Questions about town and parish councils
Follow Councillor Q&A on X/Twitter

Follow us on X/Twitter

0 votes

I have seen many times the following sentence “ It is illegal for a clerk to take the chair at a meeting.” which I understand.  I also understand that a Councillor CAN act as a temporary clerk.  

However, our local parish council appears to have the Chair acting as a (presumably temporary) clerk.  Is that allowed?  

Is the problem that the 2 roles should not be combined, or only that as a “normal” clerk is not elected and so not entitled to be chair.  

Thank you.  

by (140 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Whilst there is an obligation to record the minutes of a Town/Parish Council meeting, it does not necessarily have to be the Clerk who does that.  If the Council does not have a clerk due to sick leave or a yet to be filled vacancy, normally a deputy clerk would do it, but I suspect that anybody who is an elected member or employee of the council can do it.  That said what the chair is doing must amount to bad practice even though it is technically permitted.  Presiding over a meeting is a singular responsibility and the Chair must be taking some time out of the meeting recording notes in between talking.
by (35.4k points)
I wholeheartedly agree with Graeme-r as the chair has one specific job at meetings and should not do anything else. It is of course also good practice for the PC to have defined in their standing orders specifically define what the procedure is that "kicks in" automatically when and if the clerk is indisposed, resigns etc etc. This can then be  implemented without the need to call an EO meeting of the council.
I also agree with Graeme_r  We have on a few occasions not had our clerk present due to illness or holiday. Someone on the Council will be take the minute upon agreement from the members present, and this is perfectly acceptable. But I agree that it should not be the Chair. I am the Chair of the Council and on a couple of committees, I could not possibly do both roles properly.

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Clares Cushions logo Peacock cushion

Clare's Cushions creates beautiful hand made cushions and home accessories from gorgeous comtemporary fabrics. We have a fantastic selection of prints including Sophie Allport and Orla Kiely designs and most covers can be ordered either alone or with a cushion inner. Buying new cushions is an affordable and effective way to update your home interior, they're also a great gift idea. Visit our site now

2,981 questions
5,839 answers
10,135 users
Google Analytics Alternative