Can any Councillor see the Clerk's Job Description?

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asked by (1.2k points)

1 Answer

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Local councils often seem to tend towards excessive secrecy. Personally, I would expect the clerk's job description to be a public document. After all, it is normally made available to anyone who expresses an interest when there is a vacancy. It's also something that electors seem to be entitled to know about. I'm not sure what harm could be done by making it public.

Whether a councillor has a right to see the job description depends on whether it is something they need in order to carry out their duties. There does seem to be a broad range of circumstances in which this would be the case.
answered by (27.1k points)
Thank you very much Counterpoint. Please would you be able to expand on the range of circumstances where i might see the job description.
My PC are reluctant to be open, and it seems that every request for information is a threat, but i am just a curious type.
I think you have two viable lines of attack. Possibly the simplest is a Freedom of Information request. You can read guidance from the Information Commissioner at https://ico.org.uk/media/1187/section_40_requests_for_personal_data_about_employees.pdf. The conclusion there is: "However, even though a job description may constitute personal data in these circumstances, it is likely that it would be fair to release it in response to a FOIA request".

If a council document is available through a FoI request, then certainly it should be a fortiori available to councillors without demur.

The other line of attack is that access is required to do the job of councillor. This is a common law principle. If the council has a staffing committee, then members of that committee should certainly be granted access to all relevant employment documents. If there is no staffing committee (or equivalent) then all councillors should be granted access, since the council must collectively fulfill the role of employer. The argument for a non-member of the staffing committee is weaker, but if it can be shown that there are issues where all councillors should understand the employment arrangements, then this argument can still be made.

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