What is a Council Clerk?

The clerk is the council’s chief officer, working for a local council serving a local community. The health and wellbeing of the local community is at the heart of everything a clerk does and the clerk is a vital asset to the council.

The clerk:

  • Advises the council on legal matters
  • Administers the council’s finances
  • Organises the council’s procedures
  • Gathers information to help the council make decisions
  • Raises the profile of the council in the local community
  • Guides the council as it engages with its residents
  • Negotiates with other organisations
  • Implements the council’s decisions
  • Manages the council’s projects

It is a professional role requiring specialist knowledge and a range of skills. The clerk is employed by the council to manage its activities and provide administrative assistance and sound advice.

The clerk is normally the ‘proper officer’ – a legal term meaning the appropriate officer for a specific function. The council must appoint the officers it needs to do its work. The council must also appoint a Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) to manage its finances. The clerk and RFO are often the same person – but not always. Even if the clerk is not the RFO, the clerk will still need to understand the council’s finances.


Practitioners' Conference 2022