Godshill Parish Council – Isolated and Autocratic – Soon to Change?

Application to fill the final parish council seat has now closed. It is understood that at least one person has put themselves forward for consideration. It is hoped that this new person will go some way to changing the attitude that the parish council appears to have towards those it is supposed to serve.

How many of you have tried communicating with their parish councillors? How do you get on? Are they available for an informal chat? Do they use our Village Shop and Post Office? Have you emailed them or the parish clerk? Do you get a reply and how efficient are they at replying? If you want to try them out, here are their email addresses:

It seems very few people make any attempt to contact the parish council. Apparently, many have expressed the feeling that they are a waste of time. Some report that they don’t seem to want us to know what they do. A year and a half ago, during my brief, 15 month stint on the parish council, I started to address the issue of communications and submitted a Communications Policy for the council which was adopted and approved back in February 2020. Sadly, it seems as though it is now gathering dust somewhere as it is not to be found on the website.

In addition to the above, Godshill parish council is probably unique in one very key respect. Having searched through many other parish council’s websites, both on the island and on the mainland, I am yet to find a single parish council that behaves in such an autocratic manner. So, how is that?

If you look at the minutes of the monthly meetings, and you can browse back over old minutes too, this has not changed in years, you will see, quite correctly, that there is a regular item “Clerk’s Report” (except they leave out the apostrophe!)

Now, take a close look at all Godshill parish council meeting minutes. Preceding the Clerk’s Report is a “Chairman’s Report”. But what about the other councillors on the parish council? Why do they not get the opportunity to report on their activity over the month? From experience I know that neither the chairman or the clerk contacts the other councillors on a monthly basis to find out about their activities and concerns and so be able to include them in the meeting and minutes. This can only suggest that the chairman sees herself as the only one who matters on the council and the only one who should make a report and then only about her own activities. Check out the minutes of other parish councils. Can you find a parish council that has a Chairman’s Report? I can’t. Now, very many other councils, quite correctly, have an item entitles “Councillors’ Reports” where each councillor can report on their activity or non-activity.

One can only hope that the arrival of THREE new parish councillors will now see this change and that, every month, we see a “Councillors’ Report” with the chairman takes her rightful place reporting ALONGSIDE all other councillors – democratic equality and not autocracy!

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