ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY (MEETING)
A number of Councillors have asked for an explanation of the Annual Parish Assembly (also known as the Annual Parish Meeting). During the meeting the Council’s Standing Orders do not apply
What is the Annual Parish Meeting?
There can be, and often is, confusion between the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council. All Parish and Town Councils throughout England are required by law to hold an Annual Parish Meeting, which must take place between 1st March and the 1st June (inclusive). Meetings should not commence before 6.00 pm. It is often confused with the Annual Parish Council Meeting which is has to be held on the third Tuesday in May or in an election within 14 days of the election.
Purpose of the Annual Parish Meeting
The purpose of the meeting is so that the Parish Council can explain what it has been doing over the last year and it enables the electors to have their say on anything they consider is important to the people of the Parish.
When must the Annual Parish Meeting be held?
The annual parish meeting must be held between 1st March and the 1st June (inclusive) each year on a date decided by the Parish Council. If there is no Parish Council then on a date decided by the Chairman of the Parish Meeting. LGA 1972 s 14 (1)(2). The Annual Parish Meeting may not start earlier than 6:00pm. (LGA 1972 s 14 (4)). It is recommended that in an election year the Annual Parish Meeting should be held after the elections to prevent the meeting being used as hustings for potential District and County Councillors.
How should the Annual Parish Meeting be conducted?
There should be an opportunity for the public and press to express their opinions on what the Council are doing during the meeting. Many town and parish councils make this meeting a community event by providing refreshments, presentations from community groups and providing an informal atmosphere. The Chairman of the Parish Council will chair the meeting. If the Chair is not able to attend, then the Vice Chair of the Parish will take the chair.
Calling the Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting is usually called by the Chairman of the Parish Council. However any parish meeting may be called by... (LGA 1972 s 15 (1))
- The Chairman of the Parish Council,
- Any 2 Councillors from the parish,
- Any 6 registered electors from the parish
Voting at the Annual Parish Meeting
Initially voting on a question is done by a majority of those present at the meeting and the decisionof the person chairing the meeting as to the decision is final unless a poll is demanded. LGA 1972ss 18(2). No votes taken at this meeting are binding on the parish council although they should consider them at the next meeting of the parish council. Only members on the electoral roll can vote on an issue. Other members of the public can attend and express their opinions but not vote.
Who can attend
The Annual Parish Meeting is a meeting of all the local government electors for the Parish, which the public can participate in. It is NOT a Meeting of the Parish Council. Anyone may attend but only registered electors of the Parish may speak and vote.
Will I be able to ask questions and make suggestions?
Yes, any registered elector may ask questions of the Council, which will usually be answered by the Chairman, the Clerk to the Council, or a designated Councillor.
An elector may also make suggestions and comment on anything pertinent to the people of Haydon Wick Parish, this is the whole purpose of the meeting.
Will Parish Councillors be there?
Although it is not mandatory for the Councillors to attend they would usually attend and will speak if need be. However, the purpose of the meeting is to enable the residents to have their say. Councillors will listen with interest and if they are residents themselves will have the opportunity to raise questions and make comments if they wish.
Will notes be taken of the meeting?
Yes, a written record of the meeting will be taken and any comments made by the residents will be presented at a future meeting of Council for consideration.
What happens at the meeting?
The first part of the formal meeting with speeches and presentations normally lasts about one hour depending on those present, the number of questions raised and the discussion that follows. After the formal session the meeting is open to groups such as to local clubs, societies and other voluntary and statutory organisations to provide an exhibition and/or a representative to speak about the work of their group.