Many parish and town councillors have adopted provisions as part of their Codes of Conduct that allow Members with disclosable pecuniary interests to make representations relating to that interest. However they are not entitled to vote and have to leave the room.
On occasions there would be so many members leaving the room, sometimes in relation to the same interest, the meeting is no longer quorate and the matter cannot be discussed. To prevent this from happening, a dispensation may be granted.
The Regulations specify that dispensations may only be granted if:
- The number of persons prohibited would be so great a proportion as to impede the transaction of business
- Each member of the authority's Executive would be prohibited from participating in any particular business to be transacted
- The business of the parish or town council will be impeded because the absence of members as a consequence of disclosable pecuniary interests would upset the political balance of the meeting to such an extent as to prejudice the outcome of voting in that meeting.
- It is in the interests of people living in the authority's area
- It is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation
Each Member must send in a written application that explains why they want a dispensation. Only the Member can do this - they can't ask someone else to do it on their behalf. For example, it is not for the parish clerk to do on behalf of a Member or group of Members.
The Monitoring Officer will consider the applications and decide whether a dispensation should be granted. If the Monitoring Officer is not able to decide whether an application should be granted, the review board will be asked to consider the application and decide whether it should be granted.
When an application is considered, the following criteria will be taken into account:
- The nature of the Councillor's interest
- The need to maintain confidence in the conduct of the Council's business
- The possible outcome of the proposed vote
- The need for efficient and effective conduct of the Council's business
- Any other relevant circumstances
Until a dispensation is granted a Parish or Town Councillor may not take part in the consideration of the matter before the Parish or Town Council (or any Committee or Sub-Committee).
Any dispensation that is granted will state how long it is in force for.
|[128kb]||Application for Dispensation||Application form for a Councillor to apply for dispensation.|
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