Local Government: Staff

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Humphreys Baroness Humphreys Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Wales)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the employment and qualification requirements for (1) town clerks, and (2) community clerks.

Photo of Baroness Humphreys Baroness Humphreys Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Wales)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance, if any, they provide to town councils on minimum accountancy qualifications for (1) town clerks, and (2) community clerks.

Photo of Baroness Humphreys Baroness Humphreys Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Wales)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the available training opportunities for (1) town clerks, and (2) community clerks; and the bodies which monitor the professional standards of these courses.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

All local government employment matters – including for town and parish councils - are devolved. Such issues rightly remain with local authority elected representatives in conjunction with staff representatives, taking into account what they can afford.

Government has made no assessments in relation to the employment, qualifications or training opportunities available for town clerks, nor provided any general guidance on such matters.

However, where the town or parish council wishes to exercise the general power of competence, the clerk must possess the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies to ensure that the council is provided with appropriate advice in taking on the enhanced role that the general power of competence enables.

Therefore, in 2012 the Department made regulations setting out the conditions that parish councils would need to fulfil to exercise this power. These included certain educational and training requirements for the clerk. The details are set out in The Parish Councils (General Power of Competence) (Prescribed Conditions) Order 2012 (SI number 965 and explanatory memorandum. Link below:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/965/pdfs/uksi_20120965_en.pdf.

With the support of the Department, the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), in association with the National Association of Local Councils, developed the general power training modules that clerks must complete to meet the conditions.

For Community council clerks in Wales, the position on all these matters would be for the Welsh government to answer.

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