Many, many thanks for the replies to date.
Re: absence of a deputy clerk, that will definitely be resolved, so that in a year's time, we should be back to having a full-time clerk and employing a deputy, but that's not going to be the case until then. And no, we can't afford a locum for the other two days.
I'm sure that the legal stuff re RFO will be fully covered by the clerk during the reduced hours and anything else that comes up will go though the council for approval first. The whole issue arises from a fluke of timing.
Meanwhile the issue I'm actually raising is how much willing Cllrs can legally offer their services to enable the work of the council to continue without cutting back on our prioroties, which are on going and not controversial. As I have noted, the Clerk is essentially insisting that only he can enact, well, anything at all. That's the essence of my issue here. To be perfectly blunt about it, the Clerk is a control freak, the likes of which I've never encounterd before.
I'm taking on board the notion that Cllrs can take on some role, though unpaid. (I know that Cllrs on small parish councils often take on specific roles, and works well.) That won't happen for us formally, but it seems to point to the fact that Cllrs can act without the Clerk having to be in utter and total control. It's exasperating, not least because if the Clerk gets his way, we'll be sidelined as cllrs, with the bureaucracy taking centre stage over actual activity.