The Parish Council employs one member of staff, the Parish Clerk, who is also the Responsible Financial Officer for the Council.
Louise Chater has been the Clerk for Earnley Parish Council since January 2009. Following the completion of the Certificate in Local Council Administration; Louise became a qualified Clerk on 23rd January 2008.
Louise lives in the nearby village of East Wittering with her husband and two children. Her interests include skiing and surfing.
What does the Clerk do? According to some, the Clerk “takes the minutes and opens the post”. However, these days, a parish clerk does rather more than that. In the 21st century, the Clerk to Earnley Parish Council (its sole employee) is:
- the minute taker and Council letter writer (still)
- the Proper Officer: an advisor to the Council on how to conduct its business within the vast range of applicable legislation
- the Responsible Finance Officer, making sure all audit requirements are fulfilled, tenders, estimates and quotations are properly solicited, budgets are set and monitored, payments are only made under legal Council powers, and the Council is given the advice it needs to set the precept.
- the Council office manager: opening post, answering emails and telephone calls, responding to Freedom of Information requests, and keeping Councillors and parishioners apprised of what is going on via noticeboards and the web site.
- the meeting administrator, making sure that Councillors, press and public have the information they need to conduct the meetings efficiently and according to the Code of Conduct.
- the book-keeper, keeping all financial records and ensuring payments are made on schedule.
- the planning administrator, making sure that Councillors and parishioners get the information they need to respond to applications.
- the payroll administrator, making sure that salary is paid and PAYE and NI properly deducted.
- the web master, responsible for what you see here.
… and the gopher, doing lots of other little things necessary to keep the Council’s business running smoothly.