Regrettably we are finding it increasingly difficult to locate the minutes and agendas of meetings. We had hoped that, to comply with the new Parish Council Transparency Code, Rushton Parish Council would have posted these on their own website however, of late neither the erroneously named www.rushtonspencer.org/ or www.rushtonparishcouncil.co.uk have been available for easy web access,
Rushton Parish Council has now published the minutes for the April meeting and the Agenda for the Annual Meeting of the Council.
The Minutes for the April meeting of the Council can be found on-line here;
The Agenda for the Annual Meeting of the Council can be found on-line here:
Although we would have hoped that the Annual Parish Meeting would have had its own separate agenda, the agenda for the May Parish Council meeting also includes an agenda for the Annual Parish Meeting (or as it is referred to “The Annual Parish Assembly”). Although the Annual Parish Meeting is, by tradition, chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council, he does not (or should not) preside at the Annual Parish Meeting as chairman of the Parish Council but as chairman of the Annual Parish Meeting. The Annual Parish Meeting is not called by the Parish Council but by the Chairman of the Annual Parish Meeting (who by tradition is, as we have stated, the Chairman of the Parish Council).
The Annual Parish or Town Meeting is not a Parish Council meeting. It is a meeting of the parish or town electors and could involve local organisations such as the Women’s Institute and the drama group. Strictly speaking electors can set the agenda, and in practice these meetings often celebrate local activities and debate current issues in the community. The chairman of the Parish Council calls the Annual Parish or Town Meeting and, if present, will chair it. It is best practice to hold the Annual Meeting of the Council and the Annual Parish Meeting on different occasions to avoid confusion. [The Good Councillors Guide]
A parish meeting, in England, is a meeting to which all the electors in a civil parish are entitled to attend. In some cases, where a parish or group of parishes has fewer than 200 electors, the parish meeting can take on the role of the parish council itself, with statutory powers, and electing a chairman and clerk to act on the meeting’s behalf.
In England, the annual parish meeting of a parish with a parish council must take place between 1 March and 1 June, both dates inclusive, and must take place no earlier than 6pm.
Parish meetings are a form of direct democracy, which is uncommon in the United Kingdom, which primarily uses representative democracy.
Section 39(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1972 provides that a parish meeting is a precepting authority. This means that where there is no parish council the parish meeting must meets its own expenses, usually by precepting on the district council.
A parish meeting may only precept for expenditure relating to specific functions, powers and rights which have been conferred on it by legislation.
Parish meetings do not have the power to appoint staff.
Clayden, Paul (January 2007). The Parish Councillor’s Guide 19th edition. Shaw & Sons. p. 156 et seq
You can view the “rules” of a Parish Meeting and the guidance given by The National Association of Local Councils here
The minutes of the February meeting of Rushton Parish Council have now been published.
The minutes of the December 2015 meeting of Rushton Parish Council are now on-line.
Sadly, the minutes of the November 2015 meeting have not yet been made public (we don’t yet know why!)
We now have the minutes of the October meeting of Rushton Parish Council on-line.
We now have the minutes of the September meeting of Rushton Parish Council on-line.
We regret that we have been unable to provide the minutes of meetings and details of agendas since those of July 2015. We had hoped that the Parish Council would have put in place the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities by this stage but that has not yet happened*.
In regard to the publication of agendas, we note with some concern that Section 30 of the Act has yet to be complied with:
30. Smaller authorities should also publish meeting agendas, which are as full and informative as possible, and associated meeting papers not later than three clear days before the meeting to which they relate is taking place.
The purpose of this is to allow members of the public to determine whether there are matters due to be discussed which might be of interest to them and to allow them to attend the relevant meeting if they so wish. We hope that it is the intention of the Parish Council to comply with Section 30 as soon as they are able.
Section 32 of the Act requires that this information is published on-line:
32. The data and information specified in this Code must be published on a website which is publicly accessible free of charge. For example, one way that this requirement could be achieved could be by publishing the data on the smaller authority’s website or that of the billing authority in its area (district or London borough or unitary council).
We have written to the Clerk of the Parish Council for clarification of when the Act might be implemented.
*The Parish Council has produced a website which remains under construction and is not up to date (the last included minutes of meetings being July 2015 and no agendas have been uploaded) however, the website has been published under the misleading and incorrect title of Rushton Spencer. We have had a number of concerns presented to us over the use of this heading. Whilst we fully realise that it is a common practice to refer to the area as a whole as “Rushton Spencer”, we do not believe that is it really necessary to incorrectly refer to the Parish Council as Rushton Spencer Parish Council on the website.
- It is surely common knowledge that at one time there were two adjacent civil parishes, Rushton Spencer and Rushton James and that the parishes were amalgamated in 1934 to form Rushton Civil Parish.Perhaps we have missed a formal resolution to change the name of the Parish Council? If not, perhaps the name of the Council’s website could be amended to more properly reflect its true and more accurate name? It is after all Rushton Parish Council and not Rushton Spencer Parish Council. We have asked the Clerk to the Council for an explanation.
The Minutes of Rushton Parish Council (Staffordshire Moorlands) for the month of July 2015 can now be found on-line here.
The Minutes of Rushton Parish Council (Staffordshire Moorlands) for the month of June 2015 can now be found on-line here.