Questions about town and parish councils
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0 votes
I recently attended a Parish committee meeting where I had several things itemised on the Agenda and I must confess I left totally disillusioned. The relatively new Chairman was often dismissive of me and on several occasions admitted he had not read the relevant papers and with others said did not understand them. Eventaully he told me to hurry up when talking about one item as "we have all got homes to go to".  I find it totally frustrating that various Committee Chairman don't act as I would expect when in business i.e. with the same professionalism. My understanding is that in business one of the main roles of a Chairman was to monitor the performance of his direct reports i.e. in other words to make sure the  various strategies of the business were being effectively deployed.  My question therefore is what is the precise role of a Councils Chairman and does it include responsibility for monitoring the performance of sub Committee Chairman.  I must confess I am beginning to question whether I am asking too much of people who are volunteers and whose attitude seems to be "you elected us now go away and leave us to get on with it"
by (4.9k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
The role of the chair is to just chair the meeting and there is no hierarchy of management with other councillors.  The main responsibilities are to ensure that the business of the meeting is conducted in an orderly manner and to keep control.  They are not there to monitor the performance of other councillors which is often the source of frustration for councillors and staff alike.
by (24.4k points)
For completeness the Chair is empowered unilaterally to call an extraordinary meeting or extraordinary general meeting and to counter sign the Annual Governance return  (AGAR)
For completeness, it is the Chair of that particular meeting that is required to sign the Annual Governance return ;-).  This year, it was signed by the Vice Chair as our Chair was unable to attend.
Completenesses completed!
+1 vote
MrsAbster has explained the role of the Chair perfectly. You have given an example of the appalling conduct that is sadly quite common in town and parish councils. In your position, I would have a quiet word with the chair and, in a non-confrontational manner, explain how disappoionted you were with his attitude and conduct. Maybe you could remind him of the Nolan principles? If this doesn't help, perhaps you or somebody else could notify the council of your intention to video the next meeting. Being criticised by an individual parishioner is a less daunting prospect than submitting ourselves to public scrutiny on YouTube until our dying day!
by (53.3k points)
well, thank you DavetheClerk, very kind of you!
You're welcome. Credit where credit's due!

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