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Surely the public have a right to observe the co-option of someone who is going to represent them, no matter who it is?

3 Answers

0 votes
I think this might depend on what your idea of what the point of actual co-option is, what I mean is where, when and how the co-option unfolds.

I think it is normal practice for the co-opted member to sit with the public while the co-option announcement is made early in a meeting and then be invited to come forward and sit with the council. That process obviously can't take place unless the co-opted member has first agreed to the co-option and is present at the meeting.

I confess to not being too well versed on the rules of this but from experience the council may concider a person suitable for whatever reason and the chair has then contacted them privately to make the suggestion and allow them to consider. If they agree the announcement as above has then been made at the next public meeting with the new member present in the public seating.

It would seem to me unfair and unreasonable to surprise a resident with a proposal of their co-option during the course of a public meeting, assuming of course that they are present.
answered by (870 points)
0 votes
As highlighted in a previous post Covid 19 has changed the way councils work. It has catapulted many councillors and public into a new world of technology but no councillors is paid for their role and there are no expenses that covers the payment of internet provision
I know of a council where the cooption process is taken outside the meetings altogether so that new members are ready to go for the next meeting thus leaving the meeting to be just down to the running of the parish. The view was It is the councillors that vote, not the public

It is easy to think things are being done wrong but all councillors are part of the policy making and these Policies should be reviewed annually. Cooption should be one of these policies

Whatever the outcome of a cooption it must be documented at a formal meeting
answered by (1.7k points)
If a co-option policy is ignored, and co-options take place outside of public meetings, what is the point of having a policy in the first place?
Covid 19 has forced change on a lot of councils because they could not follow their normal way of working. Some of these changes are temporary, some will be adopted ( post covid) because it improves the way the council works.
The legislation we currently work to is ever changing with temporary updates and no doubt will eventually be overhauled when the government gets around to it. (Don't think its top of their priority at the moment!)
I am sure no council has any policy on the use of zoom because before March running a council this way was unheard of. A good council has policies in place to provide guidance but a lot of council do not have many policies at all. I think it is important to accept that currently most councils are trying to keep up business as usual almost working with their arms tied behind their backs.

Sienna0 did not say how members of the public were blocked but I can only assume it is referring to those individuals that do not have internet access but some do not realise that zoom can be accessed by telephones however the application process would have to be sent out to them and received back by post.
Possibly, Clerk Gable, you may have missed the point being made.  It is not about a Zoom policy, it is about a co-option policy.  Zoom is a way of enabling the public to join a meeting, thus complying with a co-option policy which states that co-options will take place in ordinary or extraordinary meetings.  However, with reference to comments made in a previous thread (which the question originated from), the use of online voting forms to co-opt excludes the public, as the forms are completed 'behind closed doors'.  As there is no agenda to inform the public of the co-option, the public do not find out until the next ordinary or extraordinary meeting, when it is recorded, and this could be weeks or months after the co-option has taken place.  This is not being open and transparent with the public.
I do wonder why as councils we are stuck in the old way of doing things, paper trails etc. The government use online voting so why not use it for parish council work

Like I said previously cooption is a vote by councillors only not the public. The public have their chance of an election every four years. Yes ten residents can ask for an election but that is an expensive and unnecessary use of parish precept money. Our last election cost in excess of £3000 for the post of one councillor!
0 votes
Very difficult to understand why anyone would not want to fill vacancies. You can raise this with the democratic officer of the Principle Council . Also if 10 members of the public complain or raise it with the officer you can potentially force an election for vacant seats.
answered by (510 points)
Glad you are in position of having full councils, some of my councils have had at least two vacancies for years Maybe its to do with the North / south divide

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