Notification of Meetings

0 votes
Not having a television I have been following the local Council and attending meetings for entertainment for a good many years now.
2 weeks into a new term and the Council is already changing meetings around and adding extra ones, a common occurrence of late. Up until the new Clerk I, and many other interested members of the public were on a mailing list so could keep up. I can go on a mailing list now but only for events at the local Hall where the Town Councillors are sole trustees and officers have taken over.

I was told to keep checking the website for any meeting changes, that is not practical. The Council's social media pages are littered with Hall events but there is no capacity to put Council business on there I was told.

My question is - am I being unreasonable in my request to be notified of variations to the meeting calender. Thank you in anticipation.
asked by (240 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
I don't think you're being unreasonable, however there is no requirement for the council to offer this facility.  As a minimum, they must publish the agenda and associated papers on a website which is publicly accessible free of charge, not later than three clear days before the meeting.  Publishing a calendar of meetings is good practice, but is not a requirement.

Perhaps if the Clerk will not co-operate you could ask a friendly councillor to keep you informed.
answered by (5.6k points)
Thank you that is helpful. I'm really being kept on my toes there's been an email address change without warning now!
That's interesting . What are "associated papers"? It is noted that my DC council when asking Cllrs to decide on a matter, that the report from a Council Officer is always attached to the agenda , yet with my PC any reports are simply circulated to direct to Cllrs and the public has no sight, so they discuss but the public does not know what they are discussing, so what should form part of the agenda.
Members of the public, whether parishioners or not, are entitled to have a copy of any document the councillors will be discussing three days before the meeting.  All County Councils do it, all District Councils do it, but there are still far too many Town and Parish Councils hiding their deliberations.  There really is no excuse.  The agenda must explain the nature of the discussion, not just the topic, and all supporting documentation must be in the public domain, apart from the very occasional exceptions, for which the public and press will be excluded from the meeting (some confidential employment issues, legal matters, contracts for major works etc).  In an ordinary parish council, these are so rare that many clerks never experience them.

It is for this reason that councils should not have Any Other Business on the agenda, as prior notification cannot be provided and also that they should be wary of making decisions in relation to matters raised by parishioners under their Public Forum agenda item, which some councils schedule before the start of the meeting so that it doesn't form part of the official business.
Thanks. Well if that happens it should certainly contribute to greater transparency. Could PCs get around it by  accepting verbal reports instead of written reports ?
No, verbal reports should not be used.  Providing written reports before the meeting allows members more time to consider an issue, thereby facilitating better decision-making.  It also curtails the power of individuals to steamroller the council into a decision through the provision of incomplete or inaccurate information.

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