THE LEGAL POSITION of MEETINGS

PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS

The Local Government Act, Sch. 12, para 8 stipulates that local councils in England must meet annually.

In addition, “a parish council must meet on at least three other occasions during the year” – Local Government Act 1972, Sch. 12, paras 10(1) & 26(1) – “and may hold as many further meetings as it pleases”.

“Such meetings may be held by virtue of a standing order or they may be specially convened”.

“A local council may meet at any time of day, but the Annual Meeting is held at 6pm if no other time has been fixed for it” – Local Government Act, Sch. 12, paras 7 & 23.

They must be free, open to the public and publicised, at specified times, on lawful media channels – web site & noticeboards – to specify timing & venue.

Councillors are summoned to meetings by the Clerk with an Agenda specifying business proposed to be transacted. A Council can not lawfully decide on any matter not proposed in the Agenda circulated with the summons.

Grendon Underwood Parish Council has opted to hold 9 General Parish Council Meetings per annum in addition to 1 Annual Parish Council Meeting.

General Meetings are to be held at 19.30 in the Village Hall on the fourth Tuesday of each month except August and December when no meeting will take place in those months.

The Annual Parish Council Meeting will be held in May, immediately after the Annual Parish Meeting, subject to circumstances arising beyond Council control.

PARISH MEETINGS

All parishes in England, which have separate parish council, are required to hold at least one Parish Meeting – Local Government Act 1972, s 9(1). This is in addition to the Annual Parish Council Meeting and should be held separately as it is subject to different legislation and so it is not confused with the Annual Parish Council Meeting.

The parish meeting must assemble annually between 1 March & 1 June (inc) – Local Government Act 1972, Sch 12, para 14(1) and (3). It must meet when convened by the Parish Council and as often as may be required. In addition to the Parish Council, an Annual Parish Meeting can be convened by the Chair of the Parish Council, two Councillors or 6 local electors of the Parish. In Grendon Underwood, it is usually called by the Parish Council to be held on the fourth Tuesday of May at 19.00 - immediately prior to the Annual Parish Council Meeting.

A parish meeting consists of local government electors registered to vote in the area in which it is held. Local councillors including the Chair may attend but have no voting rights other than as any resident of the parish. Should the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of Council attend they must preside at that meeting. Should they not attend, those attending may elect another resident by a majority of those attending.

It is accepted practice in Grendon Underwood for annual reports to be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting from the Parish Council Chairman, the Responsible Financial Officer of the Council and parish Stakeholders to include Buckinghamshire County Council, the school, the police, the prison, the village hall and the Saye & Sele Foundation.

ACCESS

Our meetings are public, open meetings and the Chair usually sets aside a short period for residents of the Parish to address the Council. Any resident of the Parish is entitled to request additional items to an Agenda subject to certain conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: A council meeting is not a public meeting; it is a meeting held in public.

The public is asked to respect the fact that a Council Meeting is specifically designed to conduct council business and interruptions during council business are not permitted.

If Council business is disrupted in any way the person/s causing the disruption may be asked to leave at the discretion of the Chairman.

Participation in the Public Forum by members of the public

Grendon Underwood Parish Council meets and makes its decisions in public and is committed to community engagement. We, therefore, invite residents of the Parish, stakeholders in the Parish, members of the public, the press, the police and county and district councillors to attend meetings and contribute within a time set aside before the Council Meeting commences and under these specific rules. It is usually called a Public Forum.

There is no requirement in law to provide a Public Forum but this council welcomes the opportunity to offer this facility –

Public participation will be for a period of fifteen minutes before the Council Meeting, after which the Public Forum will be formally closed to allow the Council Meeting to commence.

Any member of the public wishing to speak should notify the Chairman prior to the start of the meeting.

Public participation is only permitted regarding items already on the agenda and the matter may be addressed immediately or carried forward to the next meeting without discussion.

A maximum of three minutes is permitted for a member of the public to speak and the speaker must address all matters through the Chair.

Only one person may speak on any agenda item - subject to the above time limits – to avoid repetition.

[Two people may speak if one omits important information or has opposing views i.e. one for and one against a particular matter.]

Supplementary comments or questions are solely at the discretion of the Chairman.

No question may be repeated within a 6 month period.

Guidance notes for members of the public:-If several people want to speak on the same item try to get together in advance to choose the best person to speak for you all. Any repetition or discussion between members of the public will waste the allotted time.

Participation in Public Forum by persons other than members of the public

The Parish Council will automatically provide an opportunity via the agenda for the Police, and the County and District Councillor(s) to attend and report to meetings and respond to any questions or queries from Councillors.

CRITICAL TIMING

If you want to have something considered for inclusion into an Agenda or to comment on the previous meeting minutes or you can’t attend a meeting, please email the Clerk on clerk.gupc@outlook.com or use the contact form on this site at least 7 days prior to the meeting you want your matter to be discussed.

If it is considered inappropriate to be included to the Agenda for public discussion [such as for data protection concerns], you will be advised of the reasons why by email.

An Agenda will be published 3 clear days prior to Parish Council meetings and 7 clear days before Parish Meetings to both this site and Village Hall noticeboard.

Draft minutes of a meeting will be published normally 3 working days after that meeting.

Approved minutes will be published three days after the meeting at which they are ratified.

Minutes are required to be held indefinitely and older minutes can be referenced on request to the Parish Clerk on clerk.gupc@outlook.com