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What is the usual system on man-management in PC? Are councillors able to check timesheet?

0 votes
Our clerk is line manage for our workmen but jobs are not completed quickly but often left for months. During COVID, our playgrounds are closed and as we have the correct resources  to paint play equipment we have suggested they do this. There has been no response. How can we have effective management when the clerk is highly resistant to councillor checking? If we have to close the playground for repairs when we are unlocked I feel it will not be good. this issue is important because half of our precept is paid in staff salaries.
asked by (1.6k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
It sounds as though this is a wider issue than timesheets. If you are paying somebody to do a job and they are not doing it, you should take steps to rectify the situation. These issues are unlikely to resolve themselves. The first step should be to understand the situation. You have delegated line management function to the Clerk, so you must respect this and work with the Clerk to ascertain the reasons for the apparent underperformance. This should happen through your normal supervision structure for the Clerk (designated line manager, delegated committee or full council etc).

Does your Clerk have the necessary skills and/or training to enable them to perform the line management function effectively? Do you have appropriate policies and procedures for performance management and competency? Does the job description for each role reflect the tasks you are expecting the post holder to undertake on your behalf?

So many questions!
answered by (18.7k points)
Very perceptive Dave, you are correct. What is the normal supervision structure for a clerk please? The system is a mess and half our precept is spent on our employees, parishioners notice that work is not completed. I am appalled by our situation but don't know how to even start the process. When approaching this issue before i was accused of bullying. we have a new Chairman but caution is the name of the game and the Clerk does what they want  and the Personnel committee seems totally blind to the situation.
The Clerk should have a designated line manager and be subject to routine performance management procedures like any other employee. The NALC model contract of employment specifies an annual appraisal, but you may opt for a more frequent review. So the line manager should agree targets and other performance measures with the employee, based on the job description, and the employee should then be assessed against these targets. They may also identify training needs. In some circumstances, the employee's remuneration may be linked to satisfactory performance. This too is set out in the model contract.

Once the appraisal has taken place, the line manager should report this fact up the chain of command, i.e. to committee or Council as appropriate.

As you have a new Chairman, this might be the ideal opportunity to improve your situation. Sit down 2 metres away from your Chairman and explain your concerns in a manner that doesn't sound like direct criticism of the Clerk. "We need to help the Clerk to..." "He/she seems to be finding this difficult and we have a duty to be supportive..." Hopefully the Chairman and your fellow councillors will see that this is not a personal issue and that you are merely trying to do your job as a custodian of public funds to the best of your ability.

I've seen a number of situations where a Clerk's defensive attitude is really a smokescreen to hide the fact that he or she feels ill-equipped for a particular aspect of the role. If this is the case for you, a resolution may be quite straightforward.
+1 vote

Sadly we have this issue but having considerable HR experience we are able to manage it more effectively.

Firstly the PC is the line manager of the Clerk and have dotted line management of the other employees under the line management of the Clerk.

Secondly, if the work is not been carried out quickly enough or to the right standard then the book stops with the Clerk as the line manager. The staffing committee should (with best practice) hold regular one-2-ones with the Clerk including bi-annual or annual performance reviews. Within these reviews, anything should be raised such work not getting done by the Clerk's team and a reason given as to why they are not. The reasons, however, shouldn't simply be accepted time and time again. If the issues are still outstanding or there is a pattern there then the Clerk should be placed on something called a PIP (Personal Improvement Plan). A simple guide on what that is can be found here: PIP Explained

Note: A PIP is not a stage of disciplinary - this is a support tool to encourage the Clerk to do their required tasks to the required standards hence why the objectives should be SMART.

A PIP should be reviewed regularly to ensure the objectives are being met, this is nothing something which should be left for a bi-annual or annual review. If during a PIP review the work is still not being met then the PIP will lead you into a disciplinary stage, which won't necessarily need an investigation as a lot of the work is included in the PIP.

Sadly some Clerk's put themselves into an 'untouchable category' as they feel they are the font of all knowledge and Cllr's have none. For this reason, many issues are not dealt with appropriately because obstacles have been put in front of proper processes. For this reason also don't assume your local association is giving you the best advice, perhaps follow up with ACAS for free.

answered by (4.7k points)

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