The Town Clerk, recently retitled Executive Officer, is the Proper Officer of the Council, a statutory role, and the Responsible Financial Officer, also legally required. The Clerk's overall responsibility is to carry out the policy decisions of the Council, to ensure business runs smoothly and efficiently, and in accordance with the law.
In addition to the Executive Officer, the Council employs an Assets and Facilities Manager, a Communication and Engagement Officer, two Neighbourhood Services Officers and an Administration Assistant. All staff work to execute the decisions of the Council. Council staff can be found by clicking on the link.
Pursuant to section 15 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Council must elect a Chair at the Annual Meeting of the Council in May. In accordance with standing orders the Chair is responsible for ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at meetings of the Council and assisted by the Executive Officer, guides activities by managing the meetings of the Full Council. The council is not lawfully constituted without a Chair.
Ashington Town Council does not adopt the Town Mayor model, legally entitled to the Chair of a Town Council by Section 245 (6) of the Local Government Act 1972, and instead elects a separate Civic Head. The Council also appoint a Vice-Chair to take up the position in the absence of the of Chair.
Ashington Town Council elect a Civic Head at the Annual Meeting in May. The Civic Head will attend civic and ceremonial functions that require a civic presence. This includes events in the community, such as openings and fundraising events organised by voluntary and charitable organisations, and other events determined by the Council.
The role of Civic Head is not statutory, nor is it governed by the same legislation and civic protocol as that of Town Mayor. The Council appoint a Deputy Civic Head to take up the role in the absence of the Civic Head.
Ashington Town Council appoint a Leader by resolution of the Council, at the Annual Meeting in May. Additionally, the Council appoints a Deputy Leader to take up the position in the absence of the Leader. The role of Leader is not statutory, nor is it described in any of the governing documents relating to Town and Parish Councils. Ashington Town Council delegate to this role the authority to work directly with the Executive Officer, Chair of the Council and Committee Chairs, to develop and propose the strategic direction and policy objectives of the Council.
Whilst delegating to this role, the Council and its officers understand the legal limitations and acknowledge that the Leader of the Council has no executive decision-making power to act on the Council’s behalf. All agreements and negotiations are subject to authorisation by the appropriate committee or Council.
In order to take decisions, a Council, and its Committees must meet in accordance with proper practice and the law. Each Council meeting must publish an agenda. The agenda specifies the business of a meeting; it is essential that the agenda includes all the items to be discussed, and that each item is fully described.
It is the responsibility of the Executive Officer to draw up the agenda and to include those items that need to be considered by the Council, and also to include any motions received from Councillors. It is very important that the agenda includes sufficient information to enable the Council to discuss the business properly and to make an informed decision.
The Council has an agreed set of Standing Orders which act as the written rules of the Council, as well as several other policies that inform how we do our business. Click on the link to view the policies of the Council.
The Full Council is made up of all Councillors. At Ashington Town Council, we meet every other month, on the last Tuesday, unless scheduled otherwise. The meeting is chaired by the Business Chair and as with all meetings, the agenda is published in advance of the meeting, and is available on the Council's website. This meeting is open to the press and public, except for items deemed confidential.
Only the Full Council meeting can approve the Council's Budget and Precept demand, and must also approve the Council's end of year accounts.
The FGS Committee includes all Councillors and meets monthly on the 2nd Tuesday, unless scheduled otherwise. The Committee elects its own Chair and Vice Chair and operates under terms of reference agreed by Full Council. The terms of reference for the FGS Committee can be viewed by clicking on the link. The agenda is published in advance of the meeting, and is available on the Council's website. This meeting is open to the press and public, except for items deemed confidential.
The Personnel Committee includes those Cllrs elected to the roles of Business Chair, Vice Business Chair, FGS Committee Chair, FGS Committee Vice Chair, Leader, and Deputy Leader. The Committee meet as and when required. The Committee elects its own Chair and Vice Chair and operates under terms of reference agreed by Full Council. The terms of reference for the Personnel Committee can be viewed by clicking on the link. The agenda is published in advance of the meeting, and is available on the Council's website. This meeting is open to the press and public, except for items deemed confidential.
The Climate Change and Environment Committee includes all Councillors. The Committee meet quarterly, or as and when required. The Committee elects its own Chair and Vice Chair and operates under terms of reference agreed by Full Council. The terms of reference for the climate Change and Environment Committee can be viewed by clicking on the link. The agenda is published in advance of the meeting, and is available on the Council's website. This meeting is open to the press and public, except for items deemed confidential.
Ashington Town Council has an Enhanced Services Service Level Agreement with Northumberland County Council. The Partnership Board is made up of members of Ashington Town Council and Northumberland County Council and meets quarterly. These meetings are not held in public, however, the minutes of the meeting are received by the FGS Committee, and are available to the press and public.
The ALG was set up to provide a vehicle for the sharing of information and good practice between Allotment Associations and the Town Council to ensure the good and effective day-to-day management of allotment sites in the town, including the overseeing and development of tenancy agreements and rules and regulations for the sites. Ashington Town Council is overall responsible for over 800 allotment plots across several sites. More information on allotments can be found by clicking on the link.
The ALG has four Councillors appointed to join Council officers, and two representatives from each allotment association/site. They meet three times a year, or more if required. The objectives of the ALG can be viewed in the link. This meeting is not held in public, nor subject to statutory requirements, but reports are brought to the FGS Committee which is open to the press and public, expect for items deemed confidential.
The Events Advisory Group was established to support Council Officers to research, discuss and make recommendations in respect of all events, either organised by, or seeking the involvement of Ashington Town Council. The group will seek ways to enhance the offer of the town to residents and visitors, with a calendar of events throughout the year, and also to link up with community organisations, businesses, and the school and college community to encourage greater engagement throughout the town.
Membership of the group is open to all members of the Council, and those officers involved in planning events, namely the Communications and Engagement Officer. They meet as and when required. This meeting is not subject to statutory requirements, nor is it open to the public, but reports are brought to the FGS Committee which is open to the press and public, expect for items deemed confidential. Click on the link to view the terms of reference of this group.
You can view all the links enabled above in the list below.