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Can a Parish Clerk act as Chairman?

0 votes
Bit of an odd one for you

At a Parish Council meeting, there are 5 councillors and 3 have declared an interest in an item, which would mean the Council would not have sufficient councillors to allow legal voting on that item.
However, the Parish Clerk suggests that to allow the vote on the time to go ahead the Parish Clerk was voted in as chairman for the time only, to allow quorum to be met and a decision was made.

Is this even legal!!??

And yes this has happened (not on my council) but on another council that our Clerk clerks!

Down_Here
asked by (1.3k points)
edited by

3 Answers

+1 vote
The Clerk is a servant of the council and not an elected holder of office empowered with decision making, so I would say it is not legal. If 60,% of cllrs present have a prejudicial or financial interest then the decision should be deferred to a future meeting when more are present. If that is unlikely, then the council should accept that collectively they cannot pass a resolution as it would be acting in a conflict of interest.
answered by (21.2k points)
0 votes
I've seen that in several public documents and formal guidance that it states that it is illegal for the Parish Clerk to Chair, but cannot find where it states this in legislation.

Anyone any ideas?

Down_Here
answered by (1.3k points)
Schedule 12 Part II Para 11:-

11 (1) At a meeting of a parish council the chairman of the council, if present, shall preside.

(2) If the chairman of the council is absent from a meeting of the council, the vice-chairman of the council, if present, shall preside.

(3) If both the chairman and vice-chairman of the council are absent from a meeting of the council, such councillor as the members of the council present shall choose shall preside.

If the members have a non-pecuniary interest, the council should grant a dispensation to allow them to participate. All bar one of the current members of my PC are trustees of our village hall, which belongs to the council and receives funding from it. They are allowed to vote under a dispensation.
exactly what we've been looking for.  Ta Muchly
0 votes
Hell no!  The Clerk can never be chair!  If there is an item that means the majority of councillors have to declare a pecuniary interest, then the Clerk can issue a dispensation before the item is discussed.  In an ideal world, the request for dispensation should be requested in writing in advance but there is still the mechanism to dispensate at the meeting in question.
answered ago by (14k points)

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