Can a Parish Council lawfully adopt policies without a written motion?

0 votes
Our PC has adopted a number of employment related policies that were placed on the agenda by the employee (The proper officer).

The policies do not fall under items that are litsted in the Standing Orders as being 'Motions not requiring written notice'.

No councillor proposed or seconded the motions and no vote was taken. The motions are not recorded in the PCs 'Motions Register' This is an example of one of the items, the agenda stated 'To adopt a Communications Policy (Circulated via e-mail)'.

The minutes state 'The adopted of a Communications Policy was agreed.'

Do you think this will now be deemed to be a lawfully adopted policy of the Parish Council?

Do all decisions made by a Parish Council have to be propsed and seconded by councillors?
asked by (140 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
The proposing and seconding of motions is not usually critical, although it ought to follow whatever is stipulated in your standing orders.

But a vote is a critical element, and the legislation states that it must be a vote by councillors present at the meeting, usually by show of hands.  It is possible to request a ballot.  There must be some quite definite voting process.

If a decision is recorded in the minutes, and the minutes are approved (which also requires a vote) then it will be assumed that the signed minutes are a correct record of decisions made.  So it is difficult to challenge any decision once it has been recorded in signed minutes.

However, if the chairman is signing minutes without the support of a vote in council approving the minutes, then the minutes (and the decisions) could be challenged.  This could be difficult, though, and you would probably need professional legal advice to make progress.
answered by (27.2k points)
Thanks for that, but I am still a little unclear.

Our SOs require that written motions are provided by Councillors to the Clerk 7 days prior to a meeting at which they are to be heard. No such written motions were made and no motions are recorded in the motions register.

To clarify no councillor suggested/requested/proposed the motion. I guess the question is can a Clerk in their own right draft and propose a motion to be put before a parish council?
The clerk is responsible for preparing the agenda, and there are two aspects to this.  One is motions put by councillors, and the mechanisms you describe aim to ensure that properly put motions find their way into the agenda.  But the other aspect is that it is the clerk's responsibility to put matters before the council.  Usually such matters will be pertinent and the council will wish to decide them.  The council is free to decide against the clerk's recommendation, or to vote to ignore an item and move on.  The clerk is not the proposer of the motion and all the decisions remain the council's.
0 votes
The purpose of someone moving a motion (proposing) and then having a seconder of the motion, is to establish if there is any support for the proposal.  If it's not seconded, the matter falls.

Parish Councils don't always formalise their resolutions by voting, even if that's what it states in the Standing Orders.  Sometimes decisions are reached by consensus, and the decision will be clear to the Clerk (hopefully).  When the minutes are submited to the next meeting, if Members accept those minutes as a correct record, then, as Answer 1 states, it would be difficult to challenge.

I have had personal experience of this where a Parish Council (months after the event) was convinced it had made a certain decision, le's say X;  I pointed out that the decision they had taken was Y and was able to refer to the minutes.  They had to accept that the decision  Y stood and I reminded Members that approvng minutes of meetings was an important part of their role.
answered by (140 points)

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