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0 votes
If a parish councillor attends a committee meeting relating to a committee which he/she is not a member, is the councillor regarded as a member of the public and therefore expected to be excluded as with non-councillor attendees? The councillor is a member of the same parish council as the committee sitting.

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by (280 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
I queried this shortly after joining the corporate body I currently serve on (Parish Level) but was assured by a Local Association of Local Council Officer that they were right to exclude fellow councillors at that point who are merely observing.   Its a bit frustrating having to go stand outside in freezing cold (waiting for your meeting to start) if segments of the previous late running one exclude press & public though.  Equally without wishing to open a separate can of worms do feel councils over use the provision to exclude. I often find the decision to exclude attracts far more attention (often negative) than any actual decision itself.   Id love to be able to operate in far more open transparent fashion.  Id love nothing more than meeting papers to be available to inspect (accessed online),  tenders to be published online, request for quotations in similar public way.
by (9.1k points)
I couldn't agree more on the subject of councils over-using the exclusion provisions and it's interesting that you mention the weather. I'm aware of one council that likes to deal with all financial and planning matters in a closed session. It makes little difference, as there are rarely any members of the public present, but it does affect the District Councillors in attendance. They've recently adopted a gentlemen's agreement that they won't exclude them if it's raining! This may have been prompted by the fact that they didn't list those items at the end of the agenda, then found that the DC's went home rather than waiting to be re-admitted.
Thank you for responding.
0 votes
That's an interesting question. My initial thought is that they should be excluded, unless they are attending in an official capacity (substitute etc). The 1960 Act refers to publicity being prejudicial to the public interest, which may not be relevant in the case of another member of the Council, however in staffing matters, which are a common subject of exclusion motions, allowing other members to attend could prejudice future appeal/grievance/disciplinary processes.
by (54.1k points)
Thankyou for responding.
+1 vote
There is no lawful basis to automatically exclude any body from attending any Council meeting.   Exclusion for anybody from ANY council meeting can only be lawfully applied by reference to Schedule 12 of the 1972 LG Act. and a resolution may be required.  And people can still attend the meeting for items that are not deemed exempt or confidential.

If the agenda for the next meeting  does not state that  members of the press and public are excluded,, simply turn up to the next one and if you are refused entry,inform them that the exclusion is unlawful, as it is not indicated on the agenda.  
If the agenda says that an exclusion applies, ask the Clerk why.  Ask  on what basis  with respect to schedule 12 for ANY of the agenda items was a resolution to exclude given, or the record of justification for exclusion was minuted.  If they can't provide an answer their exclusion is unlawful.
by (35.5k points)
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