The Role of the Clerk
The Clerk is employed for 30 hours a month and is paid at a nationally agreed scale. In addition there is an “office allowance” paid for use of facilities at the Clerk’s home. The Clerk has a formal contract with Chideock Parish Council.
As this is a small Council, the Clerk is also the Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) – i.e. is responsible for the Parish Council's finances.
The Clerk takes the minutes and is responsible for “summoning” councillors to meetings, preparing the Agenda with the Chair, ensuring that councillors have all necessary information to make decisions etc.
The Clerk is responsible for writing all letters, at the direction of the Council.
The Clerk has a duty to ensure, as far as possible, that all decisions made by the Council are lawful - the Council can only resolve to act if they have a statutory power to do so.
There is a power under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 to provide funds where no other powers can be found if, in the opinion of the Council, the funds being used are for the benefit of the local community, or a part of the community, and the financial input is commensurate with the benefits it will provide. This funding is a limited resource, being restricted to a set amount per elector. There is no power to spend more than the maximum amount in any one year, nor can amounts be carried over from one financial year to another. Section 137 should only be used when no other power can be found.