Parish Council Committees are appointed by the Council, and should have:
- Terms of Reference
- Meetings open to the public
- Meeting agendas published 3 days in advance
- Published minutes of their meetings
- A minimum quorum to function
An Advisory Committee must bring all actions back to the Council, so the committee can research and discuss, but not take action independently. Alternatively an Executive Committee can be delegated powers, such as organising events, or even spending money (depending on their terms of reference) and just report back to the council afterwards.
Unlike the full council, committees can have non-councillor members (apart from a Finance Committee); although the Chair of the committee must be a Councillor. All committee members whether councillor or not can vote and speak equally at the committee meetings.
All committees should report back to the Council regularly.
If a committee has been set up by the Council, even if it is called a ‘working group’, it is still a Council Committee. There is some disagreement on this point, but working groups are not mentioned in law.
The advantage of a committee is that it takes the work away from the main council, enabling councillors who are interested in a topic to work on that topic together, and bring in expertise from outside the council.
The Council should respect the findings and reports of committees, and not duplicate their work in the full council meeting. The Council have the final discussion and decision on reported recommendations.
It is part of the Clerk’s Job Description to publish the agenda of, attend and minute all committee meetings. I believe that if the Terms of Reference stated that this duty was delegated to the committee, then as long as I published the agenda and minutes for you, then I would not need to attend.
Belstone Parish Clerk