To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Maria.Damigos@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
The Committee received a report seeking adoption and approval by Buckinghamshire Council of a procedure so that it could carry out its powers to appoint temporary members to inquorate parish councils. This included authority for the Service Director Legal and Democratic to make Orders under the legislation.
Members were informed that a Parish Council had to be quorate in order to operate and make decisions. A quorum for parish councils was defined as being one third of its membership, but not less than three. There were occasions where due to resignations or lack of applications for vacancies at an election, a parish council was unable to operate because it was inquorate. The inability to operate would extend to making all decisions including the co-option of sufficient councillors to fill vacancies.
Under section 91 of the Local Government Act 1972 the Council had power to make an Order appointing temporary members to a parish council where, due to the number of vacancies, the council could not function. The exercise of functions in relation to parish councils had been delegated to the Standard and General Purposes Committee. The appointees would usually be appointed from the ward members of the principal authority and it was good administrative practise to adopt a procedure for delegating these appointments and the making of the necessary Order to a senior officer, so they can be made promptly, where necessary.
The Committee was informed that It had been necessary for Cabinet to adopt a procedure and authorise the Deputy Chief Executive to make such an Order in relation to Kingsbrook Parish Council, which had been created by the Aylesbury Vale (Community Governance Review) Order 2020. The new parish of Kingsbrook had been established with effect from 7 May 2020. However, due to the emergency measures introduced following the outbreak of coronavirus, it had not been possible to hold local elections to elect Councillors to the new Parish Council. This had left Kingsbrook Parish Council inquorate and unable to function.
In order to enable Kingsbrook Parish Council to start operating, Cabinet on 21 April 2020 had approved the procedure set out at Appendix 1 and authorised the Deputy Chief Executive to make an Order under section 91 to appoint a sufficient number of parish councillors on a temporary basis to enable Kingsbrook Parish Council to start operating.
On 13 May 2020, an Order had been made under section 91, a copy of which is attached as Appendix 2, to appoint 4 Buckinghamshire Councillors as temporary Kingsbrook Parish Councillors. The first meeting of Kingsbrook Parish Council had been held on 18 June 2020 and had successfully co-opted 5 people as Parish Councillors. The appointments under the section 91 Order have therefore now ceased and the co-opted members can now sit and make decisions as the new Parish Council which will include the co-option of 4 further members.
Members sought additional information and were informed that Officers would consult with local Members and Group Leaders before any making any Section 91 orders.
(1) That the procedure set out in Appendix 1 for making appointments to inquorate parish councils under Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1972 be approved and adopted.
(2) That the current position in relation to Kingsbrook Parish Council be noted, including that an Order under Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1972 had been made on 13 May, 2020, to appoint temporary Parish Councillors to that Parish Council.
- Inquorate Parish Councils S&GP Report (02 07 20), item 7. PDF 204 KB
- Inquorate Parish Councils App 1, item 7. PDF 123 KB
- Inquorate Parish Councils App 2, item 7. PDF 209 KB