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+1 vote
Can the chairman (or any Parish Councillor for that fact) speak to a developer without the prior knowledge of the Parish Councillors?

Thank you
by (1.2k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
This depends very much on how it is done. Councillors are free to talk to anyone. However, they cannot speak on behalf of the council unless they have been explicitly authorised to do so by the council. They must not represent themselves as being able to make decisions. Nor should any councillor take up an offer of discussions that preclude the involvement of other members, as that would also usurp a position to which they are not entitled. Generally, councillors should be open about their dealings, and willing to share any information they obtain.
by (32.7k points)
Thank you counterpoint.
Our clerk sent this to us the other day regarding a developer who wants to have a pre-app meeting with the council.

Pre-app meetings are private, not held in public. Councillors are able to ask questions, but not offer an opinion. However the clerk, as an officer, can ask anything, as they take no part in the decision making process. Councillors need to be aware of pre-determination.
Hope it adds to the debate!
Thank you,I do understand about the pre-apps but I thought they, as they were, brought up at the PC meeting (this is when he let it slip but retracted his admission when he realised what he had said) but this person actually knocked on his door & spoke to him. No councillor other than his 'clique' has any knowledge of what was said such is the duplicity. As the persons involved  know little of rules regulations, protocols the law (indeed I don't think they care or respect them) they think they can do what they want. Pre determination indeed; scary methinks
I do not accept that clerks can ask anything as they are not councillors and should not enter into any discussions. The clerk could get away with asking heavily loaded questions which may skew opinion. It is definitely not a good idea to have these meetings as a developer should hold a public meeting and consult locals as is deemed best practice, and not hold private meetings obviously intent on swaying councillors' opinion. Most LPAs would insist on public consultation. Anyway, LPAs do not take parish council comments seriously so what would be the point of privately trying to sway the parish council?
+1 vote
Quite often Parish Councils will have a media policy (especially with the popularity of Twitter and Facebook) which will state that any formal comments from the Parish Council must come from the Clerk or the Chair.  Councillors can comment in public but they must stress that this is their own opinion and not that of the Parish Council.  However, getting a Councillor to curb their tongue when they have the stage, is an art in itself...
by (23.5k points)
Thank you both for your comments. An interesting and different view which I will think about.

I know that the chairman cannot 'tell' the clerk what to do unless sanctioned by the full council; but how much or to what extent can the clerk tell the chairman that he is wrong (that is if the clerk has this sort of knowledge that is)? Lose cannon we have and I must say this person has the personality (questionable) of a sociopath and he is very very hard to curb; the rest are frightened of him and it is so horrible that I have now resigned but hopefully at our PC elections in May I will go back on
Do not be afraid to challenge your clerk. The rules on everything are quite clear, if manifold, but reading is the answer to bad practice. Quote the relevant Acts and regulations, post them on your own private website (wordpress or similar is very easy, and free), name and shame bad councillors, bad clerks and bad practices. I do it and it works, but be careful of libel and of falling foul of employment law when slagging off a clerk, if you are a councillor and therefore could be construed as being the employer. Non councillors are have more freedom in that respect.

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