Part 4 of our Easy Guide to the Parish Council
Tucked away in a corner of St. Peter’s Rooms, the Parish Council Office is always busy and having worked there for nearly 5 years before retiring, I could write a book on what happens in there! If you come in to St Peter’s Rooms during normal office hours, you cannot fail to see the procession of people visiting the office which is home to the Clerk to the Council, the Deputy Clerk and the Administration Assistant – all employees of the Parish Council.
So – exactly what do they do in there?
One of the primary roles of this office is to undertake the work of the Parish Council and its committees. There’s a mountain of preparation, agendas, communications, notes, investigations, reports and subsequent minutes to each meeting. Then the office must action any decisions that were made at meetings and ensure that results / outcomes are prepared for future meetings. The Office is also responsible for the preparation and handling of all budgets, accounts, invoicing, wages, etc. in accordance with the council’s instructions. There are four cleaners, two full-time groundsmen and a seasonal groundsman who are also managed from the office – and a regular stream of councillors wanting information and updates.
Of course, that’s not all. The office is open to members of the public five mornings a week and during that time, staff are mostly dealing with more personal enquiries. This work is extremely varied and can range from taking bookings and payments for the hire of premises, to enquiries about trees, footpaths, burial plots, allotments and so much more. Residents can view current planning applications, read consultation reports, contribute articles for the Newsletter and website, get their photocopying done or report issues that they consider important – perhaps important enough to be referred to a council or committee meeting. The Clerk and his staff will endeavour to provide information and assistance.
It is often difficult to decipher what is the responsibility of the Parish Council and what isn’t and many of the issues that get people hot under the collar are not necessarily under the control of the council. Traffic (Notts County Council -Highways), dog poo (Rushcliffe), street lighting (Highways), gulleys (Highways), waste collection (Rushcliffe) – the list is a long one. Staff will always try to help and/or guide you to the appropriate authority if you have a complaint or concern about any issue that is not under the Parish Council’s jurisdiction.
Remember, the office is open from 9.30am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday – or you can email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Linda Cooke
Next month – Part 5 – The Parish Council Groundstaff