- Is a member of the Council and is elected annually
- Has the authority at meetings and must be obeyed
- Is the interface between the public and the Council
- The one to welcome speakers and make them ‘feel at home’
- Is to make sure the decision is clear for the clerk to act upon
Note: The Chairman on his own has no power to make decisions without the Resolution of the Council
Presiding at the first Annual Meeting of the Parish Council:
The retiring chairman, or in his or her absence, the vice chair must preside at the meeting for the first item on the agenda (after apologies and checking previous minutes) ‘To Elect Chairman’. If it is a meeting after an election then the retiring chair or vice chair presides, even if they are no longer councillors. If both are absent then the meeting may appoint another councillor to preside. It is illegal for a clerk to take the chair at a meeting.
Election of a Chair:
If the presiding chair is no longer to be a member of the council then he only has a casting vote. If he is still going to be a member then he has a vote and a casting vote (he can vote for himself if he wants). The chairman of the council should give a report to the APM on the activity of the council (in this meeting, if he is not an elector in the parish, he only has a casting vote).
Once voted in, the new chair signs his declaration of acceptance of office and presides over the meeting immediately.
What does a good chairman do?
Plan the meeting with the clerk and ensure that everything on the agenda is legal.
Brief themselves and prepare fully – study all relevant information and anticipate the needs and interests of the members. The Chairman can then answer questions or deal with requests for information.
Be punctual – the Chairman should set a good example by arriving early to check the arrangements and welcome members, the public and any visiting speakers.
Conduct the meeting -
- Check there is a quorum (minimum number of members needed to make the meeting legal)
- Call the meeting to order and declare it open
- Welcome members, the public and visiting speakers to the meeting
- Introduce the standard items on the agenda – apologies; declarations of interest; confirmation of minutes of previous meeting
- Introduce the agenda items and ensure that all members know what they have to achieve and how they might do it encourage participation
- Stimulate an exchange of ideas and experience
- Ensure that all have a chance to express their views freely
- Keep the members aware of objectives
- Maintain focus
- Guide and progress discussion towards achieving the objectives
- Manage conflict
- Be fair and balanced
- Preserve order
- Enforce rules of procedure
- Rule on disputed matters.