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Delegated Powers and the 6 Month Rule

0 votes
Simply question over the past 6 months April-September our council was under delegated powers from April-June with the Annual meeting and 2 others cancelled due to Covid19 restrictions. 1st full meeting July via Online Zoom. August never a meeting due to holidays. September Next scheduled meeting.

For the six month rule to apply how many months will a member have miss if he is unable to attend in September Meeting for the period from April to September.

in brief from April to August only 1 full meeting has taken place in 5 months
asked by (340 points)
edited by

2 Answers

0 votes
I think that common sense needs to prevail and look at what the rule was produced to avoid. Councillors who flout their obligations that they were elected to fulfil. If no meeting is convened then you cannot be deemed to not have attended. The most basic of requirements of a councillor is that they respond to the summons issued to attend a meeting. The 6 month time period can be misleading and makes different assessments based on council's who meet monthly and those that meet every two or three months( or once a year) > I feel that accurate recording of apologies and their acceptance or rejection is a much better way of assessing a failure by a councillor.
answered by (3.1k points)
0 votes
It's hard to disagree with anything Mentorman has said, however, Section 85 of the Local Government Act states:

...if a member of a local authority fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of his last attendance to attend any meeting of the authority, he shall, unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the authority before the expiry of that period, cease to be a member of the authority.

In the absence of further clarification, I take this to mean calendar months, so 5th March to 5th September is six months. I don't recall seeing any relaxation of Section 85 in the temporary Covid legislation. The key to avoiding this is "before the expiry of that period." At the Zoom meeting in July, you should have approved the absence of anybody unable to attend.
answered by (18.5k points)
Today I received an email saying another councillor has been ejected from the council because of this 6 month rule, he last attended a meeting on 9 March, April, May and June also August there were on meetings we’ve had 3 extra ordinary meetings and 1 proper meeting, but the chairman who organises the zoom meetings has never provided any links for this councillor to attend. This 6 month rule has and is being used unfairly, where should this councillor go for advice  / help on this matter? Nalc I wouldn’t think would be any use as they always side the the clerk and chairman.
To start with, you should ask the Clerk why he/she has failed in his/her legal duty to issue a valid summons to these meetings. If the Chairman is the Zoom subscriber, he should forward the invitation to the Clerk to enable the Clerk to undertake the statutory function. If the Chairman calls an extraordinary meeting, he does not have the power to determine who should receive a summons to attend.

If this doesn't achieve anything, I'd go for a Code of Conduct complaint to the Monitoring Officer. It could be argued that you've almost achieved a clean sweep of the Nolan Principles - as there may be issues of objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership here.

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