The Local Government Act 1972 states that “for every parish there shall be a Parish Meeting for the purpose of discussing parish affairs and exercising any functions conferred on such meeting by any enactment…”
The Annual Parish Meeting is open to all electors of the 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 Council meeting, where electors who are not Councillors may only speak at the discretion of the Chairman of the Council. A Parish Meeting is a meeting of the people of the parish, a Parish Council Meeting is a meeting of the parish councillors).
With the exception of the Chairman, councillors rank the same as other members of the electorate during the meeting.
A skeleton agenda is usually published ahead of the meeting, but items may be added up to and even during the meeting. Any member of the electorate may request items to be placed on the agenda. Any matter pertinent to the parish may be discussed at the meeting.
All those present at the meeting who are on the electoral register for the parish have the right to vote.
This meeting has its own minutes, which should be kept separately from the Council minutes, and these minutes can only be approved by the next Annual Parish Meeting which will, of course, not be held until the following year.
It is however, good practice to bring the draft minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting to the next convenient meeting of the Parish Council, since otherwise matters are unlikely to get progressed. But it is important that the Council does not actually approve these minutes, as they do not belong to the Council.
The Chairman of the Parish Council chairs the meeting. The Clerk to the Parish Council organises and takes the minutes of the meeting.
The Storrington & Sullington Annual Parish Meetings are typically held on the first Wednesday each May (Covid caused exceptions).
(The information shown here has come from resources produced to advise Parish Councils)