As Clerk, can I send draft minutes to the councillors AND the Chair, to check I haven't left anything out?

0 votes
Sometimes on very busy meetings, many people speak at once and it is possible to mishear or inadvertently leave something out.  Is it OK to ask the parish councillors as well as the CHAIR to check the DRAFT minutes BEFORE placing them on the notice board and web site?
asked by (150 points)

4 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer
Yes it is.  The chair does not have any executive powers to unilaterally hold and vet the draft minutes. All Cllrs are responsible for the actions and functions of the council.  The main role of the chairman is to chair full meetings of the councils and sign a paper copy of the final minutes.  These have to be agreed by all Cllrs before the chair signs them..

It might be an idea to purchase some audio recording equipment so that you can play back the meeting and verify what is said yourself.
answered by (5.2k points)
selected by
+1 vote
Firstly congratulations on publishing draft minutes many Parish Councils including my own deliberately delay publishing agreed let alone draft minutes until the last possible moment even though I’ve pointed out a neighbouring parish publishes draft minutes within 48 hours

It is entirely up to you when and how draft minutes are published so if I were you I’d put it on the Agenda and get the Councillors to agree the procedure
If you are having problems keeping minutes could it be that the meetings have lost their structure and become chats rather than formal meetings ?

Personally I believe all meetings should be recorded as this provides a 100% accurate record.  In this day and age it’s so easy to do and I personally make a recording using an IPhone and this is in a large room with 15 Councillors

When I started doing this it this did result in me being reported to the police and the Information Commission but that’s another story
If Borough Councils can record, film and live Tweet from meetings as mine does there’s no reason why Parish Councils can’t

I also believe Parish Councils should produce monthly bulletins
answered by (160 points)
0 votes
This sounds like a recipe for problems to me. As a Chairman, I don't check the draft minutes until after they have been published.  As a Clerk, I don't allow the Chairmen to see the draft minutes before publication. All councillors, including the Chair will have the opportunity to correct errors and omissions together in a public forum at the next meeting, but offering them this opportunity individually opens the door for individuals to add or amend items to suit their own recollection or agenda, thereby creating an inaccurate record of the proceedings. If, after consulting everybody, changes have been made, you would need to reconsult everybody regarding the changes, inviting them to amend the amendments. This could go on for sometime!

As Graeme has said, the Chair does not have any executive powers, so rather than allowing everybody else to view the minutes because the Chairman does so, I'd be tempted to withold them from the Chairman.
answered by (4.4k points)
+3 votes

Some good answers already. I'd just like to add a couple of points. As clerk, you have a role in ensuring that the council acts lawfully. Part of that is to see that decisions are correctly taken. Matters to be decided need to be on the agenda, as it is unlawful to make significant decisions that were not shown on the agenda. And a decision is, by default, taken by a show of hands. It needs to be clear that the council has decided the various matters put before it, and you should press for this to be so, if it is not.

The requirement to decide matters on the agenda gives a clue for minute taking. It's a good idea to write draft minutes before the meeting even takes place. This does not, of course, preempt anything. It is easy enough to make changes such as "agreed" to "rejected". The only absolute requirement on minutes is that they record the decisions taken. You should not attempt to record the debate. Otherwise, it is useful to record points made that require a follow up. Leave a space in the draft minutes for an item that may raise new points so you can easily make notes. Then, after the meeting it is relatively simple to finalise and promptly publish the draft minutes, and await feedback from the whole council.

answered by (26.8k points)

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