27 January, 2020

Role of clerk

The role of clerk is given in detail on many parish websites.

Although the role of a parish council clerk is more complicated and detailed than that of a parish meeting clerk, the job is the same in many respects.   While parish councils have legally to employ their clerks who are expected to attend training courses, parish meetings are only allowed clerks who give their time voluntarily.  They are unlikely to be funded to attend training courses.  Duties and expectations of a clerk have altered since the turn of the Century with new legislation aimed at getting all local authorities, from the smallest to the largest, to embrace “open government”.

How much time a parish clerk devotes to the parish depends on the individual – many salaried clerks give as much if not more unpaid time on top of their paid duties.

In Broughton the current clerk, John Horsman, says he allocates an hour a week parish work.  He says he “follows the guidelines set out in such tomes as “The Essential Clerk” and “Governance Toolkit for Parish Councils”.   A parish toolkit can be found here. This gives a formal description of the role of the clerk as provided by the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors.

If a member of the Yorkshire Local Councils’ Association, parishes have somewhere to which their clerks can turn for legal advice as well as help on how to perform their roles.


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