07 April 2017

The Unlawful Secrecy of Hayfield Parish Council Where Co-options Of New Councillors Are Concerned

Hayfield Parish Council office, together with area fraudulently claimed to be the local 'village green'

The national transparency movement does not seem to have reached Hayfield, a village in the High Peak.

Reports reach High Peak Transparency that Hayfield's Parish Council believes it is above the law.

The reason that statement can be made is that the parish council voted to remove the public from the recent council meeting at which a new parish councillor was to be selected.

The members of the public present were foolish enough to follow the unlawful order given to them by the Chair of the parish council meeting, and left the council meeting when told to do so.

A widely circulated email sent out by the parish clerk discussing this subject after the above meeting has now been forwarded to HPT by one of the Hayfield councillors.

The email makes interesting reading, including the glaring false statement / error / weaselly attempt at covering of backsides in the fourth paragraph:

Dear *****

Thanks for your email and your comments and concerns which have been noted.

Last night's meeting agreed to move the co-option into private simply because it was felt inappropriate to discuss the relevant attributes of candidates for co-option in public, and also because there was a precedent of Hayfield Parish Council holding previous recent co-options in private.

I am not in a position to comment on the opinions expressed on High Peak Transparency as it is simply a blog run by a private individual.  Our reference authority is DALC and I have had a long conversation with them this morning about the correct and appropriate procedures for co-option. 

DALC tell me that it is inappropriate for us to co-opt in private and this should not have happened last night.  However they are also telling me that although it is inappropriate it is not illegal and the decision made last night is valid and should stand.

We will now work with DALC to adopt an appropriate co-option procedure which we will have in place as soon as is practicable.  This new procedure will be followed in any future co-options.

I hope this addresses your concerns.

Keith Bevins
Clerk/RFO to Hayfield Parish Council