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Parish Council Committee Structure - The process of dissolution?

+1 vote
  • The Parish Council has the latest NALC Standing Orders are in operation.  
  • The Parish Council is currently Considering 2020-2021 Civic Calendar & Committee Structure
  • Currently we have "HR", "Finance", "Community Buildings Management", "Playing Fields & Open Spaces",  "Planning", "Policy" Committees meeting (& Neighbourhood Planning Sub Committee) & Monthly Ordinary Council Meetings 
  • I and a number of colleagues believe the inherited structure is incoherent and crippling council.    

What do i legally need to do dissolve said structure?  I have proposed a simple structure.   I have now been asked to produce 20+ page document setting out process including legal implications (and impact on any past council priority or project might have).  Its been implied "they" wont allow us to vote on said changes without said document.  I will do it (but fear goal posts will simply be moved anyway).   To date set out simple single covering sheet (with setting out role of T&F Groups, Need for Meeting Papers, etc with a structure similar to below:

  • Finance & Policy Committee (Every Three Months)
  • Staffing Committee (Once a Year for Annual Appraisal & As required)
  • 12 Monthly Meetings of Council (with an option of a recess) 
  • "Task & Finnish Groups" created as and when required with own clear "Terms of Reference"

Can a Clerk to the Council or the current elected 2019-2020 Civic Year Chair prevent a resolution been considered because they personally dislike idea of less meetings?  Ill be tabling the motion in advance (& meeting paper in advance) as i always do.  Ill be giving members at least 2 Weeks to read said document (having already debated various drafts of it already).  Everyone understands what they are voting for.  As individual Parish Cllr made clear anyone with questions welcome to get in touch.  Invited them to go see neighbouring Parishes to see success stories elsewhere.  Any help/thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  I fear if things don't improve soon we will loose elected members.  

asked by (920 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
The Annual Parish Council meeting that must take place in May is the meeting where the Chair is elected and the membership of committees for the following financial year is agreed.  It would be the correct time to form new committees, as is the case with my parish council, and to agree the appropriate terms of reference for them.

The reason for committees is to benefit the running of the parish council - to make the decision making process more streamlined and efficient.  Simply, without committees, all the responsibilities would be transferred back to the full council for decision making.  So there are no 'legal implications' or 'impacts on past projects' - it is just business as usual but a very, very long full council meeting!

The art in committees is to ensure that they have enough authority to act appropriately but that major decisions are still ratified by the full council.  If the council have adopted the NALC standing orders with no major modifications, it will allow for this but it also needs clear terms of reference.
With regards to the task and finish groups, this is the route that my council are heading so that events and specific projects can be undertaken quickly but with full approval to be gained from full council before any commitments.

I would suggest that you need a planning committee unless the clerk has delegated authority to respond or unless Full Council discuss planning applications on a monthly basis.  Our committee meets fortnightly.
answered by (10.9k points)
Many thanks for taking time to reply.  Against backdrop of combined total meeting time of 10 hours each month, meetings often taking 3+ hours and rarely achieving anything (even with the model standing order limiting meeting to two hours that is now in place they can vote to suspend it.. and simply continue) we just desperate to reset council.  I want a basic simple structure stripping back what council tries to do (to get back to actually finishing things and doing basics).
+1 vote
Neither  the clerk or chair can prevent a resolution being considered if it is linked to a specific agenda item with a motion calling for some form of action.
answered by (10.9k points)
Many thanks for taking time to reply.  That was my understanding to.   The resolutions that will be tabled (weeks in advance of meeting) and will be clear and concise.  It will be on Agenda (with meeting paper produced).   If members vote to support approach it seems reasonable to expect Officers & Chair to respect said vote.  What do i do if they wont?
4: COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES
d The Council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
xii. may dissolve a committee or a sub-committee.
If they prevented a lawful resolution being considered and voted on what would i have to do?  Would i have to go to a principal authority (and or personally go get legal advise at my own expense etc)
The first step is to ensure that the item is included on the agenda. The Clerk has the final say over this. If it is on the agenda and the resolution is proposed by you and seconded by another councillor, it cannot be ignored. Other members can, of course, propose an amendment to the resolution and put that to a vote. Ultimately, it all depends whether the majority of members support the changes you are proposing.

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