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Letter: Why Not Pay Parish Councillors Too?

Published on: 31 Aug, 2021
Updated on: 31 Aug, 2021

From: Roshan Bailey

In response to:Why Should We Expect Our Councillors to Work For Free?

Adam Aaronson’s letter raises important issues, and the link back to Martin Giles’s comments, when the issue was discussed some years ago, is well worth checking.

But there is one major anomaly which should also be considered: parish councillors not only get no pay at all, but also have minimal staff support – usually just one clerk, often part-time only.

Talking to Normandy’s interim clerk in the aftermath of the recent complete disintegration of our former parish council, I understand that the problems Normandy encountered are actually frequently mirrored around the country.

Paying councillors would of course have to come from the precept we pay through council tax but it is worth thinking about whether it would enable councillors to increase the time they can give to the role and thereby increase efficiency in the running and scrutiny of parish affairs.

In the case of Normandy, I am very conscious that our new council members have an enormous workload in getting up to speed and dealing with inherited issues as well as a huge range of ongoing matters to scrutinise, issues to consider and decisions to implement.

There is, of course, a balance to be struck between councillor and staff input, so increasing the latter is an alternative to consider. There is no easy answer, but I for one would like to thank all our councillors past and present for the time, commitment and diligence they devote to the role on our behalf.

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test One Response to Letter: Why Not Pay Parish Councillors Too?

  1. Adam Aaronson Reply

    September 7, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    I agree with Roshan Bailey. Both councillors and parish councillors are expected to scrutinise a wide range of issues many of which take a considerable amount of time.

    The planning system is a case in point. Councillors and parish councillors have to scrutinise and analyse a huge amount of documentary material, all of which has often been comprehensively prepared by teams of consultants. Meanwhile the developer can call on paid for expertise in any number of fields of expertise. Councillors and parish councillors have no easy access to the equivalent level of independent consultation.

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