What do parish or town clerks do?
The clerk is the council’s principal executive and adviser and, for many smaller parish councils, is the officer responsible for the administration of its financial affairs. Sometimes the clerk is a council’s only employee but cannot be self employed.
The clerk is not answerable to any individual councillor - not even the chairman. He/she is an independent and unbiased employee of the council, recognising that the council is responsible for all decisions and taking instruction from the council as a body. If the council has other members of staff then the clerk is their line manager.
As the council’s proper officer the clerk is responsible for implementing council policy; ensuring the council acts within the law; advising the council on all aspects of its work and may have delegated powers of decision making especially in urgent situations.
It is the clerk who prepares and posts notices, is responsible for writing the agenda and minutes, keeps the council’s records, deals with correspondence, arranges the council’s insurance and issues the precept.
The clerk has a key role in advising the council, and its members, on governance, ethical and procedural matters.
Clerks wishing to further their careers can undertake the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) with help and guidance from Worcestershire County Association of Local Councils (CALC). The Society of Local Council Clerks and the University of Gloucestershire also offer courses designed to advance the clerk’s career and the clerk can also take part in the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) scheme through the SLCC.