There can be, and often is, confusion between the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council.
The Local Government Act, 1972 requires local Councils to convene an Annual Assembly of the Parish (also known as the Annual Parish Meeting).
The Annual Assembly of a Parish Meeting is an effective forum for local government electors to discuss matters specific to the parish. It provides an opportunity for village organisations to inform residents of their activity and to answer questions.
An Annual Assembly is not a council meeting but in parishes where there is a separate council, attendance of councillors is good practice and may help to demonstrate that the council is receptive to the views of residents.
The basic requirements for the annual assembly are as follows:-
• Must be held between 1st March and 1st of June
• Is convened by the Chairman of the Council or by any two councillors for the parish. Where no council exists, it may be convened by the chairman of the Parish Meeting, or by six electors. Whoever has convened the meeting puts together the agenda
• Can be held on any day and hour that the Council fix, but not earlier that 6.00pm
• May be held in any community building/ meeting room for no cost or for reasonable fee. Unless no such room is available, the meeting cannot meet in any premises at the time of the meeting licensed to supply alcohol
• At least seven clear days’ public notice must be given of the meeting and the business to be transacted, signed by whoever convened the meeting. The notice period increases to at least 14 clear days if the Parish will be deciding a matter relating to its governance, e.g. establishing/dissolving a council
• If present, the Chairman of the parish council must preside; otherwise the meeting may elect a chairman from those members of the electorate present. Only electors for the parish can vote on any matter
• It is good practice for a parish council to produce a report detailing the activities of the council, the budget and contact details of its councillors. It is also good practice to invite the District and County Councillors to give a report and an opportunity to answer questions from the electorate
• Councils may serve food and drink either before or after at the annual meeting. If it includes alcohol, this may only be served after the meeting.
A written record of the meeting will be taken and presented at the next Annual Parish meeting for approval. Details of previous meetings can be found below: