Minutes & Agenda Questions

Most Town and Parish Councils have minutes?
All meetings of councils, their committees and sub committed must have and keep minutes. No minutes no decisions, it’s that simple. If councils make decisions to do things or spend taxpayers money and there is no clear minute recording what was agreed to do then no decision has been made.

If a council proceeds with an action which is not recorded in the minutes then the action or spending is open to legal challenge.

Minutes which are approved by the council are evidence in a court of law.

Publication of draft minutes, meeting agendas and working papers
The draft minutes of all Council, Committe and Sub Committee meetings should be published no more than 1 month after the relevant meeting.

The draft minutes should be approved at the following relevant meeting.
Agendas and full working papers for all Council, Committee and Sub Committee meetings should be published at least 3 clear days before the relevant meeting.

Source DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government)
It should be noted that there is currently no legal requirement to publish the agenda or minutes in a prominent place in the parish. The legal requirement is that the Notice of Meeting must be published. There is a legal right to view, access or inspect the minutes wherever or by whom they are kept.

Whose responsibility is the agenda for Parish Council meetings?
It is responsibility of the parish council i.e. The councillors to decide what they wish to discuss not that of the clerk or the parish council Chairman. It is the responsibility of the clerk or proper officer to physically produce the agenda. The clerk should include agenda items requested by parish councillors and local residents. It is the collective responsability of all councillors comprising the council to decide what should be on an agenda for discussion.

There is a clear difference between the decision as to the contents of the agenda and the physical production of the agenda. The clerk is an employee and is not an employee and is not elected consequently they have no part to play in deciding what the council may discus.

Can a Parish Council Chairman refuse to put items on an agenda?
It is not the legal responsability of the parish Council chairman to produce the agenda. It is the responsability of Council to decide what it wishes to discuss. The parish clerk usually responsible for the physical preparation of the agenda for parish council meetings. They should include on the agenda items requested by parish councillors and local residents. Where councillors cannot get items on the agenda the law provides a clear legal alternative which councillors should always use.
In this situation 2 councillors can call an extra-ordinary meeting and have the item discussed by their council.
If you are a resident you will need to convince 2 councillors of the merits of the item that you wish the council to discus. It must be remembered that whilst a parish council can discus anything they may only do things where they have a legal power.