Questions about town and parish councils
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0 votes
Current council despite promises are consistently excluding the public  by mainly using working groups instead of committees. They now are looking at a committee with a sub committee. No doubt the public will not be included with the sub committee. Time for any member of the public to speak is being reduced from 5 to 3 minutes even though there may be only 1 or 2 members of the public there.
Also who pays for the hall hire for a second parish meeting?
by (340 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Committees and sub committees come under the same requirements as the PC does in being open to press and public and requiring admitting the public, giving notice of meetings and requiring agendas and taking and publishing of minutes.. You are correct in your assumption regarding the use of working parties to side step openness, to public attendance and minute taking requirements. What do they have to hide? On the question of parish meeting if properly called the organising and cost is bourn by the PC
by (27.5k points)
edited by
The rules aren't quite the same for committees and sub-committees.  Section 4 of the model standing orders states, amongst other things:
"d The Council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
ix. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a committee;
x. shall determine if the public and press are permitted to attend the meetings of a sub-committee and also the advance public notice requirements, if any, required for the meetings of a sub-committee;
xi. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a sub-committee that they are permitted to attend;"
This is why so many councils call their committees sub-committees even though they have no parent committee, as they believe that this gives them the right to exclude the public entirely from their deliberations.
0 votes
I assume this is the tip of the iceberg so the solution is replace your Councillors with better ones
by (11.7k points)
0 votes
Also worth noting that there is no limit to the number of Parish meetings that can be called for in a year( by the community) other than just the required annual one. Effectively making any attempts at ignoring the voters in the community by a bad council negated.
by (27.5k points)
Agree but there's no legal obligation on a parish council to take the views of a parish meeting into consideration.  Of course a good one would but then they wouldn't be in this situation if the parish council cared about the views of their electorate, would they?
Again in agreement but any PC that had to arrange and hold parish multiple parish meetings as a result of having their requests dismissed or ignored would A) need to justify the expense they were incurring from budgets and B) leave them selves open to reporting to the MO for breaching codes of conduct i.e. not adhering to Nolan Principles therein C) effectively admit publicly ignoring the wishes of their electorate
Thank you. I realise that there is no legal obligation for the parish council to take into account the views of a parish meeting but the meeting has to be minuted so the public's views would be recorded and the minutes put on the website. A referendum is possible too and that too can be ignored, but it can be very powerful if done at the right time. Not a thing to be done lightly because of the cost to the people.
0 votes

Working groups cannot make decisions; only recommendations to council for a decision.  They're often used to reduce the workload of producing agendas and minutes but a bit of a false economy in my opinion.  

As far as public speaking is concerned, it is better to get the subject on the agenda rather than rely on raising things via the public speaking session.  Decisions cannot be taken on items not on the agenda so it can be pointless raising matters in that session as you won't get a debate and decision.   Getting a councillor on your side to raise an agenda item is a better way forward.

by (20.2k points)
Thank you. There was no discussion at the last meeting over a policy and it was voted through even when I pointed out that because of personal accident law and minors they should not destroy records on a playground after only 5 years. An amendment is now on the next meeting after the clerk checked my statement. I no longer want to be a councillor but will point out errors when I see them and that takes up most of my contribution. A block of them campaigned together and the clerk is brand new. The chair knows that working groups are meant to be task and finish groups but he has has been a councillor for years and I could share stories that would make your hair curl. The whole council were put onto a working group which means that it could be said that they come to a meeting predetermined. There are 4 new councillors, all with a connection to the chair and another councillor in some way, plus another 2 new councillors. Six inexperienced councillors, elected in May, can be easily led. I am cautious of what I put in writing but in my opinion this council has a lot to learn about how to manage a budget for the benefit of all electors. I didn't get it right to start with as it takes a while to realise what you have to do and that monies have to be spent proportionately on the whole parish and I then started looking at the census as well which revealed interesting data. I also started checking other parishes to see what was done elsewhere instead of just following councillors who had been there for years. I can get one councillor on side but often I am pointing out basic mistakes or asking that health and safety checks can be made after I have seen the background papers. It took asking to get those published.  I will just keep asking for information. Once the new 6 have experience I can step aside. I have other things to do.
And councils up and down the country complain about the difficulties to filling vacancies on councils despite pleading for applicants to be co-opted. With this style of non governance becoming the norm is it any wonder why people don't want to be involved.
Unfortunately, the present rules of PC are based upon the requirement of having people of integrity and dedication to the community as councillors to work successfully. Sadly they tend to be in the minority on Councils these days.
Is the PC referred to as the first level of democracy purposely being allowed to wither and die by design as it has no place in this intended brave new world order?

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