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Our Clerk is not providing a copy of her Contract and Job Description when requested by a Councillor in order to undertake his official duty with regard to a forthcoming PC meeting agenda item.

Are these documents covered by Statutory Intrument 2012 No 2089 Part 6 Regulation 21 for the Inspection and Supply of Documents, in that they are accessible by the public as well as any Councillor? The PC's Standing Orders cover the requirement for a Councillor to have access to documents, but they are being defied.

The Clerk's salary is public knowledge, so I don't understand what else could be considered confidential.
by (410 points)
edited by

1 Answer

+1 vote

Under common law principles councillors have the right to access information held by their authority where it is reasonably necessary to enable the member to properly perform their duties as a councillor.  That ought to be enough to establish that a councillor is entitled to see the clerk's contract and job description in circumstances where that information is relevant to a decision to be made by the council, or is otherwise relevant to council proceedings.

Whether these documents should be public looks to be a grey area.  It is quite likely that they could be excluded from public access, since terms of service of employees is a specific category that is exempted in some of the relevant legislation. Personally, I would be wish them to be public, not least because of the practicality that they are often made available for download by all and sundry as part of a job pack at the time of recruitment. But given some people's sensitivity, it would be prudent to try to obtain the clerk's agreement.

by (33.4k points)
I asked to see my Clerks job description as I felt she was working outside of her remit and as I am on our personnel committee and there was a job review taking place I thought it appropriate to ask. After much huffing and tuffing about it and trying to get me to check out the standard clerk job description on the NALC website, she finally gave in and e-mailed me a copy. As we are ultimately the employers of all council staff we should be allowed to see their job descriptions so we know what they do. I don't think this should be bandied about in public but I hope you got there in the end.

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