Town Council Staff
The Town Council has three members of staff who work in the office, one full time Town Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer and two part time staff, a Finance Assistant and a Reception/Office Administrator. This is a tight knit team who deliver lots of projects/initiatives and support events in the community.
My name is Gill and I have now been the Town Clerk at Westgate on Sea Town Council for three years. I have over 25 years’ experience in the public sector and gained my Certificate in Local Council Administration in 2019. I am a Principal Member of the Society of Local Council Clerks. As the Town Clerk/RFO you are the main point of contact for Councillors, residents, other local authorities and community groups/organisations. The role is varied and presents numerous challenges on a daily basis.
My name is Chloe and I have worked for the Town Council for 18 months. My role is to provide financial administrative support to the Town Clerk. I process the invoices, maintain records for staff/HR matters and provide cover for Reception. A large part of my roles is helping to the manage the Lymington Road Allotments, organising and minuting the Allotment Working Group meetings, taking part in the bi-annual allotment plot inspections, processing the Allotment renewals each year and dealing with any issues that may arise.
My name is Lindsey and I am the newest member of the Town Council office team. I am front of house so if you pop in to the Town Council offices, I'll normally be the person who greets you! I look after all sorts of enquiries from Westgate residents and, if I can't solve a problem myself, I can usually offer advice about who is best placed to assist.
Role of the Town Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer
The Town Clerk’s role is to carry out the decisions of the Town Council and to ensure the business of the council is conducted in accordance with the laws and legislation (often referred to as proper officer – the council must appoint a person under the Local Government Act 1972) that govern Local Councils. The clerk has support responsibilities which include:-
- To be responsible to ensure that statutory and other provisions governing and affecting the function of the Town Council are observed
- To ensure that management of governance risks are undertaken and met; for example, health and safety, financial and operational
- To draft agendas and produce minutes of meetings for approval by councillors
- The management of other staff, this includes supervising workloads, annual appraisals, organising training, administering annual leave & overtime, salaries and absence
- Implementing the recruitment process for newly agreed roles or replacement for vacant positions
- Updating the council website
- The main point of contact for the council with the public, other local authorities eg District Council and local groups eg Resident’s Association
- Dealing with requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 2018
- Actions from committees for the council are undertaken
- Ensures that statutory core documents are reviewed at least annually for example Standing Orders and Terms of Reference for Committees
- Prepare draft policies and ensures that all policies are reviewed on a regular basis
- To ensure that day to day enquiries about the council from the residents are dealt with either face-to-face, by email or on the telephone
- To facilitate community engagement and encourage collaborative working in the community groups
- To prepare draft press releases, negotiate cost savings on behalf of Council, seek funding opportunities and facilitate Town Council events
- To coordinate projects and initiatives to the full resolution and liaise with local community groups to nurture relationships whilst promoting the Town Council and our services
- To manage the Town Council facilities and assets and maintain proactive communication channels with the community
- To attend external meetings to represent the Town Council when required
- To research, provide information in the form of reports and advice for any council decisions
The responsible financial officer’s role is to conduct and be responsible for the administration of the council finances (the council must appoint a person for this role under the Local Government Act 1972, s151). The responsible financial officer has certain responsibilities which include:-
- Payments for services and goods procured by the council
- Payment of salaries for staff employed by the council
- Payment of all salary associated payments for example tax, national insurance and pensions
- Internal control of the accounts and risk assessments
- Preparation of the council’s budgets
- Liaises with the council internal and external auditors
- Ensures there is transparency for financial decisions and expenditure
- Review the Financial Regulations at least annually to ensure all relevant legislation is adhered to
- Maintain separate accounts for any s137 expenditure (only used when there is no specific power available)
The clerk has certain statutory duties which include:-
- To sign and serve on councillors a summons with an agenda to attend council and committee meetings (Local Government Act 1972, s12)
- To receive and retain documents or notices (Local Government Act 1972, s225)
The council has accounting and audit regulations that govern their procedures and result in statutory duties for the responsible financial officer which are:-
- Preparing the annual accounts for audit in accordance with proper practices (Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011, regulation 12)
- Signing the annual accounts of the council (the Annual Governance and Accountability Return) (Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011 and Practitioners Guide)
Cleansing Operations Team and Maintenance/Groundsperson – Westgate on Sea Town Council
The Town Council has one part-time permanent Cleansing Operative (Neil) who will soon be joined by Brandon who will be working for six months initially; they will both provide a top up service for street sweeping, litter picking, leaf clearance, gritting and ice clearing when required. They will be working five days a week and normally support the events taking place in the Town by stewarding and waste collections. The Town Council has installed additional bins, and these are emptied three times a week at peak times. We have worked in collaboration with Thanet District Council and Kent County Council to improve the environment.
Where possible the works undertaken are recorded by taking photographs before and after, it is so appreciated when the Community give feedback, whatever the comments, all are welcome. We hope that we can continue to build on the benefits in 2021 for the whole Town, whether you live, work or visit here. In addition we now have a part-time Maintenance/Groundsperson (Vic) who is mostly based at the War Memorial Recreation Ground, he works most weekends for the football matches that take place on our newly opened football pitch.
If you have any questions in relation to the Operations Team and the service please contact the office on 01843 836182 or email [email protected]