Sunday, March 12, 2006

Summonsed to appear...

When you are a Councillor, notices of meetings are also known as Summonses. Most of us think of a Summons as something a Court sends you when you have committed an offence but Councils are something a bit like clubs who summons members to meetings as they are expected to attend. The Houses of Parliament work the same way and indeed old established clubs and societies like the Masons follow the same practice.

I've been summonsed to a special meeting on Wednesday. What is special about it? Well, it is a training event on the Councillor's code of conduct. Why does it have to be embedded into a meeting? Beats me, perhaps someone thought that they would get a better attendance if it was a pukka meeting as the sound of training can be a bit dry to some. However, by making it a proper meeting, it comes under the auspices of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, which means the public are entitled to be present unless specifically excluded for particular items where publicity would not be in the public interest. My "yellow bible" doesn't mention training as a valid reason to exclude!

The matter is further complicated by the meeting time being 6pm, but the listing outside the Town Hall shows it as 7pm. Technically, the meeting should be postponed until then, as it is an obligation to post details three clear days before the meeting, i.e. if the poster was changed tomorrow, the meeting would have to be on Friday.

The other thing I'm not overly impressed about is that the meeting is at 6pm- I'll have to rush eating tea and so on. I would have been much happier if we had simply been invited to a straight-forward training event- so what if some people don't come? it is their choice as individuals and selling the event on the benefits always goes down better than being told to do something for your own good. We get enough of that from the Government...

No comments: