Ilam Parish Council Standing Orders

1              Councillors

1.1         Following election or co-option to the Council, each Councillor will be issued with a copy of the Code of Conduct and Standing Orders of the Council. They will sign the form of Declaration of Acceptance of Office in the presence of the Clerk of the Council.

1.2         All Councillors will observe the Code of Conduct at all times when on Council business and no member will act in such a way that will bring the Council into disrepute, behave offensively in meetings or obstruct the Councilís business.

1.3         The Code of Conduct defines when a Councillor will declare a personal or prejudicial interest in an item for discussion at a Council meeting. The Councillor will declare that interest and the nature of the interest at the earliest opportunity.

2              Annual Meetings

2.1         If the Annual Meeting is in an election year it must be held within 14 days after that election. If it is not an election year then the annual meeting will take place on an appropriate day in May.

2.2         If the outgoing Chairman is available then he/she will preside until a new Chairman has been elected. The first business of the Annual Meeting will be the election of the Chairman (and Vice Chairman, if appropriate) and to receive their acceptance of office.

2.3         The retiring Chairman will report on the activities of the Council for the preceding year.

3              Meetings

3.1         Meetings will be held in appropriate, accessible accommodation.

3.2         Meetings will be held every second month, starting in January. Councillors will be advised of the meetings by the issue of an agenda delivered by post or by hand. The agenda must be issued at least three clear business days before the meeting.

3.3         Public notices will be posted on the village notice board and the Parish Council website informing members of the public of the venue, time, date and business to be transacted at the meeting. The notice will be posted at least three clear working days before the meeting.

3.4         Meetings will be open to the public and press but they may be temporarily excluded from the meeting if the business is regarded as confidential.

3.5         Members of the public may speak at Council meetings at the discretion of the Chairman of the meeting.

3.6         The agenda for the meeting will be agreed by the Clerk and Chairman. Councillors must declare any interests before the relevant agenda item. The public may ask questions immediately before the commencement of each meeting.

3.7         The Chairman of the Council will preside at the meeting and will be responsible for the conduct of that meeting. If the Chairman is not present then the Vice Chairman will preside. If they are not present then the first matter on the agenda will be the election of an appropriate Councillor who will chair the meeting. Whoever chairs the meeting will assume the duties of the Chairman for the meeting.

3.8         The quorum for the Council will be three members. If there be insufficient members present then no business will be transacted and a fresh notice will be issued to reconvene the meeting at a later date.

3.9         If at any time during the meeting it ceases to be quorate then the meeting will be adjourned and any further business carried forward to the meeting when next convened.

3.10     Voting at the meeting shall be by a show of hands unless a majority of Councillors wants a ballot. Only the proposer and seconder will be recorded in the minutes unless a Councillor requests that their vote is noted. A Councillor may also request that the Clerk records how each Councillor has voted, including abstentions. Any request of this nature will be made before moving on to the next business.

3.11     In cases of equal votes the Chairman (or other person presiding) will have a second or casting vote.

3.12     Minutes of the meeting will be kept by the Clerk or other nominated person in the Clerkís absence. The minutes which are circulated will be draft minutes until they are approved by the Parish Council at their next meeting and signed by the person presiding at that meeting.

3.13     With regard to planning applications - if there is a personal interest a statement can be made to the Parish Council meeting but then the person must leave the meeting while discussions take place

4              Finance

4.1         All financial matters shall be governed by the Councilís Financial Regulations.

5              Freedom of Information

5.1         The Council is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and has adopted the Model Publication Scheme for Parish Councils. The Clerk will ensure the Council conforms to the requirements of the Act allowing public access to the appropriate documents.

6              Clerk to the Council

6.1         The Council will appoint a Clerk to the Council in a paid or unpaid capacity.

6.2         The Clerk will act as the Proper Officer of the Council, and he/she will: receive the Declarations of Acceptance of Office and notices disclosing interests; sign documents on behalf of the Council and issue agendas and notices of meetings; receive and distribute plans and documents on behalf of the Council; and also advise the bank of changes to mandates with the bank.

7              Emergency Business

7.1         Should it not be appropriate to convene a special meeting then any emergency business will be handled by the Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman. Actions will be reported promptly to the Council.

8              Standing Orders

8.1         These standing orders will be reviewed as and when deemed necessary by the Council and any required amendments made.

8.2         During the course of meetings of the Council, the Chairmanís decision as to the interpretation of the standing orders will be final. In cases of doubt, the Council will seek the advice of the Staffordshire Parish Councils Association.