What we have in the 'locum' scenario which is endorsed by ALC / NALC, SLCC etc, is a self fulfilling contradiction of the HMRC policy position which is formed from misinformation / misdirection provided to HMRC from the likes of NALC / SLCC.
The premise of the case for HMRC to declare that a clerk MUST be PAYE is that there are (not might be / could be) but ARE office holders ie RFO / PO.
The reverse engineer of that premise should obviously be that the role should be split into the 3 separate functions of:
(1) clerk - basic admin, minutes / agenda, public phone calls, bookings etc, etc
(2) proper officer - akin to the company secretary with lawful duties
(3) responsible financial officer - akin to company accountant again with lawful duties
Note - it is not essential that (1) (2) & (3) all be 1 person or that (2) & (3) cannot be an unpaid Cllr or a volunteer but it is the 'office holder' function of (2) & (3) which HMRC relies upon to validate their position that they must be PAYE.
It is my suggestion that the role should actually be split anyway (and is split where the size of the council allows for more than 1 staff member) since it is unrealistic to expect the 3 roles to be delivered within 1 pay point bracket. You have basic admin at what should be the £10-12 per hour bracket and the RFO / PO functions which should probably be in the £40-50 per hour bracket.
I would suggest that many of the problems highlighted at this forum could be traced back to the basic principle that personalities rather than qualification / experience (lack of) are at the root of many of the issues raised.
Of course the likes of NALC / ALC & SLCC are representing the best interest of the clerks and wouldn't wish to acknowledge / accept or facilitate a perception of denudation of the role but - the more I see the more I am convinced - the term "clerk" should be broken down into the 3 separate distinct functions.
You absolutely CAN have an unpaid / volunteer RFO / PO, and you absolutely CAN have a locum 'clerk' on a temp contract as SE so the premise that it is the 'office holder' scenario that ties 'clerk' employment to PAYE is self evidently flawed...
Can of worms...