What is the Annual Parish Meeting?

Our Annual Parish Meeting is held in May in West Wratting Village Hall. It is usually held immediately before the Parish Council meeting.

The Annual Parish Meeting – also known as the Annual Meeting of the Parish or the Annual Parish Assembly, they are all the same thing – is open to all electors of West Wratting Parish, who have the right not only to attend but also to speak on any matter of local interest. This is in contrast to a Parish Council meeting where electors who are not Councillors have no automatic right to speak.

The Annual Parish Meeting is a legacy from the Middle Ages, when Local Councils did not exist and all local decision making was carried out by meetings of the whole community, usually taking place in the church vestry. Its purpose is to bring the community together to provide an annual account of what has been happening in the community and the Parish Council.

The Annual Parish Meeting is a separate meeting from the Parish Council Annual Meeting (aka “Parish Council AGM”), although they are often held on the same day, which is what happens in West Wratting. The Annual Parish Meeting should be a relatively informal event for the community whereas the Parish Council AGM is a formal council meeting.

At the PArish Meeting the Parish Council reports to its electorate on its activities over the last year and there are usually reports from County Councillors and perhaps from any voluntary or local community groups.

It is also an opportunity for parishioners to question people and organisations on any issues relating to the village.

As the Annual Parish Meeting is not a parish council meeting it is not conducted in the same way or governed by the same rules as a parish council meeting. Members of the public are permitted to make statements on relevant matters during the meeting. Any resolutions passed do not bind the Parish Council.

The Annual Parish Meeting has its own minutes that are kept separately from the Council minutes. They can only be approved by the next Annual Parish Meeting which will take place 12 months later. It is good practice therefore to bring the draft minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting to the next convenient meeting of the Parish Council, otherwise matters are unlikely to be progressed; however it’s important that the Council does not actually approve those minutes as they do not belong to the Council.

The Local Government Act states that every parish must hold an Annual Parish Meeting every year between 1st March and 1st June, and proceedings must not begin before 6pm. If there is a Parish Council, the Chairman of the Parish Council (or Vice-Chair if the Chairman is unable to attend) must convene the meeting and preside. The chairman must sign the agenda, not the Parish Clerk.