There seems to be some confusion as to what meetings are held annually, what they’re called and what they’re for so I thought I’d share our views.
The Annual Parish Meeting (APM) should take place in late April and before an election. The APM is not an official meeting of the parish council however if the parish has a council it is normally chaired by the chairman of the council. An APM can be called by any resident of the parish giving five clear working days notice. The APM tends to be more of a social occasion than a formal meeting and people involved with specific groups in the parish give their report on what they have done over the preceeding year. Where the parish has a council the chairman would also present a report, the Responsible Financial Office (RFO) would circulate the accounts and councillors who have specific responsibilities may also report if this is now covered by the chairman’s report. The APM takes place before an election because it gives the parishioners an opportunity to raise and discuss matters in an informal atmosphere to help them determine which way they vote if it is an election year. [Quality Council’s are required to print and circulate the chairman’s report and the report of the RFO to all households and business premises in the parish]
The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council is the first meeting of the council calendar and takes place in May immediately after an election. At this time all the council members must sign their acceptance and declaration; until this has been done the parish does not have a council. This precedure applies even if there has not been a physical election. [On non-election years only the Chairman and the Vice Chairman stand down.]
When all members have signed their declarations a new Chairman can be elected and he/she signs his/her acceptance/declaration and then a new Vice-Chairman is elected and he/she signs his/her acceptance/declaration.
The next stage is to elect committee members [if the council has any committees], representatives on outside bodies, confirms the RFO, the Internal Auditor and sets the dates for all meetings for the forthcoming year.
This completed the council can then continue with the general business starting with declarations of interest on items listed on the agenda.