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0 votes
Local  Parish Council consists of seven councillors, Their are two vacancies

Last Parish Council four attended one sent apologies

All four have been coopted to onto council.

Councilor A is chairman who  was present.

At the last meeting the village hall asked the parish council for a donation of six thousand pounds.

It was discussed and agreed
Councillor B proposed
Councillor C Seconded

Motion was passed unanimously

There were no declarations of Interest.

Now
Councilor A is married to Trustee A of the Village Hall

Councilor B is married to Trustee B of the Village Hall

Councilor C is married to Trustee C of the Village Hall

I dont have a problem with the donation going to the village hall,
But have concerns if this is a correct procedure.
by (170 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
In my view, Cllrs B & C have at the least,  a non pecuniary interest, and this should have been declared.
by (34.6k points)
Can I be clear about the issue of declared pecuniary and personal interests and dispensations please.
As I read it if an agenda item relates to a pecuniary interest the Councillor is not allowed to enter any debate or vote.  He should leave the room entirely . If it relates to any  personal interest a Councillor can join the debate but not vote.
So does the dispensation facility allow PCs to remove all (or some) of these restrictions and how and where should they be recorded.
Secondly is it usual to allow voting on pecuniary interest items as surely the overriding responsibility of any Councillor  is to vote in the best interests of the Council and this must surely be compromised on occasions
Openspaces you are correct that if there is a pecuniary interest, the councillor cannot take part in the debate or vote.  On this occasion, I would suggest that Graeme_r is correct in that this is non-pecuniary.

Dispensations can be given by the Clerk in advance of the meeting or at the point of the meeting where it would mean that a decision could not be made owing to the interests being declared.  A typical example of this is the setting of the precept - all the councillors have a pecuniary interest as they have to pay it along with the rest of the parish - however they all need to be able to vote in order to raise it.

However, for non-pecuniary interests, the Localism Act 2011 is silent and there is no guidance like there is for pecuniary interests, and I would suggest that the standing orders should be applied - some councils may require you to still leave the meeting and some would require you to not take part in the vote and / or discussion - it is a matter for the council to decide.
Sorry Mrs A was about to start a thread on this then decided to piggy back on this thread . So with any non-pecuniary interest (or personal interest) you must first register it with the monitoring officer? Then at the beginning of each meeting if there is an item on the agenda which relates to that interest you must declare that registered interest ? But come what may you can speak and vote on the agenda item (unless there is prejudicial aspect).  So there is no need for any dispensation to be given in such cases?
With regards to pecuniary interests . Quite simply without  dispensation you must leave the meeting . If prior dispensation is given to debate and or vote presume the same rules apply i.e. you must declare at the beginning of the meeting ?
Hi Openspaces

No, you only need to register pecuniary interests (financial interests) with the monitoring officer when you are elected as a councillor and announce this interest at meetings when and if required.  If you have a pecuniary interest, you cannot talk on the subject, or vote and you have to leave the room.

Non-pecuniary interests would be something like being a member of the local cricket club if a grant application came up - you would not receive any financial benefit from this connect, hence non-pecuniary.

Dispensations can be granted for pecuniary (financial) interests if if the proper officer:
(a)considers that without the dispensation the number of persons prohibited by section 31(4) from participating in any particular business would be so great a proportion of the body transacting the business as to impede the transaction of the business,
(b)considers that without the dispensation the representation of different political groups on the body transacting any particular business would be so upset as to alter the likely outcome of any vote relating to the business,
(c)considers that granting the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the authority's area,
(d)if it is an authority to which Part 1A of the Local Government Act 2000 applies and is operating executive arrangements, considers that without the dispensation each member of the authority's executive would be prohibited by section 31(4) from participating in any particular business to be transacted by the authority's executive, or
(e)considers that it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.
(Localism Act 2011 s33)
Mrs A I have to say that our monitoring officer's forms do appear to accept registering personal interests. So it seems the default situation is that dispensation  is all about  pecuniary interests and personal interests only have to be declared at meetings . Unless of course the SOs say differently  !!   As regards the RFO authorising dispensation I suggest if asked e) is most commonly used
Openspaces - that is interesting that your forms require non-pecuniary / personal interests - that could lead to a lengthy document for someone who is very socially active in the community!
Mrs A . All that I seek is simplicity and  consistency.  Having read my PCs SOs we have separate declaration's for pecuniary and personal interests.   We also have a dispensation facility for each category which seems to be given out on demand.  I think most Councillors just accept this .
I declare all my pecuniary and personal interests but my personal interests are only those that effect the Council
So for example I am a member of several clubs but I only declare the membership of one particular club that uses land owned by the Council even though the link is tenuous
Mrs A My monitoring Officer has provided his view which is that disclosed Pecuniary Interests do not require you to leave the room.   That requirement and the need to declare personal interests only apply if they appear in the PCs constitution / Standing orders. Interestingly he says that regarding pecuniary interests dispensation there are seldom granted at District Council ie rare as hens teeth
0 votes
Strictly speaking I think interests should have been declared. A councillor's pecuniary interests also include those of their spouse or partner.

Practically speaking however if interests had been declared then the 3 councillors could have requested dispensations to enable the matter to be debated as it is in the community's best interests, so the end result might well have been the same but wth more admin. It's difficult to manage in such a small community.
by (510 points)

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