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Can a clerk serve more than one council

0 votes
by (120 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Yes, certainly. This is common with small parish councils.
by (31.5k points)
0 votes
Yes.  I personally did 3 for eight years. The thing to remember is that each council is a separate entity with each position requiring a separate contract of employment.
by (5.2k points)
0 votes

It is possible if the circumstances allow. 

For example, any contract of employment may reasonably require the notification and or consent for other employment. 

So whilst it is not ‘impossible’ there are potential pit falls which can be exploited by unscrupulous employees. 


- how would any 1 PC ensure IT equipment provided for home working was being used solely and exclusively for their employment duties rather than being used across a range of other councils? Answer - they can’t. 

- how would any 1 PC ensure they were getting VfM when an employee is being pulled in several different directions? Answer - they can’t. 

- how would any 1 PC ensure the budget their tax payers have provided for training and development was not being used to the advantage of those tax payers of other areas that have not contributed to it? Answer - they can’t. 

- which employer pays sick pay?

And the cherry on top - this actually happened - just before he resigned threatening Ind tribunal but backed down when counter threatened with a fraud investigation, the clerk submitting work hours across 3 known T&PCs for payment which, when combined, totalled more than the hours available to work in a week. 

Yes a clerk ‘can’ be employed by more than 1 PC but there are significant potential pitfalls to be considered too  

by (8.2k points)
By the same token.  There can be advantages.  When I worked for 3 councils I used the information skills learned at one council to benefit the other two.  Swings and roundabouts providing you get the right person.
So which one paid for the CPD which benefitted the other(s) and was it a known / consensual cost liability?  Did the PC that funded the CPD know they were paying for the benefit of others?  Which PC paid for SLCC subscription or did it get paid 3 times?

It is a situation which can be, at worst, exploited, at best, requires very careful management - the type of careful management which is usually conspicuously absent in many PCs.
As John has said, the key is getting the right person but it is important that all councils provide their staff with appropriate equipment to do the job and any clerk working for more than 1 council knows too well the pitfalls of "sharing" so are unlikely to do so willingly.  I am strongly in favour of ensuring all clerks (whether working solely for one council or for many) should keep a timesheet if nothing else to ensure that they are adequately paid for the hours worked for that council, irrespective of any potential for overlap.  Personally, when I was a clerk (for more than one council), I always asked that the cost of any training was split between the councils unless there was a good reason not to, e.g. the training was on a subject area very specific to one council.  It can work quite successfully.
Think about it. Lots of benefits. The SLCC fee is paid between the three councils as it’s the clerk that’s registered. So cheaper for all three, to answer your other questions, they have a separate laptop and printer for each one so they all have their own IT equipment. Training costs are split between the three, again a saving to each and a benefit to each. Hours, ok you are reliant of the Clerk being honest, but I clerk for three part time across the week. They all know about each other, and often ask what does xx council do in this situation  to leave from what happens in each. Sick pay is paid by whichever employer you are working for on the day you are sick. You agree what days/hours you work for each. Certainly works well for lots of us
I don’t have to ‘think’ about it…..


I’ve seen first hand how it can be, and was, blatantly abused by a clerk claiming more hours across numerous T&PCs than there are available to work in a week.
And I’ve seen him arrange the forensic wipe of PC IT equipment just before doing a moonlight flit after being informed of the potential for a fraud investigation so think about it I don’t need.
This is where clerks are able to set up a nice little earner by monopolising a selection of adjacent or nearby councils and whilst there might be some theoretical advantages, there are also tangible risks, not least of which the propagation of bad practice across a broader area.
It is theoretically possible for a clerk to work for several PCs but fundamentally, I would suggest, this only reenforces the case that clerks ‘should’ be self employed rather than PAYE.
so you had a bad experience, don’t you dare tar us all with the same brush. Lots of us work for a number of councils, otherwise you are highly unlikely to get anyone wanting to work for one at 4 hours a week. There are absolute benefits to clerks and councils to work for more than one. Most Clerks are highly professional, and work well for councils, however many they work for
Here here!  Well said!
I see my previous comment has been removed but “Won’s” remains.
What I have, in conjunction with invaluable first person experience, is an ever increasing county wide awareness of poor practice (validated by independent external agency) benchmarked against frequency of recurrence of adverse comments posted at this, and similar platforms, which provide a broad spectrum opinion of widely held concern and dissatisfaction in a particular area of service provision.
Look up the meaning of OBJECTIVE and you may find it pretty well encompasses the elements above.
What you seem to have expressed is a stovepiped, singular, first person opinion on a matter where you are personally invested.
Look up the meaning of SUBJECTIVE and you may find it rather takes the credibility off your previous input - despite a John’s obvious approval.
The point, which you appear to have (a) missed and (b) taken offence to is that whilst a clerk ‘may’ work for more than 1 council, if the circumstances permit, there are potential pitfalls for a council where this is exploited.
So we hold different opinions - it doesn’t make yours more relevant than mine it means we hold different opinions and you have been interpreted as getting a hairy shirt on with the “don’t you dare” statement.
Well here’s the thing - I DO dare to speak out and to validate what I say with tangible evidence. When you do the same you might gain a bit more respect and relevance.
We all have our different experiences of clerks.  I first fell out with our Locum when she refused me access to LTNs.  When I complained she shouted harassment and disrespect and advised me in writing that if I continued to show dissent she would leave and make sure her agency blacklisted our PC.  Our chairman is so scared she will leave that she wouldn't dare challenge her.  After a few more incidents I was advised to write to the staffing committee who didnt even bother to reply.  Local association refused to deal with me citing the PC was the member and they would only entertain items sent via the clerk.  Got the same response from the SLCC.  Similarly, NALC acknowledged my enquiry but never responded.  I appreciate that there are many good clerks out there, but my experiences have clouded my opinion of NALC and the SLCC .  I think they are more about promoting the position of the clerk than helping Councillors and the PC .  All this does is put people off becoming Councillors.
Hear hear [sic] Well said!

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