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If members are co-opted whilst waiting for election, do they still have to be included in the election?

0 votes
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, an election (for 2 seats) was postponed one week before it was scheduled to take place.
Of the 4 candidates on the election list, 2 have since been co-opted (via Zoom) onto the Parish Council, leaving the remaining 2 candidates in an uncontested position.  Surely, they will now be able to join the Parish Council without a costly election having to be run?
(Our Chairperson has told us that an election will still have to take place, and if the 2 recently co-opted members get the most votes at the election, the other 2 candidates will have to apply for co-option!)
asked by (120 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Could you point me to the guidance / law that allowed you to co-opt due the postponement of elections.

I am more than happy to be corrected, but I can't find a legal basis to co-opt pending an election.

The only way I can find guidance for is to ask the principle authority to appoint councillors, which can be fairly simple process.
answered by (6.6k points)
Thank you - our Chair 'took advice from the parish clerk and other councils'.  There was no reference to legal guidance.  We have had one co-option per month since April (four in total), two of which took place during full council meetings via Zoom (with the public observing), and the other two were via online polling forms (not carried out as part of a meeting, but were recorded at the following full council meeting).  As far as I'm aware, the clerk sought advice from CALC.
Thank you Robin,

I have checked the NALC guidance and the regulations that have been passed and I can't find anything that seems to allow this.

I just cant work out how you legally get them to resign so as to allow the election to occur.

I would ask your Clerk to confirm the law used or ask the Clerk and Chair to share a copy of the CALC briefing to councillors, as this arrangement seems all to Heath Robinson, and possibly not legal.
This highlights a problem that appears endemic  with Parish Councils.
If it’s a legal point Councillors need to see the original correspondence including  the question, the answer and who gave the answer rather than some vague assurance

Would anyone in their private life follow legal advice based on unsubstantiated phone calls or emails ?

You are involved in the serious matter of electing public officials which is defined in law so you should have insisted on seeing clear evidence from a reputable body that you were acting correctly
In an case an uncontested election is exactly what it says and costs very little plus candidates can drop out if they want
Have you established if the election will take place as I’d have thought  that the process will have to be repeated from scratch

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