a line item for a decision and a referred to report which is nowhere to be seen by the public but which presumably has been sent to the Councillors for them to read before the meeting. Thanks
The starting point for any issue relating to an agenda is your standing orders but if you have adopted the model set, you will see certain elements written in bold type and these are sections based upon statutory provisions so cannot be amended.  The requirements for the business to be transacted to be included on the agenda is contained within the Local Government Act 1972, Sch 12, paras 10(2)(b) and para 26(2)(b).  If a matter to be discussed is confidential, then the agenda item may be vague so as not to give too much detail to the public.  For example, a staff disciplinary matter might be referred to as "staffing matter".
The subject of  publication of reports or supporting documents has been referred to several times in previous threads.  In brief, if a report exists, it should (a) be sent to councillors before the meeting and (b) published on your website along with the agenda.  Reports on confidential matters may well be not published legitimately on the grounds they are confidential (assuming that they are genuinely confidential for good reason) but if in existence it follows they should be sent to councillors albeit possibly with the caveat that they should not be disclosed outside of the council.
0 votes

Rather than 'should', they must otherwise nobody (Cllr nor public) will know what the subject to be discussed is, and that which is not on the agenda cannot be discussed / resolved at the meeting so the answer is, yes, they must.

The skill is in the construct of the agenda item which will be published - the agenda item and the resolution have to be published.  The detail of the briefing and / or discussion do not.

by (21.3k points)
Thanks. Nothing is mentioned just a line item to consider excluding the public and press for a part B section (public and press excluded bit) and no detail at all about what it to be discussed vague or otherwise.
Not at all uncommon - doesn’t make it any “less wrong” of course, just illustrates that the person compiling and the person validating  the agenda don’t  really understand what is required.
At our PC meeting last week there was exactly the same - a motion to exclude press and public for an “HR update” which resulted in a resolution to extend a temporary contract at a cost of +/- £3k. Nobody had any pre briefing nor were they prepared prior to the meeting.
Just really bad practice.
Thanks once again. Without a definitive statute for me to rely on I’m sure a call for “best practice” will fall on deaf ears with our new council/councillors. They seem to just ignore the suggestions they don’t like and “follow” the once’s they do like or make them up themselves. I’m traveling through the LGA 1972 at the moment to see if anything helps me there. Otherwise I have no solution. For our “exclusion” section we have no idea at all what is being discussed - just an exclusion vote. Thanks though.

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