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Votes of no confidence

0 votes
What is the procedure for a vote of no confidence in a Chair of a Parish Council?
asked by (330 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
There is no formal process for this.  The Chair must be elected annually, so talk to the members of the Parish Council about making a change next May.
answered by (17.4k points)
0 votes
Whilst there is, as said, no formal process there is no reason why a vote of no confidence cannot be place on the agenda providing the requisite number of councillors so wish it. Of course there is no official action required should a motion be carried other than placing on record in the minutes the fact that the council has no confidence in the chair. But of course we then run up against the requirements of the Nolan principles which demand of councillors integrity and leadership and a vote of no confidence should highlight the absence of in the chair. Integrity would demand a resignation but of course if the chair has not abided by these principles then they will ignore the writing on the wall and you will have to wait the next chair election
answered by (2.3k points)
I suppose some would question whether a motion of no confidence (noting no actual valid resolution is possible) should actually end up on an agenda in the first place mind.   Meetings should be about making decisions is there not a risk lengthy protracted discussion and vote on something like that would just make things even more toxic.  I can see why people patiently bide time waiting till May..
If the requisite number of councillors require that a motion is to be put on the agenda then it becomes council business. Council meetings are with due respect not just about making decisions. That is a fallacy perpetrated by NALC and  their local  offices to streamline and cut down on meeting times and clerk workload. Note in their recommendation that meetings should only be X minutes and members of the public can only have Y minutes to speak and that minutes should only show decisions made. If a chair is not performing their duties correctly then they should be open to censure by the council they are a members of. Don't forget that the chair is elected by the council so it is right that they should be held to account and a vote of no confidence is the best way not putting up with it until the following May. In the same way the council can be called to account by the community that elected them through a Parish Meeting.
My concern with a vote of no confidence this early in the year is that it doesn't remove the Chair.  Only the Chair can do that.  What it does do is force every member of the Council to state publicly whether they are for or against the Chair, which could split the Council into two equal sized factions who might then devote the next ten months to puerile squabbling.
A fair point which can happen with any discord within a council. This is one of the things that should only be called for if there is a concensus of opinion within the ranks of the council and normal diplomacy and persuasion has failed or fallen on deaf ears. or thick skin.It puts on record the problems arising.Nothing transparent about a majority of councillors who are not happy with the chair's performance but suffer in silence. It has to be good that everyone knows where they stand.
The problems would have had to arisen pretty quickly since a majority of said Town/Parish council had resolved to elect said Chair (or resolved under the relevant specific Covid-19 legislation to continue with existing appointments by majority).  Its sure hard to say definitively that the other measures to address shortcomings have failed after just handful of meetings.  I suppose if a single event was so outrageous that a massive consensus quickly formed that the Council felt forced to say something/do something to distance the body from the Chair its a little different.  I still think are better ways mind.  Are there many examples of Chair loosing a "vote of confidence" and actually resigning?    Can think of examples where it split Council virtually down middle Chair casting vote motion "fails" and all out war ensues in contrast.
I've seen this happen a couple of times. As others have said there is no legal way to remove any Cllr from a vote of no confidence.
If the council goes ahead with a vote of no confidence then I would suggest doing it by closed vote as not to raise any further tensions from people openly stating their position. One should also remember the 'code of conduct'. Regardless are the reasons behind the proposed vote it is never nice for someone to sit in front of a group of people and potentially be 'kicked' to the floor, nor is it pleasant to watch.
When the results of the vote is announced it will give the Chair a clear position of what their council feels. If the result is a good majority then one would hope that the Chair seriously questions their position.

A difficult and uncomfortable area.
Thinking a little more about this, the Chair may ask that votes be recorded to show who voted for and against. If councillors abstain to avoid having their vote recorded, the motion is likely to fail. If there is an equality of votes, the Chair may use their casting vote to defeat the motion.  My smaller parishes have only seven councillors and we very rarely see all seven together at a meeting. If one person is absent, the Chair only needs two friends to become an immovable object.

A wily Chair losing a confidence vote might simply say "I'm not the Messiah, I'm a very naughty boy* but I won't do it again" as justification for continuing in the role.
(*I use the masculine intentionlly here, as it almost invariably is!)
All things are possible and unfortunately shying away from difficult decisions because......it is too hard or it might upset someone is what in my opinion is the basis for the paralysis that has taken root in many of our Parish Councils and detracts them from doing the job they were elected to do.If the chair is not competent in the position then there should be no reason why this should be covered up or protected by imagined fear of knowledge. Openness and transparency, integrity and integral to a chair, leadership

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