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0 votes
Hi everybody.

I wonder if you can help me with a situation.

Our Clerk has informed us that if we as a council elect not to follow her advice on issues, then this reflects personally on her.

She has threatened to resign at a previous meeting, and I’m thoughtful that this may happen again.

I was under the impression that, generally speaking, a Clerk researches any given issues etc the council might be interested in, and brings that information back to a meeting for the council to consider. The Clerk may make suggestions and recommendations, but provided no laws are being broken, the council can democratically through a vote, elect not to follow the Clerk’s advice.

Am I right in thinking this?

May I also ask whether there is some form of points system, or something that I am not aware of whereby a Clerk can get “marked down“ every time his or her council elects not to follow their advice? I am struggling to see or comprehend how a council not following the advice of a Clerk can affect the Clerk in any negative sense…

Any observations and/or assistance would be greatly appreciated.
by (270 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
The Clerk advises and the Council decides. Suggest that your Clerk attends a meeting of your local planning committee to see how many times the committee votes not to follow the officer's recommendation. The councillors are elected to bring their own knowledge, experience and judgement to the table. It's what we call democracy.
by (54.1k points)
Very good point, I was always impressed by the mutual respect between the Officers and Councillors on my Borough Council in contrast with the hectoring at Parish level
My advice to Catweezel is to keep records of all interactions and discussions as the next stop could be a claim for constructive dismissal
Hello, and thank you very much for your response. It’s very much in line with what I and the Chair was thinking, and ironically we are also extremely mindful of constructive dismissal.

We are having a bit of a time of it with both our Clerk and RFO at the moment,.
We are going to approach our ALC and determine whether we can speak to someone there. This really has the potential to become something quite nasty indeed, which is desperately sad and desperately unnecessary.
+1 vote
Clerk offers her advice. The council decides what course of action to take, even if that is breaking the law, although hopefully if the clerk offers advice that a course of action would be breaking the law then council will take note of that advice, but ultimately they can take whatever action they like lawful or otherwise.

I think your clerk is just taking it a little too personally. Humans are humans and they don't always like being ignored. She needs to put her big girl pants on to some degree.

There is no central scoring system for clerks as far as i am aware. Most don't even have any clerking related qualifications.
by (5.0k points)
Hello, and thank you for your answer. I think the three answers are all basically in the same ballpark, and I suspected they might be. We are possibly in a tricky position, as a council, and I am going to post a new question presently. I’m very grateful for your observations and time.
0 votes
Agree DtC and AR comments.
I’d be interested to hear how / why you think your clerk might have adopted such an approach - which is quite ridiculous.
Have they recently attended a ‘training’ event / conference or are they quoting any specific guidance or reference?

This sounds like the sort of nonsense that happens after attendance at some sort of clerk ‘training’ event.
Which area / ALC are you covered by?
by (22.2k points)
Hello, and thank you for your input.

There hasn’t been a recent training or “training“ opportunity, but I do know that both Clerk and the RFO use a ‘Clerk’s Forum’  and I suspect the attitude is at least new wants to buy this. As I mentioned above, as a council, we are possibly in a bit of a tricky situation at the moment and I am going to post a new question as I think we need all the help we can get. We are going to approach our local ALC as well though

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