Can the Chairman of the Parish Council also be the Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee

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asked by (120 points)

1 Answer

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Yes, unless the Parish Council's standing orders or the Village Hall's governing document impose any restrictions.  Depending on the legal relationship between the two bodies, it might be more transparent not to have the same individual holding both positions, but there is no overriding legal impediment, as far as I am aware.  In my experience, it is not unusual for people to hold multiple roles, particularly in a small community, but it is vital that they remember which hat they are wearing at any given time.  As a trustee of the Village Hall, they must, under charity law, act in the best interests of the charity at all times, even if this is not in the best interests of the Parish Council.  If the individual is appointed to the Village Hall governing body as an official representative of the Parish Council (in accordance with a procedure set out in the Village Hall's governing document), they are placed in an unenviable position!
answered by (690 points)
I have a similar situation in my village although I have a different gripe. My Community Centre is a charity to which the PC appoints all trustees. The Charity has no members and is therefore only answerable to the PC, who in turn underwrites the Charity's losses to a significant amount i.e. 20% of its entire budget. It is quite clear to me that having the same persons in both camps helps to oil the wheels regarding the grant.  This scenario means that the public pay the grant through the precept but have no access to the management committee. To add insult to injury they market themselves as a Centre serving adjacent Villages as well but it is if course only us who pay for it. The bigger it gets the more it looses.
This is a perfectly legal method to operate a charity, and it is perfectly legal to award a grant to a charity, each councillor should record their trustee status in the register of interests and they should withdraw from the grant application.
However, in some cases this would be impractical where most/many of the councillors are trustees,  but it should [ideally but not legally] be noted in the minutes (or standing orders) that they are permitted to contribute to the debate and vote on the grant.
Oh I know it is perfectly legal but as the wording of the constitution bans the Management Committee having to answer questions at their AGM and that has in the past included questions about transgressions of the constitution. In summary they have all bases covered and that leaves the public somewhat frustrated as the Charity has no need to aspire to a break even situation as it knows all its operating losses will be covered. The Councillor trustees are also given "special dispensation" to discuss and vote on matters at the PC meetings.

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