To comply with Government legislation Hale Bank Parish Council has adopted the following policies which it uses to govern its day to day running. They are reviewed and updated annually. All are available below for public inspection.
1. Annual Meeting
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 Parish Council and (b) in a year which is not an election year shall be held on third Tuesday in May.
At each Annual Meeting the first business shall be:
a) To elect a chairman.
b) To receive the Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office
c) To elect a Vice-Chairman
d) In the ordinary year of election of the Council to receive any declaration of acceptance of office that has not been received as provided by law.
e) In the ordinary year of election of the Council to receive a written undertaking from each Councillor to abide by the Council’s Code of Conduct.
2. Powers and Duties of the Chairman
The person presiding at a meeting may exercise all the powers and duties of the Chairman in relation to the conduct of the meeting.
3. Proper Officer
The Proper Officer of the Council is the Clerk. The Responsible Financial Officer of the Council is the Clerk.
Notwithstanding those duties and responsibilities, it shall be the duty of the Clerk to advise Members on the content and interpretation of these Standing Orders.
Three Members shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is not present when the Council meets or if during a meeting the number of Members, for whatever reason, falls below the quorum, the business not transacted at that meeting shall be transacted at the next meeting or on such other day as the Chairman may decide.
The Council shall meet not less than 10 times per year.
5. Frequency of Meetings
In these matters the Council and the Councillors will adhere to the new Code of Practice as adopted by the Council on 10th May 2012.
6. Declarations of interest
Members shall vote by show of hands or, if at least two members so request, by signed ballot. If a member so requires, the Clerk shall record the names of the members who voted on any question to show whether they voted for or against it. Such a request must be made before moving on to the next business.
The Chairman may give an original vote on any matter put to the vote and, in the case of equality of votes, may give a casting vote, whether or not an original vote was given.
The order of business shall be stated on an agenda paper which shall be delivered to each Member at least three clear days prior to the date of the meeting (excluding Sat & Sun) along with the summons convening the meeting.
8. Order of Business
Except as provided by these Standing Orders, no resolution may be moved unless the business to which it relates has been included on the Agenda.
Members may put an item or notice of resolution on the Agenda by giving the Clerk notice of the item or resolution at least five clear days prior to the meeting to which that agenda relates.
Every resolution, amendment or recommendation shall be relevant to some subject over which the Council has the power or which affects its area.
At the Chairman’s discretion, and with the majority agreement of Councillors present, any agenda item may be deferred to the next meeting
9. Resolutions Moved on Notice
Resolutions on procedural matters may be moved without notice including those to vary the order of business on grounds of urgency or procedural efficiency. Such resolutions shall be put to the vote without discussion.
10. Resolutions Moved Without Notice
All remarks shall be addressed to the Chairman.
No discussion shall take place on the minutes of previous meetings except upon their accuracy. Corrections to the minutes shall be made by resolution and must be initialled by the Chairman.
The ruling of the Chairman on a point of order or on the admissibility of an item shall not be discussed.
Representatives from the Police and Halton Borough Councillors shall be allowed to speak at Council meetings at the discretion of the Chairman.
The Chairman can also permit individual members of the public gallery to contribute where the Chairman believes such a contribution will be helpful to the matter under discussion by the Council.
11. Rules of Debate
12. Admission of the Public and Press to the Meetings
The public shall be admitted to all meetings of the Council and its committees and sub-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 be temporarily excluded and they are instructed to withdraw”.
(Notes : The special reasons should be stated. If a person’s advice or assistance is needed they may be invited (by name) to remain after the exclusion resolution passed.)
The Clerk shall afford to the press reasonable facilities for taking their report of any proceedings at which they are entitled to be present.
If a member of the public interrupts the proceedings at any meeting, the chairman may, after warning, order that he be removed from the Council meeting room.
A motion of closure of a debate may be moved at any time but must be proposed and seconded without comment. The Chairman may refuse such motion if he feels that the question before the Council has not been sufficiently debated.
A decision of the Council (whether affirmative or negative) shall not be reversed within six months except by a special resolution, the written notice of which bears the names of at least three Members of the Council. When such a resolution has been disposed of, no similar resolution may be moved within a further six months.
14. Rescission of Previous Resolutions
No Member of the Council shall disclose to any person, not being a Member of the Council, any business declared to be confidential by the Council.
15. Confidential Business
Except at the discretion of the Chairman, all meetings of the Council shall finish not later than two-and-a-half-hours after commencement. Any business not transacted shall be carried over to the next meeting or such other date as the Chairman may decide.
16. Length of Meetings
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 press and public shall be excluded. (See Standing Order No.12)
17. Discussions and Resolutions Affecting Employees of the Council
Orders for the payment of money shall be authorised by resolution of the Council, except in August when there is no meeting or in an emergency situation where the Clerk may authorise payment. All payments must signed by two members. Cheque stubs must also be initialled by two members.
The Chairman of a committee or the Chairman of the Council may summon an additional meeting of that committee at any time. The summons shall set out the business to be considered at the special meeting and no other business shall be transacted at that meeting.
19. Special Meeting
If a member has a personal interest as defined by the new Code of Conduct adopted by the Parish Council on the 10th May 2012 then he/she shall declare such 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/she must withdraw from the room during consideration of the item to which the interest relates.
All members must observe the new Code of Conduct which was adopted by the council on 10th May 2012.
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.
If, in the opinion of the Chairman, a member has broken the provisions of paragraph (b) 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. If a member reasonably believes another member is in breach of the code of conduct, that member is under a duty to report the breach to the Standards Board (England) or the Local Commissioner (Wales).
21. Disorderly Conduct
The Council will pay Members a travelling allowance for:-
(a) attendance at a meeting of any body to which the Council makes appointments or nominations, or any committee or sub-committee of such a body;
(b) attendance at a meeting of any association of authorities of which the Council is a member;
(c) the carrying out of any other duty approved by the Council, or any duty of a class so approved, or in connection with the discharge of the functions of the authority or of any of its committees or sub-committees
The level of travel allowance will be:-
(i) for travel by motor car - 45p per mile
(ii) for travel by public transport - standard class fare
(iii) for incidental expenses (e.g., parking and road/bridge tolls - reimbursed at cost
Election to Forgo an Allowance
A Member of the Council may elect, in writing to the Clerk, to forgo all or part of their entitlement to the above allowances.
22. Parish Travelling Allowance
23. Suspension of Standing Orders
These Standing Orders may be suspended at any time and for any period of time by resolution.
24. Standing Orders to be given to Members
A copy of these Standing Orders shall be given to all Members.