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Should items adjourned from a previous mtg appear at (or near) the top of the next meeting's agenda?

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We had several agenda items at our last Full Council meeting that had not been discussed after 2.5 hours.  At this point, Councillors decided, on a vote, to adjourn these items to the next meeting.  However these items are again near the bottom of the agenda, raising the risk that they will not be discussed again.  This could be used to avoid discussing topics that are uncomfortable for some of our senior Councillors who can influence the setting the agenda for meetings with the Clerk.
asked by (1.5k points)

1 Answer

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There is no legal requirement regarding the order of contents, but the convention is to start with Apologies for absence, then declarations of interest, signing of the last minutes, public participation and then on to the meeting 'proper'.

The agenda is the responsibility of the Clerk and they create the order.  Councillors shouldn't have any input into the order but can of course request agenda items.

It would be appropriate for the carry over from the last meeting to be nearer the top of the agenda but there is no legal requirement for this - it would just be down to the strength of the Clerk v the Councillors to undertake this.

One possible solution would be to propose a motion to the effect that any items carried over must be added to the beginning of the agenda and this is procedure is added to your standing orders and if that is resolved, you have a legal backing then.
answered by (12.3k points)
Thanks.  We're about to do our annual review of Standing Orders, this is one item I'll be asking to be added.  I'm awaiting a response from our Clerk on the reasoning for the ordering of the latest agenda.
The ordering of items on agendas has been a source of annoyance for many years now.  The Chairs of Council and Committees are consulted by the Clerk when setting the agenda.

If I don't get a reply from the Clerk I'll ask for an item on the next agenda to propose your solution.

I'm still amazed at the powers of a supposedly neutral Clerk in the running of the Council's affairs - and this is not saying that I have any antagonism to our Clerk.  I would just expect items to be placed on the agenda in an apolitical, systematic manner e.g. in the order they are received by the Clerk.
A lot of clerks (understandably) roll over the agenda to the following meeting as there are often fixed / repeated items and that makes more sense from an administrative side.  In my parish council, we always have Borough Councillor reports at the beginning as they are often going to 2 or more parish council meetings in one evening.
The situation occurred when we found that the items at the end of the agenda were being rushed in order to make the 2 hour deadline so we included maximum minutes for each agenda item.  Therefore the borough councillors, who like to talk, were restricted in their time and this has worked well and allowed every agenda item to be given due consideration.
Yes not saying the standard items at the start should change (absences, declarations, dispensations, minutes and matters arising, public participation, announcements).  I'm just saying that new items should not be added before those items that were adjourned from the previous meeting, e.g.  update on review of policy documents, a new proposal from one of the committees, discuss changes to the schedule of meetings have been put in front of the adjourned items.  If nothing else, I think it shows a disrespect to the items that were previously adjourned - and therefore implicitly showing bias from the Clerk (and/or Chair).  But perhaps I've had my fill of the shenanigans of local government and I should resign before I issue some profanities in the council chamber - it seems that councillors can be walked all over - not exactly the way to encourage people to stand as councillors.

(I'm sure you're one of the good'uns by the way :-)  )

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