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Do Parish Clerks need to send round all committee meeting agendas to all councillors?

0 votes
Hi. We are having problems getting information from our clerk on other committee meetings we have 5. She says that she only needs to send them to the committee members And The agenda goes on the notice board for the public to and us to view. ,But as none of the committee meeting dates, times or venues are advertised within the Council, either on our website or at the ordinary meetings, How do the non committee members know when they are happening.? Is this right?
asked by (220 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Hi there.

There are two positions within a parish council privy to all information and that is the Clerk and the Chair.

Beyond that nobody has an automatic right to see any information beyond what is published. The only exception to that is if, like an member of the public, they submit a freedom of information request.

That said a PC should be fully transparent so the Cllr should not be concerned that something is hidden. If the Cllr is concerned that the committee from the info they have is not fulfilling its duties against its terms of reference that are entitled to add an agenda item to discuss it and of course vote on changes/dissolve.

It’s very easy for Cllr’s to assume that their position gives them the privilege to all information but sadly it does not. So long as the Clerk has provided all of the necessary information for the Cllr to fulfil their duties on the agenda points that’s all that is legally required.
answered by (3.7k points)
Sorry but that is a fundamentally flawed remark as can be seen by Dave the Clerk's response and the follow ups.. All councillors are ultimately responsible for the functions and operations of their Council.  If the Clerk and chair are filtering selected information, how can they fulfill that responsibility?  The Chair also does not have the elevated powers you seem to assume are the case.  I hope your Council is not tun along the lines you imply!
Firstly I NEVER assume because that makes an ass out of you and me!!

Secondly, there is nothing fundamentally flawed about what I said, it is down to your misunderstanding I am afraid. NO Councillor has the right to information more than a member of the public if they do not sit on the committee for which they are wanting information about! It might so silly to you but I am afraid that's the way it is. Do I agree with it? Not neccessarily, but it is what it is!

Nobody has suggested the Clerk or Chair are filtering information, they are just not issuing it on demand to a Cllr not part of the committee.
Thirdly, I'm afraid you've again misunderstood my comment in that I have not suggested, do not suggest and would not suggest the Chair has any elevated powers, quite the opposite.
In my PC I remind out chair and the council that the Chair is a facilitor of a meeting not a CEO or Leader of the Council.
Do you perhaps think you are better educated on my point now Graeme_r?
Well you have stated "There are two positions within a parish council privy to all information and that is the Clerk and the Chair."   That isn't an assumption on my part, but a statement on yours. I would like to see an appropriate legislative article that backs that claim. I would argue that if somebody really did have more extensive access to information than any other members of an organisation, that would amount to elevated powers, especially if stated in the Standing Ordes.. If the chair has access to all information, and openly refuses to make parts of it available on request , that is going beyond a meeting facilitator and annual return signatory, it is filtering in my book.
Hi Graeme_r
I'm not going to argue about it with you. It was assumption because me stating the Clerk and Chair have access to all information is not a statement that I believe they have an elevated position.

I would argue that almost every PC would see the Chair as someone that works the closest with the clerk and therefore updated more so than other Cllr's. To be clear I am not saying the committee information shouldn't be widely shared I'm just saying the Cllr from the original question is NOT any more entitled than a member of the public.
We'll leave readers to decide what does or doesn't amount to elevated powers - however I still contend that your assertion that "ordinary" Cllrs are not entitled to Council Information over and above the public is flawed, unless you can demonstrate that Part 5 of the The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 does not apply to parish or Town Councils, particularly
 "Additional rights of access to documents for members of local authorities"

16.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (5) to (6), any document which—  (a)is in the possession or under the control of the executive of a local authority; and
(b)contains material relating to any business to be transacted at a public meeting, must be available for inspection by any member of the relevant local authority
Just for the record, executive arrangements do not apply to parish or town councils. They relate to elected mayors, leaders and cabinets, but let's not take this one any further.
+1 vote
To comply fully with the Transparency Code, you should be publishing full and informative agendas of all committee and sub-committee meetings on your website at least three clear days before they take place, so all you need to do is to check the website every couple of days to see when the meetings are taking place and what topics will be discussed.
answered by (17.4k points)
They do not publish on the website so There are no advanced dates published anywhere for committee meetings only ordinary meetings - is this correct.
No.  Committee meetings should be treated the same way as full council meetings.  Do you allow the public to attend committee meetings?  If you're using the model Standing Orders, 15b is the requirement to publish the notice and 3d covers public access.
Hi - apparently the clerk puts an agenda on the village notice boards when there are meetings and yes the public can attend. I have been told that committee meetings are held when and if required!

So can I just clarify as a fellow councillors not on a committee I am treated as a member of the public and need to just look on our notice board everyday just in case a committee meeting is being held!
Just found out that the F&GP committee has not met except to decide on the Annual precept (Unminuted) for 5 yrs.   other council members had no idea as they are not informed of other committees and thought it normal practice. They work on trust!
Yes, you're a member of the public, but the documentation must go on a website in addition to the village notice board and you could now abandon the notice board if you wish.

A Committee can't set the precept, it can only make a recommendation, which can't be unminuted.  If you're not using the committees, you should abolish them.  The purpose of committees is to lighten the workload of the full council and shorten the meetings by accepting delegated responsibility for everyday functions.
Thank you all so very much - I am so impressed with your knowledge and quick responses. Really appreciate your help. Thank you again
0 votes
If the majority of Councillors want to see this information there’s no reason why they can't vote to change the Standing Orders to get it
I think the more Councillors knows what’s happening the better and in this day of emails it only takes seconds
answered by (1.7k points)

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