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Procedure for changing the date of a PC meeting

0 votes
One would imagine, as with all things PC, that unilateral decisions are inappropriate.

Where a published schedule of PC meetings exists - and where it is constructed from the instructions laid out in (model) Standing Orders - a deviation from published schedule would only be credible if supported by an (open to the public) meeting where a motion and a vote of the PC were conducted.

Notwithstanding sudden, unforeseen major catastrophe impacting upon the entire community, is a last minute (and I mean literally minutes before the published scheduled meeting is due to commence) unannounced change of PC meeting date lawful / appropriate / acceptable?

It must be assumed that all members of the PC and the clerk were aware in advance, but that it was not communicated to the electorate.
asked by (6.3k points)

1 Answer

0 votes
It is not ideal but as you say, last minute emergencies might mean that the meeting has to be cancelled.  It could be that the quorate number was not met due to a sudden issue...?  Why do you assume that everyone knew in advance?  Things happen that mean changes have to be made.

Presuming this was a virtual meeting, there could have been internet issues, power cuts, sickness that cannot be predicted.  I presume that the meeting was rescheduled or will be rescheduled?
answered by (16.5k points)
I assume that there are underhand shenanigans in play because:

- the meeting schedule is published 18 months in advance
- that no agenda for the scheduled meeting was published either online or paper copy
- SOs clearly define the requirements for issue of agenda, meeting scheduling and the procedure for change of date time place
- none of this clearly stated procedure was followed
- that only after the absence of agenda was highlighted, and on the day of the meeting, an alternative date was posted online
- that this is the first contested election in memory
- the new meeting date is 5 May
- that this is the last meeting before that election
- that there is a recorded history of underhand strategic gameplay from the incumbent PC
Of course "unforeseen events" and (so called) "coincidences" are entirely possible, but when there is a recorded history, when does "coincidence" become a repeated series of predictable events?

There is a new date and an agenda published but there is no explanation or justification for the change.  This is indicative of an utter lack of respect for the community and it is my opinion, based upon extensive experience, that there is a nefarious reason - albeit, as yet, unknown.
The fact that it is a contested election is surely a good thing then?  The meeting on the 5th May is pretty irrelevant as they have to have a meeting within 14 days of the election in order to elect the Chair etc.  Meeting beforehand before the council as it stands is disbanded doesn't make sense.
The whole point is, along with frequent inappropriate use of the exclusion of press and public, this is a PC which finds itself facing a contested election BECAUSE of the habitual ineptitude and secrecy.

The latest example is the failure to issue an agenda, then a last minute change of meeting date.

There is something afoot, just haven't worked out what it is yet...
what council are you referring to?
A PC - are you asking which one?
yes, I would be interested to know, if you are happy to advise.
The meeting on the 28th April could have been rescheduled to meet the requirements for notice period during the national mourning.  Days in national mourning do not count for the 3 clear day requirement.  The meeting planned for the 5th may is not the Annual parish Council meeting, it seems it is the same agenda that was planned for the 28th April.

It also seems that your Clerk hasn't been in attendance and so it is likely that procedures have not been totally correctly followed as a Councillor has stood in to fill the gap.  They also might not have had the passwords to correctly publish the agenda?  That can happen.

I agree that it is a bit messy but hopefully an election will cut the wheat from the chaff and with a Locum Clerk, then order and stability can return.
A lot of guess work and assumption there.  Not really helpful but thanks anyway.
Hardly guess work as I got that information from the minutes published.  It seems that you have concerns with the parish council but the best way to make a change is to stand as a councillor rather than just screaming into the wind.  Or speak to the monitoring officer if you believe that the council is acting illegally.
Maybe best stick to the original question - is a last minute change of meeting time / date / location lawful / appropriate / acceptable.
Simple.  No it is not unlawful, yes it is unacceptable.
There is a procedure - just happens to be the opening paragraph of the SOs.  It wasn't followed.

There may be occasional requirement based upon unforeseen circumstances - but there is no explanation / justification.

It is another example of poor practice (and there will be a nefarious reason for it - just haven't found it yet)
Pointless contacting MO

It will be collated with other examples and presented to auditor
I am standing on 6 May with a coalition of like minded independents

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