The Role Of The Parish Clerk

To ensure Hoveton Parish Council fulfils its legal obligations and follows proper procedures, the Council employs a Parish Clerk (as it is required to do so by law) to oversee the work of the Council and to administer Council meetings. But what does the Parish Clerk’s role actually entail? You might be surprised to learn that a Clerk does far more than simply attending meetings, taking minutes, and replying to emails!

Firstly, Hoveton’s Clerk also acts as the Council’s Responsible Financial Officer; dealing with all payments made to and by the Council, preparing the Council’s accounts and maintaining financial records, and ensuring the Council successfully meets its audit obligations. The Clerk ensures the Council meets its obligations as an employer, taking on HR-related tasks such as payroll, pensions administration and contracts of employment. All council policies and procedures are drafted by the Clerk before being presented to the Council for adoption, and on an ongoing basis the Clerk advises the Council on numerous and varied policy matters.

Our Clerk wrote and established the Parish Council’s website, and the Clerk now oversees this website, ensuring it always contains all the latest Council and community news and updates. Our Clerk acts as the main point of contact for all council correspondence, whether by email or phone, dealing with a wide range of queries from members of the public, local businesses, contractors and other local service providers. Someone once said that if a Parish Council was a wheel, and each member of the Council a spoke on that wheel, the Clerk would be the hub of the wheel, as it is the hub that connects all of the spokes and keeps the wheel as a whole turning, just as a Clerk ensures their Council can continue to ‘turn’.

The above is just a brief summary of the variety of tasks undertaken by our Parish Clerk and, as you can see, our Clerk has a demanding and extremely busy workload! It is worth mentioning that, though our Clerk is only employed on a part-time basis, the volume of work now expected of Parish Clerks is much larger than it used to be, and so it is often necessary for our Clerk to work additional hours in order to meet the demands of her role. Meanwhile, the fact that Hoveton Parish Council is still very shorthanded has also resulted in a heavier workload for our Clerk. However, our Clerk continues to respond to all queries received as soon as possible.