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Councillor becoming a Clerk

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Can someone who was a Councillor resign and immediately become a Clerk at the same Council, if they do the role unpaid for the first 12 months? There seems to be conflicting advice.
by (200 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Yes, they can. A councillor can act as clerk while still a councillor. But as you imply, they cannot be paid while a councillor or for twelve months afterwards.
by (30.8k points)
Many thanks for this. Is there an official source that I can refer to, to confirm the validity? The Local Govt Act is not very easy to interpret.
I recently spoke to a clerk who had been misadvised by her county association and hadn't resigned as a councillor before taking on the role of clerk.  She had understood and accepted that she couldn't be paid in the role of clerk for 12 months but had not been told or understood that she had to resign as a councillor.
Just for the record, a councillor can be clerk to one council (paid) and a councillor to another without any issues
In the instance in question, the councillor resigned at the end of a month, and started in the role as clerk at the same parish council the next month, on the understanding that they would be unpaid for the first 12 months but would, after the year had passed, be able to receive a salary going forward from that point. Is this okay?
The claim that a councillor must resign before becoming clerk is incorrect. What is correct is that the 12 month period applies in addition to any period where a councillor acts as clerk while remaining a council member. An authoritative source for this states "They [councillors] must appoint such officers as they believe necessary for the proper discharge of their functions – this may be an unpaid councillor, but in most cases will be a parish clerk and/or treasurer." See https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/11.136%20A%20Councillor%27s%20Workbook%20on%20town%20and%20parish%20councils.pdf
There must be a 12 month period starting from the point of resignation as a councillor when the individual cannot be paid as clerk.  It is true that if the individual so wishes, he/she can remain as a councillor but not be paid but for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would do the job for free!
There are two situations where it is not unusual for a councillor to act as unpaid clerk. In very small parish councils, it is difficult to justify a paid clerk, and can also be difficult to find a good clerk who is willing to take on a small parish for a correspondingly small fee. Where there are not many meetings and not too many actions, a councillor may be willing to do the necessary work. The other situation is the gap following the departure of a clerk. I have twice acted as clerk for a spell while a new clerk was recruited - unpaid as an active councillor. I was willing to do that in order to keep the council operational and to handle high priority items - others were left in abeyance for the new clerk.
so to clarify: someone who was a councillor but resigns from a parish council, can immediately take on the clerk role at the same council IF they are willing to work unpaid for the first 12 months. Is this correct?
It is better expressed in two parts. A council can appoint anyone to be clerk at any time. A Councillor cannot be paid by the council while a Councillor and for 12 months afterwards. It follows that if a Councillor chooses to work for the council while a Councillor or during the following 12 months, they must be prepared to do so without pay.

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