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Councillor as Safety Officer

0 votes
Can a Councillor be the Council's Safety Officer?

We do have need to carry out risk assessments at times, although this has not actually been done most of the time. Our Clerk has little experience of H&S and no training. The (newly formed) HR committee has discovered that one of our Councillors is fully qualified in H&S through his job. I firmly believe that we should use the skills our Councillors possess and he is happy to act as our H&S officer, with Council approval of course and if this is allowed.

Before HR Committee puts this suggestion to the Clerk (who will probably not be in favour of it) we need to definitely know if it is allowed.
asked by (1.2k points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
We need to be a little careful with terminology here and in defining roles. The council has only one official officer and that is the clerk. As far as I am aware utilising the skills and abilities of councillors for the good of community is at the heart of a Parish Council. A councillor can, if so instructed by the council prepare and present for their decision making any information/ assessments etc. deemed necessary by the council on a particular matter. No reason why this councillor could not head up a working party for this one matter if it deemed necessary to delegate to more than one councillor. As you have stated it is for the council to make the final decision on acceptance of the recommendations and if desired,  to enter it into council policies. I would truly avoid giving individual job "titles" as it sounds more like a company structure the more you do so. A company you are not you are an elected body.
answered by (11.1k points)
Thank you Mentorman. I take on board your comment about using the term 'officer' and will refrain from using it during my efforts to delegate to this Councillor.
0 votes
Yes in theory, but the Cllr can't be paid as an employee.  It would be better to describe the Cllr as H&S adviser.
answered by (24.4k points)
Thank you Graeme_r. Excellent suggestion. I can now stop racking my brains for an alternative to 'officer'. The gentleman in question knows he cannot receive any payment. Like myself, he is happy to use is skills to help the Council.
0 votes
Good luck.  As a qualified HSE professional the clerk fought tooth and nail not to use my expertise.  Fellow councillors were generally not supportive preferring an easy ride.  The council continues to pay for HSE advice rather than utilise that available freely from members of the public.
answered by (680 points)
Thank you Interested. Your council is wasting taxpayers money if they pay for advice that they can freely get from a correctly qualified Councillor. I am not surprised that it's your clerk that put up a fight against it. There are many wonderful clerks out there, and some of them are on this forum. But during my time as a Councillor  and from seeing other comments on here, it's very apparent that some clerks are very controlling. Or try to be. You can only do what I do and keep trying to improve things and get your Councillors to realise that they make the decisions not the clerk. Good luck to you as well.

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