The Association of Electoral Administrators has issued guidance on the appropriate actions to take when a council member fails to attend any meeting for six consecutive months.
The guidance, which has been endorsed by LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) and ADSO (the Association of Democratic Services Officers), notes that “Section 85 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972 states that if a member of a council (both principal area and parish/community) fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of their last attendance to attend any meeting of the council,1 2 they shall, unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the council before the expiry of that period, cease to be a member of the council”. [Emphasis in the guidance]
The guidance says the wording highlighted in bold “clarifies that while failure to attend any meetings for six consecutive months leads to that person ceasing to be a member of the council, it does not automatically create a casual vacancy for electoral purposes at that point”.
The document covers:
- When does the vacancy occur?
- Who can declare the vacancy and how?
- When does an election take place for the vacancy?
- Implications where vacancy occurs within six months of ordinary day of retirement
A copy of the guidance can be viewed here.