Standing Orders

STANDING ORDERS FOR RIVER PARISH COUNCIL

MEETINGS

1. Meetings of the Council shall be held at the Methodist Church at 7.30pm in the evening, unless the Council decides otherwise at a previous meeting

2. The Statutory Annual Meeting (a) in an election year shall be held on the Tuesday next following the fourth day after the ordinary day of elections to the Council and (b) in a year which is not an election year shall be held on the second Tuesday in May.

3. The three other statutory meetings shall be held on the second Tuesday in the months of October, July, and January.

4. Six additional meetings shall be held on the second Tuesday in the months of February, March, April, June, September and November.

CHAIRMAN OF THE MEETING

5. The person presiding at a meeting may exercise all the powers and duties of the Chairman in relation to the conduct of the Meeting.

PROPER OFFICER

6. Where a statute, regulation or order confers functions or duties on the proper officer of the Council in the following cases, she/he shall be the clerk:-
(a) To receive declarations of acceptance of office.
(b) To receive and record notices disclosing pecuniary interests.
(c) To receive and retain plans and documents.
(d) To sign notices or other documents on behalf of the Council.
(e) To receive copies of bylaws made by the District Council.
(f) To certify copies of bylaws made by the Council.
(g) To be Responsible Finance Officer.
(h) To sign and issue summons to attend meetings of the Council
(i) To keep proper records for all Council meetings.
In any other case the proper officer shall be the person nominated by the Council and, in default of nomination, the clerk.

QUORUM

7. Four councillors shall constitute a quorum.

8. If a quorum is not present when the Council meets or if during a meeting the number of councillors present and (not counting those debarred by the reason of declared) interest falls below the quorum, the meeting shall be adjourned and business not transacted shall be transacted at the next meeting or on such other day as the Chairman may fix.

VOTING

9. Members shall vote by show of hands or, if at least two members so request, by signed ballot.

10. If a member so requires, the Clerk shall record the names of the members who voted on any question so as to show whether they voted for or against it.

11 (1) Subject to (2) and (3) listed below the Chairman may give an original vote on any matter put to the vote, and in the case of an equality of votes may give a casting vote even though he gave no original vote.
(2) If the person presiding at the annual meeting would have ceased to be a member of the Council but for the statutory provisions which preserve the membership of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman until the end of their term of office he may not give an original vote in election for the Chairman.
(3) The person presiding must give a casting vote whenever there is an equality of votes in an election for Chairman.

ORDER OF BUSINESS

(In an election year councillors should execute Declarations of Acceptance of Office in each other’s presence, or in the presence of a proper officer preiously authorised by the Council to take such declaration, before the annual meeting commences.)

12. At each Annual Parish Council Meeting the first business shall be
(a) To elect a Chairman.
(b) To receive the Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office, or if not then received, to decide when it shall be received.
(c) In the ordinary year of election of the Council to seek to fill any vacancies left unfilled at the election by reasons of insufficient nominations.
(d) To decide when any declarations of acceptance of office and Written Undertakings to observe the code of conduct adopted by the Council which have not been received as provided by law shall be received.
(e) To elect a Vice-Chairman.
(f) To appoint committees.
And shall thereafter follow the order set out in Standing Order 15.

13. At every meeting other than the Annual Meeting the first business shall be to appoint a Chairman if the Chairman and Vice-Chairman be absent and to receive such declarations of acceptance of office (if any) and undertaking to observe the Council’s Code of Conduct as are required by law to be made, or if not then received to decide when they shall be received.

14. In every year not later than the meeting at which the budgets for the next year are settled the Council shall review the pay and conditions of service of existing employees (see Standing Order 20, below).

15. After the first business has been completed, the order of business, unless the Council decides otherwise on the grounds of urgency, shall be as follows:-

(a) To read and consider the Minutes; provided that if a copy has been circulated to each member not later than the day of issue of the summons to attend the meeting, the Minutes may be taken as read.
(b) After consideration to approve the signature of the Minutes by the person presiding as a correct record.
(c) To deal with business expressly required by statute to be done.
(d) To dispose of business, if any, remaining from the last meeting.
(e) To receive such communications as the person presiding may wish to lay before the Council.
(f) To answer questions from councillors.
(g) To receive and consider reports and minutes of committees.
(h) To receive and consider reports from the Clerk
(i) To receive resolutions or recommendations in the order in which they have been notified.
(j) Any other business specified in the agenda.
(k) If necessary, to authorise the signing of orders for payment

16. A motion to vary the order of business on the ground of urgency
(a) may be proposed by the Chairman or by any member and, if
proposed by the Chairman, may be put to the vote without being seconded, and
(b) shall be put to the vote without discussion.

RESOLUTIONS MOVED ON NOTICE

17. Except as provided by these Standing Orders, no resolution may be moved unless the business to which it relates has been put on the Agenda by the Clerk or the mover has given notice in writing of its terms and has delivered the notice to the Clerk at least fourteen clear days before the next meeting of the Council, when it will be added to the agenda.

RESOLUTIONS MOVED WITHOUT NOTICE

18. Resolutions dealing with the following matters may be moved without notice:-
(a) To appoint a Chairman of the meeting.
(b) To correct the Minutes.
(c) To approve the Minutes.
(d) To alter the order of business.
(e) To proceed to the next business.
(f) To close or adjourn the debate.
(g) To refer a matter to a committee.
(h) To appoint a committee or any members thereof.
(i) To adopt a report.
(j) To amend a motion.
(k) To give leave to withdraw or amend a resolution or an amendment.
(l) To exclude the public (see Order 35 below).
(m) To silence or eject from the meeting a member named for misconduct (see Order 19 below)
(n) To invite a member having an interest in the subject matter under debate to remain.
(o)To give the consent of the Council where such consent is required by
these Standing Orders.
(p) To suspend any Standing Order (see Order 43 below).
(q) To adjourn the meeting.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT

All members must observe the Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on October 2007, a copy of which is annexed to these Standing Orders.

19(a) No member shall at a meeting persistently disregard the ruling of the
Chairman, wilfully obstruct business or behave irregularly, offensively, improperly or in such a manner as to bring the Council into disrepute..
(b) If, in the opinion of the Chairman, a member has broken the provisions of paragraph (a) of this Order, the Chairman shall express that opinion to the Council and thereafter any member may move that the member named be no longer heard or that the member named do leave the meeting, and the motion, if seconded, shall be put forthwith and without discussion.
c) If either of the motions mentioned in paragraph (b) is disobeyed, the Chairman may suspend the meeting or take such further steps as may reasonably be necessary to enforce them.

DISCUSSIONS AND RESOLUTIONS AFFECTING EMPLOYEES
OF THE COUNCIL

20. If at a meeting there arises any question relating to the appointment, conduct, promotion, dismissal, salary or conditions of service, of any person employed by the Council, it shall not be considered until the Council or committee, as the case may be, has decided whether or not the public shall be excluded.

EXPENDITURE

21. Orders for payment of money shall be authorised by resolution of the Council and signed by two members.

COMMITTEES

22. The Council may at its Annual Meeting appoint standing committees and may at any other time appoint such committees as are necessary, but subject to any statutory provision in that behalf:-
a) shall not appoint any member of a committee so as to hold office later than the next Annual Meeting.
(b) may at any time dissolve or alter the membership of a committee.

23. Every committee shall at its first meeting before proceeding to any other business, elect a Chairman and may elect a Vice Chairman who shall hold office until the next Annual Meeting of the Council, and shall settle its programme of meetings for the year.

24. The Chairman of a committee or the Chairman of the Council may summon an additional meeting of that committee at any time. An additional meeting shall also be summoned on the requisition in writing of not less than a quarter of the members of the committee. The summons shall set out the business to be considered at the special meeting and no other business shall be transacted at that meeting.

VOTING IN COMMITTEES

25. Chairmen of committees and sub-committees shall in the case of an equality of votes have a second or casting vote.

PRESENCE OF NON-MEMBERS OF COMMITTEES AT COMMITTEE MEETINGS

26. A member who has proposed a resolution, which has been referred to any committee of which he is not a member, may explain his resolution to the committee but shall not vote.

ACCOUNTS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

27(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this Standing Order or by statute, all accounts for payment and claims upon the Council shall be laid before the Council.
(b) Where it is necessary to make a payment before it has been authorised
by the Council, such payment shall be certified as to its correctness and urgency by the Responsible Finance Officer. Such payment shall be authorised by the committee, if any, having charge of the business to which it relates, or by the Responsible Finance Officer with the approval of the Chairman or Vice Chairman.
(c) All payments ratified under sub-paragraph (b) of this Standing Order shall be included in the next schedule of payments laid before the Council.

BUDGETS

28. The Council shall approve written budgets for the coming financial year at its meeting in the month of January.

INTERESTS

29. If any member has a personal interest direct, as defined by the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in October 2007 then he shall declare such an interest as soon as it becomes apparent, disclosing the existence and nature of that interest as required.

If a member who has declared a personal interest then considers the interest to be prejudicial, he must not debate or vote on a regulatory or financial matter but has the same right to speak as a member of the public. After making representations the councillor must leave the room for the debate & vote. If the public are not allowed to speak, neither is the councillor and he should leave the room.

30.The Clerk shall be required to compile and hold a Register of Members’ Interests, or a copy thereof, in accordance with agreement reached with the Monitoring Officer of the Responsible Authority and/or as required by statute.

INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS

31. A member may for the purpose of his duty, as such (but not otherwise), inspectany document in possession of the Council or a committee, and if copies are available shall, on request, be supplied for the like purpose with a copy.

32. All minutes kept by the Council and by any committee shall be open for the inspection of any member of the Council.

UNAUTHORISED ACTIVITIES

33. No member of the Council or of any committee shall in the name of or on behalf of the Council:
(a) Inspect any lands or premises which the council has a right or duty to inspect; or
(b) Issue orders, instructions or directions
Unless authorised by the Council or the relevant committee.

ADMISSION OF THE PUBLIC AND PRESS TO MEETINGS

34. The public shall be admitted to all meetings of the Council and its committees, which may, however, temporarily exclude the public by means of the following resolution:

“That in view of the (special) (confidential) nature of the business about to be transacted, it is advisable in the public interest that the public is temporarily excluded and they are instructed to withdraw.”

35. The Clerk shall afford the press reasonable facilities for taking their report of any proceedings at which they are entitled to be present. A person may not orally report or comment about a meeting as it takes place if he/she is present at the meeting of the parish council or its committees but otherwise may:
a) film, photograph or make an audio recording of the meeting;
b) use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later;
c) report or comment on the proceedings in writing during or after a meeting or orally report or comment after the meeting.

36. If a member of the public interrupts the proceedings at any meeting, the Chairman may, after warning, order that he/she be removed from the Council Chamber.

CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS

37(a) No member of the Council or of any committee shall disclose to any person not a member of the Council any business declared to be confidential by the Council or committee as the case may be.
(b) Any member in breach of the provisions in paragraph (a) of this Standing Order shall be removed from any committee of the Council by the Council.

LIAISON WITH DISTRICT COUNCILLORS

38. An agenda of each meeting and a copy of the previous minutes shall be sent, with an invitation to attend, to the District Councillor for the district ward.

PLANNING APPLICATIONS

39. The clerk shall refer every planning application to the Chairman of the Planning Committee or in the Chairman’s absence to the Chairman of the council as soon as practicable.

STANDING ORDER ON CONTRACTS

40. Where it is intended to enter into a contract exceeding £1000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works, this shall be offered to a minimum of two businesses selected by the Council to tender for the work. Minor works up to a maximum of £250 shall be offered directly by the clerk to the contractor after consultation with the Chairman. Minor works up to £100 can be administered by the Clerk

(a) Tenders shall be opened by the Clerk and shall be reported to the Council or relevant committee
(b) The Council is not bound to accept the lowest tender
(c) If no tenders are received or if all tenders are identical the Council may make such arrangements for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works as it thinks fit.

CODE OF CONDUCT ON COMPLAINTS

41.The Council shall deal with complaints of maladministration allegedly committed by the Council or by any officer or member in the manner recommended in the Circular 2/86 issued by the National Association of Local Councils, except for those complaints which should be properly directed to the Standards Board for consideration.

VARIATION, REVOCATION AND SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

42. Any or every part of the Standing Orders except those printed in bold type may be suspended by resolution in relation to any specific item of business.

43. A resolution permanently to add, vary or revoke a Standing Order shall when proposed and seconded, stand adjourned without discussion to the next ordinary meeting of the Council.

STANDING ORDERS TO BE GIVEN TO MEMBERS

44. A copy of these Standing Orders shall be given to each member by the Clerk upon delivery to him of the member’s declaration of acceptance of office and written undertaking to observe the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council.