Standing Orders

Made at the Annual Meeting of the Council on 17 May 1982
Updated May 2008

Proper Officer
Order of Business
QuestionsRules of Debate Closure Disorderly Conduct Right of Reply Alteration Recission Voting on AppointmentsDiscussions re Employees Resolutions on Expenditure Expenditure Document Sealing Committees Advisory Committees Voting in Committees Non Members in Committees Accounts Estimates Interests Canvassing Inspection of Documents Unauthorised Activities Public Admission to Meetings Confidential Business County and District CouncillorsPlanning Applications Contracts Variation of Standing Orders Issuance of Standing OrdersMobile Phones Communication Policy Filming Recording Policy Filming Recording Protocol

Standing Orders


Meetings (1-4)
1        Meetings of the Council shall be held at the Village Hall, Herstmonceux unless the Council decides otherwise at a previous meeting.

2        The statutory Annual Meeting shall be held:
(a) in an election year on or within 14 days following the day on which the councillors elected take office, and
(b) in other years year on the third Monday in May.

3        The three other statutory meetings shall be held on the third Monday in June, September and January.

4        Seven additional meetings shall be held on the third Monday in July, August, October, November, February, March and April.

Chairman of Meeting (5)
5        The person presiding at a meeting may exercise all the powers and duties of the Chairman in relation to the conduct of the meeting.

Proper Officer (6)
6        Where a statute, regulation or order confers functions or duties on the proper officer of the Council, in the following cases s/he shall be the clerk:
(a)      to receive declarations of acceptance of office.
(b)      to receive and record notices disclosing interests at meetings.
(c)      to receive and retain plans and documents.
(d)      to sign notices or other documents on behalf of the Council.
(e)      to receive copies of byelaws made by a district council.
(f)      to certify copies of byelaws made by the Council.
(g)      to sign and issue summonses to attend meetings of the Council.
(h)      to keep proper records for all Council Meetings.
In any other case the proper officer shall be the person nominated by the Council and, in default of nomination, the clerk.

Absence from Meetings (7)
7        A member shall cease to be a member of the Council if s/he fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of his/her last attendance to attend any meeting of the full Council, unless his/her absences are due to some reason approved by a resolution of the Council prior to the expiry of the six month period.
Conditions of absence:
(a)      the member must seek the approval of the Council for absence and such approval must be expressed by a resolution of the Council prior to the expiry of the six month period.
(b)      approval must be given by the Council, in advance, to any member for a prolonged absence (eg where a member is intending to go and live or work abroad for some considerable time).

Quorum (8-9)
8        Three members or one third of the total membership, whichever is greater shall constitute a quorum at meetings of the Council.  A motion to suspend standing orders shall not be moved without written notice signed by twice as many members as constitute the quorum.

9        If a quorum is not present when the Council meets or if during a meeting the number of councillors present falls below the quorum, the business not transacted at that meeting shall be transacted at the next meeting or on such other day as the Chairman may fix.

Voting (10-12)
10      Members shall vote by show of hands, or, if at least two members so request, by signed ballot.

11      If a member so requires, the Clerk shall record the names of the members who voted on any question so as to show whether they voted for or against it.  Such a request must be made before moving on to the next business.

12.1    Subject to 12.2 and 12.3 below the Chairman may give an original vote on any matter put to the vote and in any case of an equality of votes may give a casting vote whether or not s/he gave an original vote.
12.2    If the person presiding at the annual meeting would have ceased to be a member of the Council but for the statutory provision which preserves the membership of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman until the end of their terms of office, s/he may not give an original vote in an election for Chairman.
12.3    The person presiding must give a casting vote whenever there is an equality of votes for Chairman.

Order of Business (13-19)
(In an election year councillors should execute Declarations of Acceptance of Office in each others’ presence, or in the presence of a proper officer previously authorised by the Council to take such declarations, before the Annual Meeting commences.)

13      At each Annual Meeting the first business shall be:
(a) to elect a Chairman.
(b) to receive the Chairman’s declaration of acceptance of office, or if not then received, to decide when it shall be received.
(c) in the ordinary year of election of the Council to fill any vacancies left unfilled at the election by reason of insufficient nominations.
(d) to decide when any declarations of acceptance of office which have not been received as provided by law shall be received.
(e) elect a Vice-Chairman.
(f) appoint committees and sub-committees.
(g) consider the payment of any subscriptions to be paid annually.
(h) inspect any deeds and trust instruments in the custody of the Council and
shall thereafter follow the order set out in Standing Order 16.

A member of the Council shall not hold office as Chairman for more than three years in succession.  A member of the Council shall not hold office as Vice-chairman for more than three years in succession.

14      At every meeting other than the Annual Meeting the first business shall be to appoint a Chairman if the Chairman and Vice-chairman be absent and to receive such declarations of acceptance of office (if any) and undertakings to observe the Council’s Code of Conduct as are required by law to be made, or if not then received to decide when they shall be received.

15      At the second annual meeting after the ordinary elections the first business shall include consideration of whether the pay and conditions of service of existing employees of the Council shall be reviewed (see Standing Order 37).

16      After the first business has been completed, the order of business, unless the Council decides otherwise on the ground of urgency, shall be as follows:
(a) to receive questions and hear observations from members of the public.  This resolution is governed by Standing Order 67.
(b) to read and consider the minutes.  Provided that a copy has been circulated to each member not later than the day of issue of the summons to attend the meeting, the minutes may be taken as read.
(c) after consideration to approve the signature of the minutes by the presiding chairman as a correct record.
(d) to deal with business expressly required by statute to be done.
(e) to receive such communications as the presiding chairman may wish to lay before the Council.
(f) to answer questions.
(g) to dispose of business, if any, remaining from the last meeting.
(h) to authorise the signing of orders for payment.
(i) to receive and consider reports from officers of the Council.
(j) to receive and consider reports and minutes of committees and advisory committees.
(k) to consider motions or recommendations.
(l) to authorise the sealing of documents.
(m) any other business specified in the summons.

17      A motion to vary the order of business on the ground of urgency:
(a) may be proposed by the Chairman or any member and, if proposed by the Chairman, may be put to the vote without being seconded, and
(b) shall be put to the vote without discussion.

18      Every resolution or recommendation shall be relevant to some question over which the Council has power or which affects its area.

19      Resolutions dealing with the following matters may be moved without notice: to
(a)      appoint a Chairman of the meeting.
(b)      correct the minutes.
(c)      approve the minutes.
(d)      alter the order of business.
(e)      proceed to the next business.
(f)      close or adjourn the debate.
(g)      refer a matter to a committee.
(h)      appoint a committee or any members thereof.
(i)       adopt a report.
(j)      amend a motion.
(k)      give leave to withdraw a motion or an amendment.
(l)       extend the time limit for speeches.
(m)     consider otherwise than in committee a question affecting an employee of the Council.
(n)      exclude the press.
(o)      exclude the public.  Resolutions (n) and (o) are governed by Standing Orders 66 and 69.
(p)      silence or eject from the meeting a member named for misconduct.  This resolution is governed by Standing Order 32.3.
(q)      invite a member having an interest, unless it is Prejudicial, in the subject matter under debate to remain.  This resolution is governed by the Standing Order 59.
(r)      give the consent of the Council where such consent is required by these Standing Orders.


Questions (20-23)
20      A member may ask the Chairman any question concerning the business of the Council.

21      A member may with or without notice ask the Chairman of a committee any question upon the proceedings of the committee then before the Council if the question is put before the Council’s consideration of those proceedings is finished.

22      Every question shall be put and answered without discussion.

23      A person to whom a question has been put may decline to answer.

Rules of Debate (24-30)
24      No discussion shall take place upon the minutes except upon their accuracy.  Corrections to the minutes shall be made by resolution and must be initialled by the Chairman.

25.1    A resolution or amendment shall not be discussed unless it has been proposed and seconded, and it shall, if required by the Chairman, be put in writing and handed to him before it is further discussed or put to the meeting.
25.2    When seconding a resolution or amendment a member may, if s/he then declares his intention to do so, reserve his/her speech until a later period of the debate.

26      A member shall direct his speech to the question under discussion or to a personal explanation or to a question of order.

27      No speech shall exceed five minutes, except by consent of the Council (the mover of a resolution is sometimes allowed a longer time than others).

28.1    An amendment shall be to leave out words, or to leave out words and insert or add others, or to insert or add words.
28.2    An amendment shall not have the effect of negativing the motion before the Council.
28.3    If an amendment is carried, the resolution as amended shall take the place of the original resolution and shall become the resolution upon which any further amendment may be moved.
28.4    A further amendment shall not be moved until the Council has disposed of every amendment previously moved.

29.1    The mover of a resolution or an amendment shall have a right of reply.
29.2    A member, other than the mover of a resolution, shall not, without leave of the Council, speak more than once on any resolution except to move an amendment or further amendment, or on an amendment, or on a point of order, or in personal explanation, or to move the closure.
29.3    A member may make a point of order or a personal explanation.  (A personal explanation shall be confined to some material part of a former speech by him which may have been misunderstood; in such cases a member shall be heard forthwith.)
29.4    A motion or amendment may be withdrawn by the proposer with the unanimous consent of the Council, which shall be signified without discussion, and no member may speak upon it after permission has been asked for its withdrawal unless such permission has been refused.
29.5    When a resolution is under debate no other resolution shall be moved except:
(a) to amend the resolution.
(b) to proceed to the next business.
(c) to adjourn the debate.
(d) that the question be now put.
(e) that a member named be not further heard.
(f) that a member named leave the meeting.
(g) that the resolution be referred to a committee.
(h) to exclude the public or the press or both.
(i) to adjourn the meeting.

30.1    Whenever the Chairman speaks during a debate all other members shall be silent.
30.2    Members shall address the Chairman.
30.3    If two or more members wish to speak, the Chairman shall call upon one of them and the others shall remain silent.
30.4    The ruling of the Chairman on a point of order or on the admissibility of a personal explanation shall not be discussed.

Closure (31)
31      At the end of any speech a member may, without comment, move “that the question be now put”, “that
the debate be now adjourned” or “that the Council do now adjourn”.  If such a motion is seconded and if the Chairman is of the opinion that the question before the Council has been sufficiently debated (but not otherwise), he shall forthwith put the motion.  If the motion “that the question be now put” is carried, he shall call upon the mover to exercise or waive his right of reply and shall put the question immediately after that right has been exercised or waived.  The adjournment of a debate or of the Council shall not prejudice the mover’s right of reply at the resumption.

Disorderly Conduct (32)
32.1    All members must observe the Code of Conduct which was adopted by the council on 12 May 2003, a copy of which is annexed to these Standing Orders.  If a member reasonably believes another member is in breach of the code of Conduct, that member is under a duty to report the breach to the Standards Board.
32.2    No member shall at a meeting persistently disregard the ruling of the Chairman, or wilfully obstruct business, or behave irregularly, offensively, improperly or in such a manner as to scandalise the Council or bring it into disrepute.
32.3    If in the opinion of the Chairman a member has broken the provision of paragraph 32.2, the Chairman shall express that opinion to the Council and thereafter any member may move that the member named be no longer heard or that the member named do leave the meeting, and the motion, if seconded, shall be put forthwith and without discussion.
32.4    If either of the motions mentioned in 32.3 is disobeyed, the Chairman may suspend the meeting or take such further steps as may reasonably be necessary to enforce them.

Right of Reply (33)
33      The mover of a resolution shall have a right to reply immediately before the resolution is put to the vote. If an amendment is proposed the mover of the amendment shall be entitled to reply immediately before the amendment is put to the vote.  A member exercising a right of reply shall not introduce new matter.  After the right of reply has been exercised or waived, a vote shall be taken without further discussion.

Alteration of Resolution (34)
34      A member may, with the consent of his seconder, move amendments to his own resolution.

Recission of Previous Resolution (35)
35.1    A decision (whether affirmative or negative) of the Council shall not be reversed within six months save by a special resolution, written notice of which bears the names of at least four members of the Council.
35.2    When a special resolution has been disposed of, no similar resolution may be moved within a further six months.
35.3    Standing Orders 35.1 and 35.2 shall not apply to resolutions moved in pursuance of the report or recommendations of a committee.

Voting on Appointments (36)
36      Where more than two persons have been nominated for any position to be filled by the Council and of the votes given there is not an absolute majority in favour of one person, the name of the person having the least number of votes shall be struck off the list and a fresh vote taken, and so on until a majority of votes is given in favour of one person.

Discussions and Resolutions affecting Employees of the Council    (37)
37      If at a meeting any question arises relating to the appointment, conduct, promotion, dismissal, salary or conditions of service, of any person employed by the Council, it shall not be considered until the Council or committee (as the case may be) has decided whether or not the public shall be excluded (see Standing Order 66).

Resolutions on Expenditure (38)
38      Any motion which, if carried, would in the opinion of the Chairman substantially increase the expenditure upon any service which is under the management of or reduce the revenue at the disposal of any committee, or which would involve capital expenditure, shall, when proposed and seconded, stand adjourned without discussion at the next ordinary meeting of the Council, and any committee affected by it shall consider whether it desires to report thereon.

Expenditure  (39)
39      Orders for the payment of money shall be authorised by resolution of the Council and signed by two members.

Sealing of Document (40)
40      Any two members of the Council may seal, on behalf of the Council, any document required by law to be issued under seal.

Committees and Sub-Committees (41-49)
41.1    At the Annual Meeting the Council may appoint standing committees and may at any other time appoint such other committees as are necessary, subject to any statutory provision in that behalf.  The Council:
(a) shall not appoint any member of a committee so as to hold office later than the next Annual Meeting, and
(b) may at any time dissolve or alter the membership of a committee.
41.2    The following Committees, with the membership shown in brackets (excluding the Chairman and Vice-chairman), shall be elected at the Annual Meeting:
(a) Finance and General Purposes Committee (three)
(b) Planning Committee (all councillors are members of the Planning Committee).  The quorum of the Planning Committee is six nominated councillors.  If these nominated councillors are unable to attend a planning meeting they must inform the Clerk.  The Planning Committee has delegated powers to forward comments on behalf of the Council to Wealden District Council or East Sussex County Council as appropriate, on all planning applications.
(c) Footpath Committee (three)
(d) Ground Committee (three)
(e) Emergency  Committee (three).
41.3    No elected member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee shall serve for more then three years in succession.
41.4    Written reports of Committee meetings shall be submitted to the Clerk in good time for duplication and issue with the Council Meeting agenda and minutes.
41.5    Committees shall make recommendations only to the Council.  Each Committee may spend up to £100.00 to solve any emergency, but the Ground Convenor may spend up to £400.00 to cover any emergency. For sums in excess of these amounts committee chairmen must seek the approval of the Chairman of the Council and the RFO or appropriate Officer.

42      The Chairman and Vice-chairman shall be members of every committee.

43      Every committee shall at its first meeting before proceeding to any other business, elect a chairman and may elect a vice-chairman who shall hold office until the next Annual Meeting of the Council.

44      The chairman of a committee or the Chairman of the Council may summon a special meeting of that committee at any time.  A special meeting shall also be summoned on the request in writing of not less than a quarter of the members of the committee.  The summons shall set out the business to be considered at the special meeting and no other business shall be transacted at that meeting.

45      Every committee may appoint sub-committees for purposes to be specified by the committee.

46      The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the committee shall be members of every sub-committee appointed by it unless they signify that they do not wish to serve.
47      Except where ordered by the Council in the case of a committee or by the Council or by the appropriate committee in the case of a sub-committee, the quorum of a committee or sub-committee shall be one half of its members.

48      The Standing Orders on rules of debate (except those parts relating to speaking more than once) and the Standing Order on interests of members in contracts and other matters shall apply to committee and sub-committee meetings insofar as they are appropriate.

49      Any committee member who fails to attend four meetings without adequate explanation shall be deemed to have resigned from that committee.  The committee may, if it so wishes, co-opt an additional councillor to fill the vacancy.

Advisory Committees (50)
50.1    The Council shall appoint, at any time, such advisory committees as shall be required.
50.2    The Clerk shall inform the members of each advisory committee of the terms of reference of the committee.
50.3    An advisory committee may make recommendations and give notice thereof to the Council.
50.4    An advisory committee may consist wholly of persons who are not the Council.

Voting in Committees (51-52)
51      Members of committees and sub-committees shall vote by show of hands. Chairmen of committees and sub-committees shall have a second or casting vote.

Presence of Non-members of Committees at Committee Meetings (53-54)
53      A Council member who has proposed a motion which has been referred to any committee of which he is not a member, may explain his motion to the committee but shall not vote.

54      Any Council member shall, unless the Council otherwise orders, be entitled to be present as a spectator at the meetings of any committee or sub-committee of which he is not a member.

Accounts and Financial Statement (55-56)
55.1    Except as provided in Standing Order 55.2 or by statute, all accounts for payment and claims upon the Council shall be laid before the Council.
55.2    Where it is necessary to make a payment before it has been authorised by the Council, such payment shall be certified as to its correctness and urgency by the Responsible Financial Officer.  Unless it has been otherwise authorised by the Finance and General Purposes Committee / Council, payment shall be authorised by the committee, if any, having charge of the business to which it relates or by the Chairman or Vice-chairman of the Council.
55.3    All payments authorised under Standing Order 55.2 or made without authority of the Council shall be separately included in the next schedule of payments laid before the Council.

56      The Responsible Financial Officer shall supply to each member by the July meeting of the full Council, a copy of the Final Accounts which have been subject to the scrutiny of the Council's appointed Internal Auditor, together with any report or recommendation of the Internal Auditor for approval.

Estimates (57)
57      Any committee desiring to incur expenditure to be defrayed out of the rates shall not later than 31 October give to the Responsible Financial Officer a written estimate of the expenditure recommended for the coming year, and such estimate shall be submitted to the Council at its meeting in November.

Interests (58-61)
58      If a member has a personal interest as defined by the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council on 12 May 2003 then s/he shall declare such interest soon as it becomes apparent, disclosing the existence and nature of that interest as required.

59      If a member who has declared a personal interest then considers the interest to be prejudicial, s/he must withdraw from the room during consideration of the item to which the interest relates.

60      The Clerk is required to compile and hold a register of members’ interests in accordance with agreement reached with the Monitoring Officer of Wealden District Council.

61      If a candidate for any appointment under the Council is to his knowledge related to any member or the
holder of any office under the Council, s/he and the person to whom s/he is related shall disclose the relationship in writing to the Clerk.  A candidate who fails to do so shall be disqualified for such appointment and, if appointed, may be dismissed without notice.  The Clerk shall report to the Council or to the appropriate committee any such disclosure.  Where relationship to a member is disclosed the Standing Orders on interests of members in contracts and other matters shall apply.
The Clerk shall make known the purport of this Standing Order to every candidate.

Canvassing of and Recommendations by Members (62-63)
62.1    Canvassing of members or of any committee, directly or indirectly, for any appointment under the Council shall disqualify the candidate for such appointment.  The Clerk shall make known the purport of this Standing Order to every candidate.
62.2    A member of the Council shall not solicit for any person any appointment under the Council or recommend any person for such appointment or for promotion; but, nevertheless, a member may give a written testimonial of a candidate’s ability, experience or character for submission to the Council with an application for appointment.

63      Standing Orders 61, 62.1 and 62.2 shall apply to tenders as if the person making the tender were a candidate for appointment.

Inspection of Documents  (64)
64      Documents and records will be made available to members of the public according to the Publication Scheme adopted in February 2003 (attached).

Unauthorised Activities (65)
65      No member of the Council or of any committee or sub-committee shall in the name of or on behalf of the Council:
(a) inspect any lands or premises which the Council has a right or duty to inspect; or
(b) issue orders; unless authorised to do so by the Council or the relevant committee or subcommittee.

Admission of the Public and Press to Meetings (66-69)
66      The public and the press shall be admitted to all meetings of the Council and its committees and sub-committees, which may, however, temporarily exclude the public or the press or both by means of the following resolution, viz: “That in view of the special / confidential nature of the business about to be transacted, it is advisable in the public interest that the press / public and press / public be temporarily excluded and they are instructed to withdraw”.

67      The public shall be permitted to submit questions and make statements to the Council and its committees by adjournment by the Chairman.  This item shall not last more than 15 minutes or at the Chairman's discretion, and no individual contribution shall last more than three minutes.

68      The Clerk shall afford to the press reasonable facilities for taking their report of any proceedings at which they are entitled to be present.

69      If a member of the public interrupts the proceedings at any meeting the Chairman may after warning, order that s/he be removed from the Council Chamber or that the part of the Chamber open to the public be cleared.

Confidential Business (70)
70.1    No member of the Council or of any committee or sub-committee shall disclose to any person not a member of the Council any business declared to be confidential by the Council, committee or sub-committee.
70.2    All complaints, until resolved, shall be treated as confidential.  See complaints procedure (attached).

Liaison with County and District Councillors (71-72)
71      A notice of meeting shall be sent together with an invitation to attend to the County Councillor for the division and to the District Councillor for the ward.

72      Unless the Council otherwise orders, a copy of each letter ordered to be sent to the County or District Council shall be sent to the County Councillor for the division or to the District Councillor for the ward as appropriate.

Planning Applications (73)
73      The Clerk shall, as soon as it is received, keep a record of the planning applications notified to the Council and refer them to the Chairman of the Planning Committee as soon as practicable.

Contracts (74)
74.1    Where it is intended to enter into a contract exceeding £1,000 but not exceeding £4,000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works, the Clerk shall give at least three weeks public notice of such intention in the same manner as public notice of meetings of the Council is given.  Where the value of the intended contract exceeds £4,000 similar notice shall be given in addition to all firms included in the appropriate standing approved list of contractors maintained by the District Council or if no such list is maintained then in such newspapers circulating in the district as the Council shall direct.
74.2    The notice shall state the general nature of the intended contract and shall in addition state the name and address of the person to whom tenders are to be addressed and the last date by which those tenders should reach that person in the ordinary course of post.
74.3    If no tenders are received or if all the tenders are identical the Council may make such arrangements for procuring the goods or materials or executing the work as it thinks fit.
74.4    A notice issued under this standing order shall contain a statement of the effect of Standing Orders 61, 62.1, 62.2 and 63.

Variation, Revocation and Suspension of Standing Orders (75-76)
75      Any part of the Standing Orders except 2, 3, 5, 11, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 13(a), 14, 16(c) and (d), 39, 52 and 66 may be suspended by resolution in relation to any specific item of business.

76      A motion permanently to vary or revoke a Standing Order shall, when proposed and seconded, stand adjourned without discussion to the next ordinary meeting of the Council.

Standing Orders to be Given to Members (77)
77      A printed copy of these Standing Orders shall be given to each member by the Clerk upon delivery to him of the member’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office, except in election year when any amendments to the Standing Orders will be ratified at the first Council Meeting.

Mobile telephones
78      Members are requested to turn off or turn phones to silent mode during all Council Meetings.