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Minutes at town council

0 votes
My local town council do not include comments made by the public from the monthly meetings. Is this a normal procedure
Thank you

by (230 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
One of our Councillors objected but it was claimed it wasn’t part of the meeting so any public participation couldn’t be recorded
From what I’ve seen the public get a rough deal if they try to raise matters no matter what form of communication they use
by (4.9k points)
+1 vote
Depends how you define "normal" of course. It seems that a lot of councils go out of their way to operate as some sort of closed secret society and answerable to no one. If there is an agenda item specifying audience participation then it is part of the meeting. Now if the council has a habit of only minuting "decisions" made at the meeting ( in my opinion a failure in their obligations under the code of conduct on openness and transparency rather than a desire to alleviate the perceived "clerical burden" on the clerk) you end up with "a member of the public spoke". Terrible position to take by a group of people who should be serving the community that elected them as representatives. Weeding out of vexatious or emotional requests from the floor is the job and the measure of strength of an experienced chair. Avoiding the issue or "kicking them into the long grass" is a failure of the chair.

Of course how the question is placed before the council is paramount in that it should be polite, accurate, factual and defined as to what action to be sought or expected, The chair should then either answer immediately or give a specification as to how and when the person will be answered and all of this should be minuted. But hey that's just good practice of course!
by (12.2k points)
Our residents are channeled through “ the office”
    Our protocol states that any matters raised should be passed to Ward Councillors but this never happens
So the response to our residents who elect us is based on personal opinion not as they’d expect the collective views of their Councillors
You can send written communication to the Clerk and ask for it to read at the next Full Council meeting.
Copy all your ward councillors on any communication with the Clerk.  If you don't get a response from the Clerk raise a formal complaint.  If the complaint isn't dealt with refer to the monitoring officer (usually employed by the next higher authority).
The Clerk as an employee is accountable to the Councillors that form the Management Committee
 The Monitoring Officer only handles complaints about Councillors

I know a case where a Councillor complained about the Clerks behaviour towards them and the Chair said their role was to defend the Clerk

Had the roles been reversed any Councillor acting the way the Clerk did would be in serious trouble

You could try complaining to the Monitoring Officer that the Management Committee are allowing the Clerk to attack Councillors but believe me it doesn’t work
So basically it’s catch 22
In the past when residents have copied all Councillors they’ve been instructed to ignore them
0 votes
Strictly speaking there is no need for the public comments to be minuted. Which some might deem as normal.   But If the comments amount to information that could have an impact on the Council's operation or finances It would be wise to include them as evidence of willingness to engage with the public.
by (25.3k points)
I do record Public comments but to be fair its pretty rare to get any public so its not too difficult a task.

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