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Advice Note on Constitutional Guidelines
New meeting regulations have now been issued by the Welsh Government. The Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) regulations 2020 came into force on the 22nd April 2020. They apply to County Councils and all Town and Community Councils (as well as the National Park Authorities and Fire and Rescue Authorities).
One Voice Wales(“OVW”), in conjunction with Welsh Government, will be issuing guidance to all town and community councils (whether members of OVW or not). Broadly however the regulations set out the following:
All members can remotely participate in meetings. This applies to meetings held before 1st May 2021. Audio participation is all that will be required. Members should be able to speak and be heard by each other, but do not need to be able to see each other. This means that meetings can be held by telephone conference call. They can also take place by video conference.
If a council has not held an AGM on or after 1st of March or before the 22nd April 2020 then the AGM can be held on any date in 2020.
Other meetings that would normally be required to be held at specific times in the calendar can now be held at any time before May 1st 2021.
Attendance at Meetings (The “6 Month Rule")
The period between April 22nd 2020 and when a member would be expected and able to attend a meeting can be disregarded in relation to the 6-month rule. If members are not able to attend meetings during this period this will not count against them. IN effect it “stops the clock” running on the 6 month rule for each member until a meeting takes place that s/he can attend.
Election of Chairs
If a new chair has not been elected at an AGM held prior to the 22nd April 2020, then the existing chair can remain in office until the next AGM which must take place before 30th April 2021.
Summonses to Meetings
Members can now be summoned to meetings through email.
The public will not need to be able to see or hear the meeting (that is they do not need to be invited to join the video or telephone conference), however, this should be arranged if possible. Where the public are to be invited this should happen electronically 3 clear days before the meeting is due to be held. Or, if the meeting is called at short notice, then as soon as reasonably practicable.
Agendas must still be published in advance (see above) though this may be done electronically. Minutes must still be produced and can also be published electronically. They must include a list of attendees, declarations of interest, any decisions taken (except exempt items) and the outcomes of any votes.
The County Forum brings together Flintshire County Council and all 34 Town and Community Councils to build on and improve working relationships, with a strong commitment to work jointly for the benefit of the citizens of Flintshire.
The Shared Community Charter:
Flintshire County Council and all the Town and Community Councils have developed and signed up to a ‘Charter’ which sets out how we aim to work together for the benefit of local communities whilst recognising our respective responsibilities as autonomous and democratically elected statutory bodies.
A Shared Community Charter - May 2018
The County Forum meets three times a year. To view meeting information please click on the link below:
County Forum Meetings
Click here for contact details for the Town and Community Councils
Training - Raising Awareness:
Please find attached some materials that you may find useful for raising awareness of the code with your councillors. The first item is a set of slides that cover the background to the code and those behaviours that will put it into effect or breach its requirements. The second item is a link to a video prepared by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales on his role in relation to the code of conduct. Both were prepared for the new intake of councillors following the elections in May 2017.
Town and Community Councils Governance and Conduct Training - 2017
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales - Code of Conduct Video
Timetable for local elections in England and Wales: 4 May 2017
Local Government Democracy Act Access to information
For general information regarding the County Forum please contact:
Sam Perry - Tel: 01352 701476 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any specific enquiries / complaints please contact:
Joanne Pierce - Tel: 01352 702106 / Email: Joanne.Pierce@flintshire.gov.uk