Hannington Parish Council, Hampshire
Standing Orders (SOs) are a key component of how a Council conducts its business at political and officer level, and regulate how business is carried out at committee meetings. They will enable the Council to function efficiently and effectively. Financial Regulations (FRs), while not a part of Standing Orders, are the framework within which the financial administration of the council is conducted.
The two documents (SOs and FRs) should cover all matters that may reasonably be expected to arise but should not be so comprehensive as to attempt to cover each and every eventuality, as this could result in them being unnecessarily complex, bureaucratic and incomprehensible.
Getting the balance right is a matter for the Council, based on their knowledge and experience, and any appropriate technical/professional advice that is available.
SOs and FRs form a key part of the Council’s Internal Control, as part of their role is to mitigate risk by both reducing the likelihood of something inappropriate happening that might damage the Council and also from reducing the potential damage were that event to occur. Examples covered within SOs might include rules that would reduce the risk of claims of a breach of confidence/data protection or failure to comply with a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Parish Council has used as a benchmark and example of good practice, the National Association of Local Council’s “Models of Standing Orders for Local Councils” , as updated from time to time.
To ensure that Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and other documents (that are aimed at ensuring sound governance and risk management) are up to date and relevant, they are required [Standing Order 2.j.iii through to xii) to be reviewed at least once in each Council Year (April to March). To ensure that sufficient time is available and earmarked to undertake this key review process, the Parish Council has agreed an Annual Cycle of Business (last reviewed and approved 9th May 2017) that allocates these documents to each of the FOUR meetings held in the year. A copy of the latest Annual Cycle of Business can be found below.
Listed below are the main headings covered in the Standing Orders of the Council. These can be seen in detail by accessing the file below. The current version of Standing Orders was last amended and adopted by the Parish Council at its meeting 20th September 2016. It was then re-adopted and agreed, unamended, by the Parish Council at its meeting 26th September 2017.
Contents of Standing Orders:
- Ordinary Council meetings
- Proper Officer
- Motions requiring written notice
- Motions not requiring written notice
- Code of conduct
- Disorderly conduct
- Rescission of previous resolutions
- Voting on appointments
- Extraordinary meetings
- Accounts and Financial Statement
- Canvassing of and recommendations by councilors
- Inspection of documents
- Unauthorised activities
- Confidential business
- Matters affecting council employees
- Freedom of Information Act 2000
- Relations with the press/media
- Liaison with County, and Borough Councillors
- Financial matters
- Allegations of breaches of the code of conduct
- Variation, revocation and suspension of standing orders
- Standing orders to be given to councillors
- Planning Committee Administrative Arrangements