NALC has clarified its understanding of the rule of six, as it applies to Parish and Town Council meetings from 17th May until such time as national restrictions are amended or lifted:
- Parish Councillors plus the Clerk are outside the rule of six for indoor meetings because they form the body corporate which is exempt as a permitted organised gathering.
- Members of the public (which would include the Ward Councillor unless double-hatted) constitute the rule of six for indoor meetings. For example, a parish/town council with 18 members may meet (socially distanced) indoors with six other persons, provided the meeting room can accommodate them all, socially distanced.
Although NALC recognises that there is exemption for qualified groups (e.g. members of the same household) which could increase the six persons e.g. five residents from different households and four from one household (making nine persons) which could be argued as complying with the ‘rule of six’, this has not been tested in law and NALC advises that parish councils only permit six persons in addition to the Councillors and Clerk (the body corporate) to attend a parish council meeting indoors at the current time.
As mentioned previously, due to the recent High Court judgement, members of the public have a right to attend face-to-face meetings and whilst they can be encouraged to attend via remote means (if available) should more than six members of the public wish to attend your meeting in person, you may need to take the meeting outdoors or adjourn but do not proceed inside. In inclement weather, attend to urgent or time related business only and return to the remaining agenda items after June 21st.