Penistone Parish Wards

Penistone

The Parish Wards of Penistone
Penistone Town Council (PTC) has 15 members in four Penistone Parish Wards (which are not the same as BMBC Wards). These were established through an HM Government Order: 'The Borough of Barnsley (Electoral Changes) Order 2003'. All fifteen PTC seats are up for election every four years, the next one being in May 2019.

Penistone coat of arms Penistone Ward
Six Members
Cllr Wayne Chadburn
Cllr Jonathan Cutts
Cllr Jill Hayler
Cllr Roger Hinchliff
Cllr Andrew Millner
Cllr Ann Rusby
Cubley and
Spring Vale
Four Members
Cllr Brenda Hinchliff
Cllr Gillian Millner
Vacancy, April 2018
Cllr Joe Unsworth
Thurlstone and
Millhouse Green
Three Members
Cllr Graham Saunders
Cllr Judith Anita Kimberley
Cllr Steve Webber
Hoylandswaine
Two Members
Cllr Paul Hand-Davies
Cllr Steve Marsh

Notes
Cllr Michael Ogle (Cubley and Spring Vale Ward) - Resigned in April 2018. See the Notice of Vacancy (pdf) on Penistone Town Council.
Cllr Janet Stanley (Thurlstone and Millhouse Gn) - Resigned in January 2018, replaced by Steve Webber through co-option.
Cllr Oliver Denton (Thurlstone and Millhouse Gn) - Resigned in February 2016, replaced by Graham Saunders through co-option.
Cllr Steve Webber (Thurlstone and Millhouse Gn) - Resigned in July 2016, replaced by Janet Stanley through co-option.
See the PTC Register of Interests and the (out of date) BMBC Register of Interests for Parish Councillors.


May 2015 Election Notes
Election Day was Thursday 7th May 2015, with a General Election and BMBC election on the same day. Only the Thurlstone Parish Ward was contested. Some names changed in the uncontested Parish Wards. For Thurlstone and Millhouse, three candidates needed to be selected from the four. It was a close-run battle with only 162 votes between the highest and lowest. Source BMBC - Parish Wards.

Thurlstone & Millhouse Green Parish Ward
Candidate Description Home Votes Ratio
Oliver James York Denton Conservative Thurlstone 605 Elected 26.4 %
Judith Anita Kimberley Independent Thurlstone 578 Elected 25.3 %
Lynette Webber Independent Thurlstone 473 20.6 %
Stephen John Webber Independent Thurlstone 635 Elected 27.7 %
Total Votes     2291  

The following were uncontested and deemed 'duly elected':

Penistone Parish Ward
Name Description Home
Wayne Robert Chadburn A Voice for
the Region
Penistone
Jonathan Gerard Cutts (no desc.) Penistone
Jill Hayler Labour Pty Silkst' Com
Roger Clinton Hinchcliff Independent Penistone
Andrew Robert Millner Conservative Penistone
Ann Rusby Independent Penistone

Cubley and Spring Vale Parish Ward
Name Description Home
Brenda Hinchcliff Independent Penistone
Gillian Ruth Millner Conservative Penistone
Michael Thomas Ogle Conservative Hoy' Swaine
Joseph Unsworth Labour Pty Penistone

HoylandSwaine Parish Ward
Name Description Home
Paul Hand-Davis Conservative Penistone
Stephen Richard Marsh Independent Bord Hill

2015 Notes
Wayne Chadburn also goes under the flag of 'Yorkshire First':
See BMBC's 'Current Elections'.


Council Vacancy, April 2018
This arose because Councillor Michael Thomas Ogle (Cubley and Spring Vale Parish Ward) had been absent from six or more PTC meetings.
From the PTC Meeting of Monday 19th March 2018, Minutes (pdf):

'The Town Clerk also stated that Cllr. Ogle had also not attended the last six meetings of the Town Council and referred to the Local Government Act 1972 which states that: If a member fails throughout six consecutive months to attend any meetings of the Council or of its Committees or sub-committees of which he is a member, or other body as a representative of the Council, or at a meeting of any body of persons, he ceases automatically to be a member of the Council. Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that the Town Clerk writes to Cllr Ogle explaining the situation and asks him to tender his resignation.'

A note from the Town Clerk, in the same Minutes:
The Town Clerk’s office received notification from Cllr Ogle during the Town Council meeting offering his resignation from the Town Council due to business reasons.


PTC Co-option Notes, 5/3/18
Details of this co-option were appended to the 19th Feb 2018 PTC Minutes. Only three people had submitted their names for the Thurlstone and Millhouse Green Parish Ward to fill the vacancy which arose in January 2018 upon the resignation of Cllr Jan Stanley.

The candidates were: Steve Webber, Michael Barraclough and Hannah Kitching. There being no call for an election, a co-option meeting was arranged at the convenience of the candidates for Monday 5th March 2018, location unknown. The candidates were in attendance, interviewed individually in alphabetical order and each asked the same questions. It appears that votes were taken for the candidates and, by a clear majority, the former councillor Steve Webber was duly co-opted. He then signed the form of acceptance for the post and made the usual declarations.

We can commend all three candidates for submitting themselves to serve our community on the council. Congratulations are in order to the successful candidate, Steve Webber, whose long experience as a former councillor would be a welcome addition to the club.

The meeting was attended by Councillors R Hinchliff (Mayor), Mrs B Hinchliff, J Hayler, G Saunders, A Kimberley, J Unsworth, S Marsh, P Hand-Davis, W Chadburn, A Millner, Mrs G Millner and J Cutts. Whilst their choice of candidate may well have been the right one and appears to have been conducted in a proper way, where co-options are concerned, the council's approach to transparency is often questionable.

Unlike the 2014 co-option where the public and press were invited to attend and scrutinise the process (see below), this one was held in private and with no public notification. Full council meetings are normally announced on PTC noticeboards. Given the rigour which applies to normal elections (and the penalties for non-compliance, such as fines or even jail), it is surprising and unsettling that the same standard of openness and transparency is not automatically applied to Casual Vacancies, and without hesitation. This tells us something about the corporate mindset, rather than any individual councillor.

As a general rule, residents have a legal right to attend and observe all council meetings (with certain, well-defined exclusions). This right of access was brought into UK law through a Private Member's Bill in 1960, and introduced by a certain Mrs M Thatcher. It is a right which is acknowledged by the council, but denied by the simple expedient of keeping the meeting schedules out of the public domain. As the meetings calendar will be in a digital format on a computer, it would be a simple matter to upload it to the PTC website.


PTC Co-Option Notes, 1/9/14
In this case, the casual vacancy was filled in an unusually open and publicly-observed meeting, following an article in Barnsley Chronicle (1st Aug 2014) referring to there being 'little interest' in filling the little-known PTC vacancy. The vacancy had been created by the passing of Cllr Peter Starling. A prospective candidate had raised a storm in the newspaper by claiming to have put his name forward and been disregarded.

With a new-found zeal for public accountability (or perhaps because of scathing press criticism about its usually opaque co-option procedures), PTC hastily called the co-option meeting and invited the public and press to observe. This was successfully conducted under public scrutiny and a vote was taken for each candidate. A member of the public checked that the votes were correctly done. This meeting had been in stark contrast to the 'confidential' approach of the January 2014 co-option (see below) and the later co-option of 2018, which was held in a private meeting.

The three 2014 candidates were Rita Dyson, Jeanette Edwards and Kevin Steel. There had originally been four but David Wood rescinded his application because of family and business commitments. He stated an intention to re-apply in the May 2015 election when all fifteen seats would come up for election (he did not). In attendance were: Councillors Pilkington, Hand-Davis, Barron, Beever, Hinchliff and Mrs Hinchliff, Webber and Mrs Webber, Millner, Marsh (Chairman and Mayor), Rusby, Unsworth and Cutts (Deputy Mayor). Also BMBC's Deputy Elections Officer, Jane Owen, observed the process and Town Clerk Keith Coulton officiated.

The Selection Process
Each candidate presented themselves and their reasons for wishing to join Penistone Town Council. Their replies are summarised briefly below. They were each given the same 'set question', which was: "From your point of view, what do you think will be the most crucial issue that Penistone Town Council needs to address in the coming twelve months?"

The successor was Kevin Steel with eight votes. Rita had three votes and Jeanette two votes. Thirteen votes were cast in total, one from each councillor (Cllr Rob Chapman was absent). A member of the public was asked to scrutinise the count to ensure fair play. Kevin signed the declaration of Acceptance of Office at the event and Ed Elliott of the Barnsley Chronicle took notes.


PTC Co-option Notes, January 2014
Casual VacancyThis vacancy arose following the resignation of Councillor Donna Green in December 2013. A public notice calling for nominations was properly exhibited on the PTC noticeboard but not on the PTC website. A small sub-committee was set up to vet the candidates. The selection process had been declared 'confidential' and its processes not open to public scrutiny. That led to some questioning remarks on social media and elsewhere. Five candidates applied but were rejected in favour of someone who had not applied.

The Applicants:
Names as declared at the PTC meeting of 20th Jan. 2014 and publicised in the Barnsley Chronicle:

Successful Candidate:
As none of the candidates had requested an election (which would have been their right, with the support of at least 10 residents), the matter went to co-option. As the principal source of information which was not very prominent elsewhere, the Barnsley Chronicle announced the successor as Mr Gordon Beever of HoylandSwaine.

Mr G Beever is the well-known and respected Chairman of Penistone Church Football Club, former Director of the (dissolved) Gordon Beever Developments LLP, Ingbirchworth and other building companies. Also a Director of JCLG Ltd., Halifax Rd., Penistone.


PTC General Notes
With some observations.

Parish/Town Elections (From HMG and other councils)
Parish and Town Councillors hold office for four years. When scheduled elections are held (usually the first Thursday in May, every four years), the terms of all the existing Councillors end on the fourth day after the day of the election, at which time the newly-elected councillors will succeed them (provided they have made declarations of acceptance of office).

One exception is that the Chairman of a parish or town council continues in office until his or her successor is appointed. This applies even if he or she is not re-elected or does not stand for re-election. The Vice-Chairman also continues until after the new Chairman is elected. Existing Councillors may put themselves forward for re-election but they will not be able to serve a further term unless they have been properly nominated as candidates and are subsequently elected.

During the four-year term of a Council, if one of the Councillors fails to attend meetings for a period of six months, or resigns, dies, ceases to be qualified or is disqualified, a ‘Casual Vacancy’ occurs and a 'Notice of Vacancy' will be displayed in a central and prominent location. Usually the press is notified. Apart from the time limit for requesting an election to fill a casual vacancy, such a request needs to be made by ten electors for the area concerned (if the parish or town is warded, that means ten electors from the ward in which the vacancy has arisen). The request must be signed by each of the ten electors and delivered to the Returning Officer at Barnsley Council.

Co-option in General
From the NALC's Good Councillor Guide (page 11, pdf): 'Co-option: the council chooses someone to fill a vacancy if insufficient candidates are proposed for seats at an election. An ordinary election occurs every four years but there may be an election when a seat falls vacant at other times. In addition, if a vacancy occurs between elections (for example, by the resignation of a councillor), the council must generally find out if the electors want an election before they can co-opt. It is better for democracy if councillors are elected rather than relying on co-option, so they can be confident that the council is the community’s choice of representatives.'

CPALC has some basic notes. If no election is called, the vacancy will go to co-option by a full council meeting. Legislation does not specify a co-option procedure but best practice is well-established and can be found from professional bodies and other councils. There is nothing preventing Councillors from approaching persons to offer themselves for co-option or even advertising for co-optee applicants. Residents will usually submit their names as candidates.

This is an abridged example from another council: 'All applicants should be invited individually to an interview with the Parish/Town Council. It would be helpful, but not compulsory, if applicants could provide the Council with a CV or some notes about themselves with their experience or other information, in advance. The person co-opted must receive an absolute majority vote of the councillors present and voting. Members must vote by show of hands unless the council has Standing Orders that provide otherwise. The full Council should then decide whom they wish to appoint and all applicants should be promptly informed of the decision.'

This is from another council and was the PTC procedure in the public 2014 co-option: 'The chairman should place the names of those properly nominated into alphabetical order and take a vote. Councillors have only one vote each. The first candidate to receive an absolute majority of those present and voting is declared elected. Should no single candidate receive a majority on the first vote, the person with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, voting takes place on the remainder, one vote per councillor. This continues until one person receives an absolute majority.'

All Councillors (whether elected or co-opted) must complete a ‘Declaration of Acceptance of Office’ form, which confirms that the Councillor is taking up office, and that they agree to abide by the Council’s ‘Code of Conduct’ All Councillors (both elected and co-opted) must complete a ‘Register of Interests’ form to give details about any property/land they own in the Parish area, any financial interests, and any other bodies that they belong to/carry out work for, in order to reveal any matters that they have an interest in, should the Council be called upon to make a decision in that area.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests
A Parish/Town Council is a corporate body and, as such, is subject to Judicial Review if the correct procedures are not followed. It is a criminal offence if a member or co-opted member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the requirements to register or declare disclosable pecuniary interests. It is also a criminal offence to take part in council business at meetings, or act alone on behalf of the council, when prevented from doing so by a conflict caused by disclosable pecuniary interests. This applies only to pecuniary interests, not to any breaches of the other elements of a Code of Conduct. Either offence is punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 (currently an unlimited amount), and an order disqualifying the person from being a member of a relevant authority for up to five years (see HMG Explanatory Note, pdf).


Links
Some interesting references.

The following might be of particular interest to new council members.

There are currently two Registers of Interests for BMBC and PTC councillors, as outlined in BMBC's Code of Conduct (pdf). See also: 'How We Work'.


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