Statement issued by Hughenden Parish Council concerning lack of compliance with the Local Government Act 1972 section 6.11 – 6.15
Co-option to fill a casual vacancy
The Local Government Act 1972 sets out the procedure by which a Councillor may be co-opted to fill a casual vacancy. In summary, the process is as follows:
- After a vacancy has been declared by the council, it must be publicly notified (by means of a public notice) as soon as possible
- If a poll is claimed by 10 electors within 14 days of the public notification of the vacancy, then a bye-election takes place within 60 days of the notice of the vacancy
- If no poll is claimed in time, the council fills the vacancy by co-option as soon as practical
- A bye-election may not be claimed within six months of the day when
the Councillor whose office is declared vacant would ordinarily have retired
In November 2019, following an unsuccessful co-option, council received a Freedom of Information request concerning the co-option process.On investigation it became apparent that since February 2017 part of the statutory procedure had not been correctly implemented i.e. the serving of the correct public notice giving parishioners the opportunity to call a bye-election.
Since the last elections in May 2015 there have been several co-options to the council.The net impact is that in November 2019, it became clear that 7 of the co-opted councilors had not been co-opted in full compliance with the Local Government Act 1972.
The council immediately sought legal advice from specialist independent solicitors, Wycombe District Council and both county and national Local Government Associations.There appears to be scant legal precedent.Legal opinion is that if the co-option procedure was not correctly followed then the individuals concerned are not lawfully councillors.
The current position is that Hughenden Parish Council now consists of five members, four returned in the 2015 elections (Cllrs Gould, Kearey, Nicholls & Waterton) and one properly co-opted in 2015 (Cllr Gieler).
At full complement, Hughenden Parish Council is 15 members (quorum being one third of full complement).Section 6.13 of the Local Government Act 1972 states that no co-options may take place within 6 months of an election.
Elections for the new Buckinghamshire Council will take place in May 2020, May 2025 and then every 4 years.Town and parish elections will coincide with the elections to Buckinghamshire Council.
The next parish council election will therefore be held in May 2020.The council will therefore continue to operate with 5 members as a quorate council until the next election in May 2020. Council will request that Wycombe District Council enact Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1972 which allows the principal authority to make an Order to draft in additional members to the parish council for an interim period.
Information concerning the May elections will be posted on the parish council website (www.hughendenparishcouncil.org.uk) and on council notice boards.It is hoped that parishioners will put themselves forward for election to ensure a full complement of councilors.
The Council and Clerk wish to apologise to parishioners and those individuals directly affected by this lack of compliance with statutory procedure in the co-option process to fill casual vacancies.
Issued on 14th January 2020.
For further information and enquiries, please contact:
Clerk to the Council
The Council are continuing to investigate the possibility that, due to the non circulation of the correct Casual Vacancy Notices, councillors who joined the Council from 2017 onwards were not co-opted in accordance with the law.
Appropriate legal advice on this is currently being sought.
THe Council would like to reassure residents that it remains quorate, fully functional and able to carry out its statutory duties and there will be no disruption to the provision of council services.
19th December 2019
As of 1st April 2016, Hughenden Parish Council will be responsible for the delivery of devolved urban transport services. Prior to this date, these services were provided by Buckinghamshire County Council.
The services include:
- Urban grass cutting (grass verges within 30mph areas)
- Siding out (preventing the encroachment of verge soil and growth onto the footpath)
- Rights of Way clearance
- Weed killing
- Maintenace (street furniture, removal of fly posters and illegal signs, approval of charity event advertising signage)
If you have concerns about any of the above services or wish to report an issue, please contact Hughenden Parish Council Office Telephone: 01494 715296
There are vacant plots at several allotment gardens, please see attached poster for information and contact the parish council office (Tel: 01494 715296 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to become an allotment tenant.
Allotment Plots 2016 Advert.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [207.2 KB]
Transport for Bucks - Reporting Issues Online
Report a Pothole Online: 5 Quck Steps
1. Log onto www.buckscc.gov.uk
2. Report location
3. Report size
4. Upload an optional photo
Download the free Report It app from your App Store or go to www.buckscc.gov.uk/telltfb
Report a Right Of Way Issue Online
Report a Highway Problem Online
Report a Street Light Problem Online
A copy of the Fraud Report issued at the Annual Parish Meeting held on the 15th May 2014 is available for download here
Fraud report 14-05-15.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [302.1 KB]
Become a councillor.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [158.4 KB]