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Can a Parish Council legally operate without a Chairman?

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If the Chairman resigns from the role and the Deputy Chairman is unwilling to undertake the Chairman role, can the Council continue to function, hold meetings, etc?
asked by (120 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
No. A parish council is not legally constituted without a chairman. Someone must take on the role, or the council cannot function.This is implicit in the Local Government Act section 14(1) which states that "A parish council shall consist of the chairman and parish councillors...". Appointing a deputy is not obligatory.
answered by (28.4k points)
0 votes
They could agree to elect a chair at the start of each meeting but this is not satisfactory in the long term.  As Counterpoint advises, it is that or the council not functioning.
answered by (11.3k points)
Interesting point, but there could be problems with that. The chairman has the power to call an extraordinary meeting of the council. But if a chairman is only appointed for the duration of each meeting, there is nobody to fulfill that role in between meetings. There is also the question of how would a councillor resign - the legislation requires them to resign in writing to the chairman (LGA 1972 84(c)) which again implicitly requires that there should be an appointed chairman. If members are really so averse to being chairman, I'd suggest that they take turns to be appointed for the period from the start of one meeting to the start of the next. But simpler to bite the bullet and somebody take on the job!
All your comments are true but it is a solution to an undesirable situation.  In my opinion, the need to call an extraordinary meeting would be as a last resort as you should be able to make decisions within the standard calendar of meetings.  Alternatively, a required number of councillors could also call an extraordinary meeting....
As for the resignations, I would take the view that the chair would be chair until the next meeting and therefore would be able to accept resignations in between but that is my interpretation and I would automatically seek advice from the borough council on this matter if it arose.
All in all, if you have a council that cannot produce a chair, you would have to think that something is seriously wrong...
That seems reasonable.

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