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Parish Council Grant Awards procedure

0 votes
The Parish Council has a grants Committee. Can it exclude the press and public to consider grant applications?
asked by (120 points)

3 Answers

+5 votes
It's hard to see how such an exclusion could be justified. The council is considering giving public money to some other organisation, and that certainly seems to be something the public are entitled to know about.

Public exclusion requires a specific motion to be passed, and this should give a reason, at least in general terms. By their nature, grants do not normally involve confidential internal information, such as staff matters. Nor do they involve a legal dispute. So, of the common reasons for exclusion, only confidentiality remains.

In most cases, the information required for a grant application is also available to the public. Again, it's very hard to see that the fact of a grant application should be kept secret. In the unusual case where some supporting information is confidential, it would be sufficient to keep a relevant document confidential and avoid direct reference to its contents.

Personally, I've never known a council exclude the public for this particular purpose, maybe others have justifiable examples.
answered by (28.9k points)
–1 vote
It depends on the committees terms of reference which should have been defined when the committee was set up and agreed by council. It could be that it covers both applications by the council for grants or/and the council granting monies to those applying to the council,.such as local groups or charities. There may be a case for protecting information from such applications from individuals or groups and this will have already been defined in council policy on data protection. As stated by counterpoint I can see no reason why an application by the council for a grant should be anything other than open and transparent in line with codes of conduct.
answered by (4.7k points)
This is a Parish Council not MI6, Parishioners are forced by Law to pay the precept so it’s  not asking too much for the Parish to be run in a transparent manner
The Act is quite specific so I’d be interested to know under what section they are considering excluding the people who’s money they are spending
Ask them exactly what section of the Act they intend to use and why, then ask the Monitoring Officer for advice
Maybe I’m lucky but our MO is very helpful
–3 votes
Just a bit of a wild card, some grant applications ask you to identify if you have been turned down for any previous applicant ions. Some councils are nervous when they are discussing grants applications within the community. By discussing it in open they may feel that they cannot freely say what they feel about the application.

District Councils do not openly discuss applications in front of the public, you just get feedback so it could be where this council has got the lead from. We use a scoring system based on the criteria requirements. This helps to keep all applications consistent and helps with feed back for failed grants
answered by (3.1k points)

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