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Annual Parish Assembly

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The Local Government Act 1972 states that ‘for every parish there shall be a Parish Meeting for the purpose of discussing parish affairs and exercising any functions conferred on such meetings by any enactment…’.

A simple explanation

Parish Meetings are different from meetings of the Parish Council, although the two are often confused.

The confusion arises for several reasons
  • if the Chairman of the Parish Council is present then they must must chair the Parish Meeting;
  • the Clerk to the Parish Council organises and takes the minutes of the Parish Meeting;
  • the Annual Parish Meeting sometimes takes place on the same evening as the AGM of the Parish Council.
Some of the differences are as follows
  • Any person on the electoral register of the parish is entitled to speak at a Parish Meeting, at a meeting of the Parish Council members of the public may speak only at the Chairman’s discretion or where there is time allocated on the agenda.
  • With the exception of the Chairman, councillors rank the same as other members of the electorate.
  • Agendas for Parish Council meetings must be published three days ahead of the meeting, for Parish Meetings a skeleton agenda is usually published ahead of the meeting, but often items are added up to and even during the meeting.
  • Only Councillors may request items to be placed on the agenda of a Parish Council meeting whereas any member of the electorate may do so at a Parish Meeting.
  • Any matter pertinent to the parish may be discussed at a Parish Meeting, whereas at a Parish Council meeting subjects for discussion should be limited to those matter on which the council has the power to act (conferred by various Acts of Parliament).
  • The press and general public have a right to attend Parish Meetings, but anyone not on the electoral register of the parish is ‘stranger’ and does not have the right to vote.
So simply

A Parish Meeting is a meeting of the people of the parish.
A Parish Council Meeting is a meeting of the parish councillors.