Become a Town or Parish Clerk

Town and parish clerks are at the heart of local government in their community.

  • Their role is to serve the council, elected councillors and the community
  • All town and parish councils must have an individual who fulfils the role of “Proper Officer” to give the clerk their legal title
  • Broadly anyone can be a town or parish clerk providing they have the necessary skills
  • The clerk is not an elected member but an employee of the Council
  • They must act in accordance with the wishes of the council not their own
  • The clerk cannot be self employed
  • There is no requirement for them to live in the parish

 

Article Contents - Click on a link below

What is a Local, Town or Parish Clerk

Who can be a Town or Parish Clerk and what skills are needed?

What is the role of a Town or Parish Clerk?

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What Qualifications are needed to be a good Town or Parish Clerk?

How much is a Town or Parish Clerk paid?

Can a Councillor be paid to be the Clerk?

Pensions and Town and Parish Clerks

 

What is a Local, Town or Parish Clerk

  • The parish clerk is both a statutory office holder i.e. the position is defined in the legislation and the proper officer
  • The town or parish clerk is not an elected member of a council
  • The parish clerk is an employee of the council and is not responsible for making decisions
  • Decisions and policies are made by the council or a properly constituted committee of the council
  • A Town or Parish clerk should always have a contract of employment together with a job description
  • Limited decision making powers may be delegated to council officers to cover specific situations such as emergencies
  • The clerk is responsible to the council and is tasked with ensuring that the council's policies and decisions happen

 

Who can be a Town or Parish Clerk and what skills are needed?

The key role of the clerk as proper officer is to advise and provide competent legal advice to the council at all times but especially during meetings. This is to ensure that the council only reaches decisions which it has the powers to make.

 

As a minimum a parish clerk should have...

  • A legal background or relevant experience
  • Knowledge of the legislation and case law relating to town and parish councils
  • An understanding of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
  • Experience of employment legislation together with health and safety law

 

The clerk is often the Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) for the council.

As a minimum a parish clerk should have...

  • Good basic book keeping skills
  • Knowledge of producing year end accounts
  • Recording VAT and submitting returns

If you do not have these skills then training should be provided.

It is important to remember that the parish clerk is an employee and failure to provide training could result in necessary stress for the employee and council.

 

What is the role of a Town or Parish Clerk?

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