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+1 vote
At the last PC meeting the co option came on the agenda - 2 candidates had applied - one who is a partner to one of the other existing councillors and has close business/working relationships with 2 others - and the other who had no ties to any members. The chairman just read out a list of the 2 names and immediately with no discussion the 'related' person was nominated, seconded and voted through with no further discussion.

Firstly I believe that the 3 councillors in question should have declared their interest/relationship at the very least and also potentially abstained because of it.

Secondly the co option policy says that the decision making process must happen within a public meeting and be voted on - there was no decision making process as it appeared predetermined, with bias, and also by proposing a motion immediately there was no 'vote' or chance for any discussions to take place.

does this give grounds to challenge the legality of the co option
by (130 points)

4 Answers

0 votes

Any councillor should / could have called a point of order BEFORE the vote was proceeded and quoted standing order 1(s):

Before an original or substantive motion is put to the vote, the chairman of the meeting shall be satisfied that

the motion has been sufficiently debated and that the mover of the motion under debate has exercised or

waived their right of reply.

This is a not uncommon "sharp" tactic by certain types of Cllr when they may wish to rail-road a particular course of action or outcome.  

The main culpability lies with the chair for allowing the motion to be proposed, seconded and voted whilst there are Cllrs that may feel they have not fully debated the motion.  You say it was voted on and it wasn't voted on?

Unfortunately, some responsibility also lies with those that could of, but didn't, either see it coming or grasp it before it was allowed to go too far.

You could potentially present an argument that the chair (and possibly the others) "...improperly used their position to confer an advantage or disadvantage on themselves or another.." but it is likely that the MO would simply bat this off since it was a decision of the council after all.

It's a "sharp" practice, you have to be alive to it and not allow it to happen again - if someone is obviously pushing to get to the vote there is probably something they are trying to avoid coming up...

by (21.7k points)
0 votes
All covered under the "integrity" requirement of the Nolan principles to which all councillors agree to be bound by.
by (27.1k points)
0 votes
You may not be able to challenge the co option decision as such. You may be able to challenge the fact that 3 councillors had an interest in the item/ person co opted - didn't declare it, remained in the room and voted - via a code of conduct complaint.
Write your complaint specifically in relation to the ‘interests’ part of the code. State that any reasonable person observing this taking place, would consider the councillors’ voting to be biased.
However, as has been stated many times, putting in a code of conduct complaint requires a lot of stamina, thick skin and a supportive network. Whatever the outcome, it is not going to improve your relationships with your colleagues (and some neighbours). But the council may have to reconsider the decisions made when councillors didn’t declare an interest and leave the room.
Do you record your meetings? Keep a recording, and the minutes, get yourself irrefutable evidence of their relationships with each other and give it a lot of thought.
There are several conversations about this sort of thing going on on ‘The Councillors’ Corner’ on Facebook.
by (1.9k points)
0 votes
Agree with the other answers. The cllrs with a close relationship to the candidates should have declared their interest and left the room. Worth checking which version of the code of conduct the council has adopted. Those cllrs might be found in breach of the code if complaints submitted to the MO.

Did their votes make a difference to the result? It's worse if they did.

The decision might be challengeable but that would be harder to land. The MO might form a view if they investigate.
by (1.7k points)

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