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Parish Council decisions and procedural fairness

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Hello

Are decisions of Parish Councils subject to procedural fairness, especially when decision making directly affects parishioners?

Thank you

Sam
asked by (2.2k points)

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Please clarify what you mean by this Sam.
answered by (18.5k points)
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Hi DtC

Can a PC make a decision to impose a restrictive sanction on a parishioner, without right of appeal, stemming from undisclosed allegations that were considered by members during a secret and one sided hearing?

Thank you

Sam
It sounds as though your parish council has overstepped the mark here, unless there are provisions within your standing orders for this. Parish Councils must conduct their affairs in public, so the nearest we get to a secret meeting is the consideration of confidential items in closed session. In order for this to happen, the item must appear on the agenda of a meeting of the council or a properly-constituted committee at which it is to be considered. It must then comply with the very limited list of conditions for the exclusion of the press and public. A resolution is required, setting out the circumstances and the reasons why the item must be discussed in closed session. All of this must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. If none of this happened, the council has not made a legal decision.

You haven't given the nature of the allegations, but am I correct in assuming that this was, in effect, a complaint against the council?
Hi DtC

Many thanks for your explicit response.

The undisclosed allegations were made against the parishioner and the PC also reported to them to the police, which the parishioner was also unaware of.  After she received the PC's letter containing information surrounding their decision to impose the restrictive sanction because of the undisclosed allegations and police involvement, the parishioner then submitted a request for her personal information to the police. The police replied and told her that they do not hold any information relating to her regarding the undisclosed allegations which the PC reported to them.

As I am sure you appreciate, the parishioner is perplexed and very distressed by the actions of the PC and this whole matter appears to me to be procedurally unfair as she has not been allowed to 'defend' herself from the undisclosed allegations before or following the hearing.

Any further thoughts would be deeply appreciated.

Thank you

Sam
I've sent you a private message Sam.
And what exactly has the Parish Council sanctioned on the Parishioner? I doubt they have any legal power to sanction (A threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule) very much on a parishioner, regardless of it's perceived procedural fairness, other than a breach of a byelaw.

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