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Who writes an agenda item

0 votes
I have been told it is the Cllr's responsibility to write an agenda items correctly for it to be on an agenda after my items were refused and the clerk can only correct spelling and grammar. Is this true and if so how do I find out how to construct an agenda item correctly.
by (230 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
If you're following the model standing orders to the letter, you must submit your own motion at least four days before the meeting. If the Clerk thinks that the meaning of your motion is unclear, they may reject it and ask you to re-write it. If the Clerk thinks it is improper, they should consult the Chair of the meeting to decide whether or not to include it. The Clerk has the final say regarding whether or not it is included, but if they reject it, they must record it as a rejected motion with an explanation of why it was rejected.

The best way to understand how motions are written for your Council is to look back over previous agendas, as every Council has its own style. The Clerk should assist you in this process too.
by (47.4k points)
Thank you - our Parish Council is having a few internal issues with procedures and updating policies. it has been run extremely badly for years and years Old style I am afraid.. Sadly we have a new chair following in the same old style as before. A couple of us are beginning to ask questions and are now we are being frozen out and blocked. Our Clerk I am afraid doesn’t seem to know much legally and we definitely do not have a house style. The chair always answer on her behalf. But we wanted to do the right things in the right order so there could be no comeback.  I am very grateful to this site for your professionalism - thank you
Our Chair claims the Clerk and the Clerk alone is responsible for what is included on the Agenda and that as Chair they have no control over this

The Clerk without any discussion has now imposed a form she insists we should use for motions without any input from us so I’ve pointed out that Standing Orders would need to be amended to accommodate this change

Individual Councillors almost never submit motions and to do so is somehow considered to be an attack on the system
There are several Councillors who’ve served over 10 years who’ve never submitted a motion
Hi Jules - agree There are only a couple of us that ask question here and as a consequence we are being blocked out. It’s how some clerks and chairs deal with the new. There seems so much contradictory behaviour, and advice it’s really hard to know what and how to Behave most of time. Maybe that’s why nothing gets done on Some Parish councils. My head hurts a lot of the time just going round in circles.
Yes Jules, your Chair is technically correct, apart from the issue of improper motions mentioned above, but in the real world, Clerks and Chairs should work together on agendas.

The Council I Chair used to have a member who brought complex matters to meetings with no advance paperwork and only a subject with no motion on the agenda. For this reason, I introduced a simple report template, so every agenda item now has a report circulated beforehand with motions included. It saves a lot of time at meetings.
I was intrigued by DavetheClerk's comment that the Clerk must record any proposed agenda items that he/she rejects together with the reason. Could you please tell me where this should be recorded?
It's up to the Clerk to decide how and where to record them.  Standing orders just say "shall be recorded with an explanation..." but it's important for transparency and to protect the Clerk from accusations of bias.  A simple note in the agendas file would suffice, possibly a tick-box form for reasons for rejection etc.  They could be read out at the start of a meeting, but this isn't essential.
Thank you DavetheClerk.
0 votes
Having read the previous answer and responses, my council is similar except Councillors here put up motions for a past time!
We recently amended the SO to state a report is needed with each motion. Before we had a format, but it wasn't used all the time. This has caused huge problems!
I personally now only submit motions if they are linked directly to our functions (many do not) but always seek officer input via the Clerk, or a request to support XXX ( via a Council statement ) as it's  relatively cost effective.  But I am refraining ( minus one that is pending and it seems they won't allow) as they effects our budget/s.
Councillors here always request spend  from "General Reserves"
by (4.6k points)
The culture of spend from general reserves is a lazy substitute for proper planning and really annoys me. This is an important time of year when all councils should be formulating plans for 2021-22 to inform the budget-setting process, whilst looking further ahead with a 3-year outline plan. It doesn't help when a county council suddenly announces a three-month window to apply for capital grants of up to half a million quid, with no prior warning. Never done it before. Two sides of A4 application form. Must be election time!
Agreed. That's why I try not to put much forward although  my one pending makes refference to budget ( forward planning ) as we have no budget for it but has to be done.
Our GR is now at a historic low and just at a safe level.
We haven't started our budget process yet here.
In one sense, the budget process never stops. As Councillors, our eyes, ears and especially our minds, should be constantly open to ideas and suggestions. Some will be more achievable than others, but it's healthy to dream too.

At the back of the Good Councillor's Guide is a table of all of the powers and duties of a local council, with their legislative references. I use this as a pre-budget training aid, going through line by line discussing the relevance of each to our parish. It can stimulate some really interesting debate about potential projects.
0 votes
Our agendas are quite formulaic and some items are loosely written, as well as including specific items where needed and which require specific attention. So under 'Councillors attending outside meetings' we would have a councillor give a very brief report on said meeting. This will often trigger a request for something to be put on a future agenda for more detailed discussion, (as decisions can't be made without this step). Similarly, the last item on every agenda is to consider urgent items that need to go on future agendas. I have seen this on several councils agendas, which is where we got the idea.
by (5.1k points)

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