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Handforth Parish Council meeting goes wrong

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LOL The Irony

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This meeting took place in December for the Handforth Parish Council. Enjoy the highlights.
 
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Ianno87

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Watch at least the first 7 or so minutes (of the full video), it's hilarious and painful in equal measure.

Imagine all the most excruciating things about Zoom calls and parish council meetings all rolled into one.

The sort of nonsense that turns so many people off local democracy, and certain demographics (older, white males) at the worst of their stereotypes and outright condescending and aggressive towards women.
 

nlogax

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Was just posting about this elsewhere. It's by far the most British thing I've ever witnessed. A proper hoot!
 

Ianno87

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"You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver!" is fast becoming the latest "meme".
 

yorksrob

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I suspect that their members may be offered a refresher course on their council constitution shortly :lol:
 

Horizon22

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Its somewhat confusing to know what's happening without background - basically two councillors called this meeting because the Chair (the one kicked out) hadn't done so yet (and probably didn't want to). Jackie was an apolitical addition to check the meeting went smoothly - after the Parish council had been reported previously - which it...didn't. The Chair had some authority but was able to be kicked out due to his ridiculous behaviour. Him and his other mate cackling in the background.

A few of these people were elected unopposed, and parish councils are the lowest level of political structure, below your average local council. They are also unpaid, so you do tend to get retired males elected onto the body, some of whom have some pretty shocking standards of etiquette. That plus the general lack of knowledge of technology makes this what it is haha.
 

Ianno87

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Its somewhat confusing to know what's happening without background - basically two councillors called this meeting because the Chair (the one kicked out) hadn't done so yet (and probably didn't want to). Jackie was an apolitical addition to check the meeting went smoothly - after the Parish council had been reported previously - which it...didn't. The Chair had some authority but was able to be kicked out due to his ridiculous behaviour. Him and his other mate cackling in the background.

A few of these people were elected unopposed, and parish councils are the lowest level of political structure, below your average local council. They are also unpaid, so you do tend to get retired males elected onto the body, some of whom have some pretty shocking standards of etiquette. That plus the general lack of knowledge of technology makes this what it is haha.

All the above.

Plus the general "older people struggling using with modern tech and the mute button" just for added comedy value.
 

Mojo

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A few of these people were elected unopposed, and parish councils are the lowest level of political structure, below your average local council. They are also unpaid, so you do tend to get retired males elected onto the body, some of whom have some pretty shocking standards of etiquette. That plus the general lack of knowledge of technology makes this what it is haha.
I really don’t get the point of parish/town councils; seems like a total waste of money and an old boys club. As you point out many of these councillors are elected unopposed, yet parish councils often command high precepts added to your council tax bills.
 

Ianno87

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I really don’t get the point of parish/town councils; seems like a total waste of money and an old boys club. As you point out many of these councillors are elected unopposed, yet parish councils often command high precepts added to your council tax bills.

Dunno. If it keeps a few a the more "busybody" types occupied and away from other things, arguably money well spent ;)
 

Cowley

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We watched this at work this morning. Really good. :)
 

geoffk

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I really don’t get the point of parish/town councils; seems like a total waste of money and an old boys club. As you point out many of these councillors are elected unopposed, yet parish councils often command high precepts added to your council tax bills.
Parish and town councils in England (community and town councils in Wales) are the smallest areas of civil administration, providing the statutory tier of local government closest to the people. Parish councils provide and maintain playing fields, monuments, footpaths, bus shelters and churchyards, administer local charities and may impose a limited local rate. Good entertainment anyway! I've attended several of these as a County Council officer and they have always been, well, parochial. I expect it's hard to get people to stand as councillors and officers, as it is in many clubs and societies so there's little competition at election time.
 
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Mojo

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Parish and town councils in England (community and town councils in Wales) are the smallest areas of civil administration, providing the statutory tier of local government closest to the people. Parish councils provide and maintain playing fields, monuments, footpaths, bus shelters and churchyards, administer local charities and may impose a limited local rate. Good entertainment anyway!
I understand what they do but it definitely seems a bit pointless. I can’t see how they actually deliver these services in an effective manner; certainly in my experience my local authority (unitary) delivers these services to a very high standard. Where I have seen parish council bus shelters they normally look cheap and nasty and don’t offer very much protection.
 

Ediswan

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Reminds me of having flown to North Carolina in 1996 for a regular US/UK IT architecture meeting. These were known for being somewhat chaotic. Not arguments about rules, just far too many people talking over others, side conversations, general lack of discipline. For this meeting, the organiser had employed an independent 'facilitator' to help keep order. They did try, but declared the group beyond help and resigned before lunch on the first day.

On the second day, Hurricane Fran arrived, which brought the meeting to an end.

Shortly followed by a new company policy. If a hurricane is forecast, return to your home country before it arrives.
 

Horizon22

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I really don’t get the point of parish/town councils; seems like a total waste of money and an old boys club. As you point out many of these councillors are elected unopposed, yet parish councils often command high precepts added to your council tax bills.

They do the very very small things that would normally be done by local councils. A bit around parks and planning but yeah there's not much point of them really.
 

NorthOxonian

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A few of these people were elected unopposed, and parish councils are the lowest level of political structure, below your average local council. They are also unpaid, so you do tend to get retired males elected onto the body, some of whom have some pretty shocking standards of etiquette. That plus the general lack of knowledge of technology makes this what it is haha.
Ironically, the two councillors elected unopposed were probably the two coolest heads there*!

* John Smith and Sue.
 

peters

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I understand what they do but it definitely seems a bit pointless. I can’t see how they actually deliver these services in an effective manner; certainly in my experience my local authority (unitary) delivers these services to a very high standard. Where I have seen parish council bus shelters they normally look cheap and nasty and don’t offer very much protection.

Until around 2008 Cheshire, except Warrington and Halton, had a two tier council system, so in the case of Handforth Cheshire County Council were responsible for things like the highways, while Macclesfield Borough Council were responsible for things like collecting the rubbish. Now Cheshire East council are a unitary authority and take on almost everything. However, due to Cheshire East being bigger than the old borough of Macclesfield and austerity cuts imposed by the government, it's led to more parish and town councils appearing and taking on responsibility.

In the case of Knutsford the town council has employed a 'town ranger' who basically does stuff Cheshire East should be doing but it would take them months or years to do like cutting back overgrown grass verges to create more space for pedestrians or cleaning algae off street signs.

Towns like Northwich and Wilmslow now have town councils when they didn't used it. (Town councils have volunteer councillors the same as parish councils.)
 

Hadders

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I think there is a case for local Parish and Town Councils in the right circumstances.

In Hertfordshire we have a two tier system of county and District councils that seems to work well. There is a rumour that this might all get swept away and replaced with one huge unitary authority covering the whole county. Supposedly more efficient but no doubt more faceless as well and getting someone in the distant council headquarters 50 miles away to deal with a small issue like uncollected bins, overgrown hedges, play equipment in the local park etc will become an uphill battle. This is where a well run Town or Parish council can take up the baton and do a better job.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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It was this time last year when we relocated to the border area of Handforth, that abuts Wilmslow. A brand new war memorial was built in the centre of the town area and I ask if anyone on this website knows which body was responsible for its construction.
 

bspahh

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It was this time last year when we relocated to the border area of Handforth, that abuts Wilmslow. A brand new war memorial was built in the centre of the town area and I ask if anyone on this website knows which body was responsible for its construction.

It was built by Handforth Community War Memorial Foundation. It consists of 8 voluntary trustees with membership open to all members of the Handforth Community:
Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/HCWMF/
Its a charity:
Some news articles are here
 

peters

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I think there is a case for local Parish and Town Councils in the right circumstances.

In Hertfordshire we have a two tier system of county and District councils that seems to work well. There is a rumour that this might all get swept away and replaced with one huge unitary authority covering the whole county. Supposedly more efficient but no doubt more faceless as well and getting someone in the distant council headquarters 50 miles away to deal with a small issue like uncollected bins, overgrown hedges, play equipment in the local park etc will become an uphill battle. This is where a well run Town or Parish council can take up the baton and do a better job.

I doubt a parish council will get their own bin lorry but certainly a council worker isn't going to drive 50 miles just to cut an overgrown tree branch that's causing a nuisance for pedestrians, they'll probably add it to a list of things for an inspector to check next time they are in the town and then the inspector will decide how high a priority it is and then it'll get added to a worker's job list to deal with. In the case of the town ranger in Knutsford I mentioned if someone sees him working on something and mentions something nearby which could do with his attention he might even resolve the issue the same day. The downside is he's one person so if something's a two man job then he'll report it to Cheshire East council to deal with.
 

yorkie

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Is there a difference between Clerk and Proper Officer?

Was the meeting properly called or was it called illegally?

Can the Chairman declare himself Clerk?

Does Jackie Weaver have the authority to remove people from the meeting?

Can the Chairman be removed?

If the Chairman is removed, should the vice Chair take charge or should a new Chair be elected?

Does anyone know who was right in all of this? :lol:

That said regardless of who was right some behaviour was very poor.

Perhaps the best bits were firstly someone saying they were in a meeting and they would call someone back and then someone saying ''we're trying to do a Teams meeting you fool!" after everyone was told to turn their microphones off!
 
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Ianno87

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Is there a difference between Clerk and Proper Officer?

Was the meeting properly called or was it called illegally?

Does Jackie Weaver have the authority to remove people from the meeting?

Can the Chairman be removed?

Can the Chairman declare himself Clerk?

Does anyone know who was right in all of this? :lol:

That said regardless of who was right some behaviour was very poor.

Perhaps the best bits were firstly someone saying they were in a meeting and they would call someone back and then someone saying ''we're trying to do a Teams meeting you fool!" after everyone was told to turn their microphones off!

All I hope is that we see 'Jackie Weaver OBE' in the Queen's Birthday Honours for 'services to attempting to manage that total shower'
 

bspahh

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Is there a difference between Clerk and Proper Officer?

Was the meeting properly called or was it called illegally?

Can the Chairman declare himself Clerk?

Does Jackie Weaver have the authority to remove people from the meeting?

Can the Chairman be removed?

If the Chairman is removed, should the vice Chair take charge or should a new Chair be elected?

Does anyone know who was right in all of this? :lol:

That said regardless of who was right some behaviour was very poor.

Perhaps the best bits were firstly someone saying they were in a meeting and they would call someone back and then someone saying ''we're trying to do a Teams meeting you fool!" after everyone was told to turn their microphones off!

David Allen Green is a well-respected commentator on the law. He wrote
On balance, it would appear the disruptive councillors were wrong to say the extraordinary meeting was invalid.

And, on balance, the exact manner of their exclusions was not in accordance with the Standing Orders – though, in the circumstances, the disruptive councillors can hardly complain.
And in conclusion, on the face of the Standing Orders, Jackie Weaver did not seem to have the authority to call the extraordinary committee meeting – but she did not need to do so.

Weaver did not have authority as ‘Proper Officer’ – but she did not claim that she had such authority and she did need not any such powers for clerking.

Weaver did not appear to have the formal power to exclude the disruptive councillors – but, given that this exclusion was then accepted by the new chair, and that the disruption was plain, that does not seem to practically matter.

And these conclusions can be offered on the basis of reading the Standing Orders – reading and understanding them.

 

brad465

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BBC Breakfast this morning interviewed her and included the caption under her name "has the authority" :lol:

1612615790388.png
 

yorkie

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richw

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I understand what they do but it definitely seems a bit pointless. I can’t see how they actually deliver these services in an effective manner; certainly in my experience my local authority (unitary) delivers these services to a very high standard. Where I have seen parish council bus shelters they normally look cheap and nasty and don’t offer very much protection.
My local town/parish council is an example of how it should be done, and is in my opinion a massive advert for the benefits of a local council, especially in a large Unitary area as Cornwall.
The 4 that cover me side of the parish are very proactive, have taken the time to befriend most of the community. Those 4 have spent most of covid doing shopping for the community, and it’s impossible to go out without seeing at least one of them doing something visible to the public that benefits the area.
None are your stereotypical retired male.
 

peters

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My local town/parish council is an example of how it should be done, and is in my opinion a massive advert for the benefits of a local council, especially in a large Unitary area as Cornwall.
The 4 that cover me side of the parish are very proactive, have taken the time to befriend most of the community. Those 4 have spent most of covid doing shopping for the community, and it’s impossible to go out without seeing at least one of them doing something visible to the public that benefits the area.
None are your stereotypical retired male.

I notice your location says Liskeard so presumably this is your parish council - https://www.liskeard.gov.uk/meet-your-councillors/councillors/

It looks like you have a good balance there
e.g.

Rachel Brooks - Previously I worked in a range of jobs helping the NHS and voluntary organisations improve services and how they are managed.
Sandra Mitchell - I have worked in Liskeard Co op since 2005 and I love the community atmosphere of the store.
Simon Cassidy - Originally hailing from Cumbria, I’ve worked in the Rail Industry across the South West over the last 19 years and currently manage Operations across Devon and Cornwall.
Anna Clarke - A mental health group worker for Young People Cornwall. Passionate about seeing young people have a space in the town she also volunteers at the Liskerrett Youth Club, who are currently looking for more volunteers.
Sally Hawken - returned to Liskeard and her Cornish roots over 20 years ago to teach English at Bodmin College.
Julian Smith - Having worked in senior posts most of my life in large corporate industry, I now run my own business services company. I have previously been a Chairman of School Governors and Chairman of one of the largest children’s football clubs in Buckinghamshire. Although I have only lived in Cornwall a year, my family has been holidaying here for over 35 years and I am very familiar with the county.

Although, the one thing I note is the word co-opted appears quite a few times, suggesting there's not a lot of interest in becoming a parish councillor in Liskeard.

Ironically, the two councillors elected unopposed were probably the two coolest heads there*!

* John Smith and Sue.

I notice all the councillors who stood for election were either independents or a member of an independent group. Yet after Cheshire East Council was poorly managed by the Conservatives for 8 years, a lot of people switched to voting independent in the hope it would resolve the issues.
 
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