Hi Clockworkmouse. Don’t beat yourself up about the AGM thing. So many councils still do it. Technically, an AGM is a meeting of members or shareholders, so it doesn’t apply to us. We have two very different meetings, with confusingly similar titles.
The Annual Meeting of the council is the May meeting of the parish council, which must be held within 14 days of the election in an election year, at which important items such as the election of Chairman must be addressed. In an election year, it’s also the meeting at which all of the statutory declarations must be signed. Your standing orders should include a list of agenda items for this meeting in both an election year and each intervening year.
The other meeting has many titles, but is frequently referred to as the Annual Assembly or the Parish Meeting. This must take place at any time between 1st March and 1st June. It is not a parish council meeting, although it is usually called by the chairman of the parish council, chaired by him/her and recorded by the clerk. It can also be called by any six electors of the parish, who will then assume responsibility for all aspects of the meeting. There’s a good explanation of these two meetings in the Good Councillor’s Guide.
The format of this meeting is not prescribed, although the legislation does include provision for electors to demand a poll on a particular issue. In practice, this meeting provides an opportunity for the parish council to present an annual summary of achievements and to invite other local organisations to do likewise. The event can be celebratory rather than a formal affair. The legislation permits parish councils to determine how they would like to conduct the meeting. Specifically:-
“Subject to the provisions of this Act, in a parish having a separate parish council the parish council may make, vary and revoke standing orders for the regulation of proceedings and business at parish meetings for the parish.”
On the specific question of minutes, the parish council has no role in approving them, as it is not a meeting of the council. The legislation states:-
“Minutes of the proceedings of a parish meeting, or a committee thereof, shall be drawn up and entered in a book provided for the purpose and shall be signed at the same or the next following assembly of the parish meeting, or, as the case may be, meeting of the committee, by the person presiding at the meeting.”
The full legislation is contained in the Local Government Act 1972, schedule 12, part 3. Our friend Google will escort you to the appropriate location.
I hope I’ve addressed the issue on which you were seeking help.