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0 votes
Our Clerk (and RFO), for some time have complained about the amount of work they have to get through each month.
Bearing in mind that we are an understaffed small council (we are allowed up to 9 councillors, we currently only have six), and that between the Clerk and the RFO (they are partners) are on 42 hours per month, the general consensus is that they are not being set  too much work

The latest approach that Clerk and RFO have made to the councillors is that they “work for the council, not the individual councillors“, and as such, will not enter into email correspondence or other comms during the month with individual councillors, other than for the suggesting of items for the next agenda,
We have essentially been told by the Clerk and the RFO that if there are matters that we wish to discuss or have investigated or even air, then these must all be brought to the parish council meeting and discussed on the ‘Councillors Reports’ reports part of that meeting.
Does this sound correct to you ? It strikes me as being obstructionist, and incredibly limiting on a councillors ability to react to situations as they develop through the month.

Plus, if they are really worried about their work load, it seems muddleheaded at the very least to me to instead of have possibly a steady flow of work, to just have an avalanche of it on one Wednesday evening, every month.

The cynic in me can’t help thinking that this is just a ploy to lever ever more paid hours out of our council coffers…

Thank yiu in advance for your input
by (270 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
The clerk works for the council. They were employed by the council not at individual councillor.

What work is it you want them to do? Of course, as an individual councillor, you don't really have any more power to conduct council business than old Betty down the street. I can see from the clerks point of view that if they constantly have councillors asking them to do this 'little job' then their time will get eaten into very quickly (and that is before they start getting communications from the public or the main council).

You say that you think it may be a plot to get more hours out of the council. Yet you also say that you are an understaffed council. Which is it? (Councillors are not staff).

If you really are a small council it does seem unusual to have a separate clerk and RFO, and with them being a couple maybe it is possible they are gaming the system to their own advantage. But that would be a matter for the council as a whole to deal with if that is what they feel is happening and needs dealing with.
by (5.0k points)
+1 vote
Clerks don’t “work” for Cllrs but Cllrs - just like the public - are perfectly entitled (in many circumstances duty bound) to ASK the clerk questions to seek clarification and to request actions.
Whilst a clerk doesn’t “work” for a Cllr, they ARE professionally bound to provide information, advice and opinion when asked.
The circumstances as described sound like the clerk + partner are pulling the PC’s pants down
by (22.2k points)
0 votes
My contracts with my two smaller councils as Clerk & RFO are for 6 hours per week each and for my larger council 10 hours per week. It's perfectly adequate to do the job and helps to focus the mind. I see it as part of my role to advise and educate my councillors and I encourage them to contact me by whatever means they prefer. Having said this, none of my parishes has an office, so I don't have to deal with visitors overstaying their welcome!
by (54.1k points)
0 votes
Entirely agree the clerk works for the council and not for councillors but I can't help thinking that for a council of nine members, 42 hours a month is possibly not very much.  Of course, it depends upon what your council covers so if there are village halls, burial grounds, play areas, allotments, events, committees and the like, I'm not surprised they feel overwhelmed but just a monthly meeting to contend with, maybe that's sufficient.

However, the clerk should very definitely be communicating with councillors in between meetings so I would want to know why they are taking that stand.
Finally, I do have experience of spending some time researching projects only to find they're not supported by members so also understand why potential projects should be brought to the council first before any resources (time in particular) are spent on something that's never going to get off the ground.
by (20.2k points)

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