You are viewing : Home » LOCAL COUNCILS UPDATE (view all editions) » 2020 editions » November 2020

Salaries of Local Council Clerks

THE powers for Councils to appoint officers occur in the Local Government Act 1972 which states in S112 ss.1 “ a local authority shall appoint such officers as they think necessary for the proper discharge by the authority of such of their or another authority’s functions as fall to be discharged by them…..” and in ss2, “An officer appointed under subsection (1) above shall hold office on such reasonable terms and conditions, including conditions as to remuneration, as the authority appointing him think fit.”

These provisions unleashed a “survival of the fittest” environment for Clerks’ pay at the time where at one extreme Councillors expected Clerks to work for next to nothing because “we are volunteers so you should be too”, while at the other an assertive Clerk with good negotiation skills could land themselves a hefty salary with perks which was better than any comparable position elsewhere. There were huge inconsistencies between Councils and before the turn of the century there was an initial attempt by NALC to provide some structure based on local government norms but it was widely disregarded and did not address the needs of larger councils at all.

Then in 2005 NALC and the SLCC agreed to sit down and create a comprehensive terms and conditions agreement for the sector which gave councils and clerks some certainty on fair salaries and provided a means of evaluating roles. As Chief Executive of the SLCC at the time I sat down with the CEO of NALC at an hotel in Scarborough during the NALC conference of that year and we thrashed out the details with support from Local Government HR professionals. The scheme that we established then is still more or less in operation today being only varied by annual up ratings of the pay scale and a recent spinal column point rationalisation. Whilst in the intervening years voices on both sides of the debate have argued for change in one direction or the other, the scheme has proven robust enough to sustain itself. As well as a pay scheme we also established a model contract of employment which also forms the basis of the one that is in use today. The scheme provided a clear guide for councils and was widely adopted, although it remains advisory and not mandatory.

Essentially the scheme was built upon the Local Government NJC “Green Book” but was specifically tailored for Town, Parish and Community Councils. The 49 point spinal column point salary scale was extended to 68 ( subsequently revised to 62) to accommodate larger Councils and a range of benchmark positions were identified. The process was designed so that all Clerk’s positions could be mapped through a robust evaluation process, to within one of four broad grades each with an upper, a substantive and a lower tier. Clerks and councils who use the scheme can be confident that, provided their role is evaluated properly, the salary that arises will be rational and fair, comparing appropriately with similar roles within the sector and the economy as a whole.

The scheme is uprated annually in line with the overall settlement for local government and new scales which were once jointly issued are now issued solely by NALC since the SLCC retreated from its representative role in 2016. The uprating for 2020-2021 which incorporates an increase of 2.75 % backdated to April of this year is published below.

Whilst the majority of Councils who use the scheme can now relatively easily determine an appropriate salary point, the more difficult thing to establish is the number of hours work that is involved in each Clerks’ job. If the rate of pay is right but the number of hours are wrong then either the Clerk or the Council will lose out and there will be a constant tension over priorities. Here again in 2013 the SLCC , NALC and One Voice Wales collaborated to identify the appropriate number of hours that a Clerk should be employed. In findings from a survey done at the time they concluded:

  • More than 92% of Clerks worked more than their contracted hours.
  • 84% of Clerks said their workload had increased in the previous five years.
  • On average, Clerks work between three and five additional hours a week although there were some extreme responses.
  • 54% of those working additional hours had raised the matter with their Council.

The study group produced recommendations for assessing part time hours which were accepted by all the sector bodies. They identified two factors which influenced the required hours of work in a Clerk’s role. The first are the basic elements which are relatively consistent and apply to all Clerks’ roles, being affected only by the size and level of activity of the Council. The sector bodies made a recommendation that the minimum hoursthat a Clerk should be employed should be calculated according to the formula shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Council profiles and clerks’ minimum hours

Profile of Council

Minimum Hours per month

One meeting every two months – minimal services


One meeting a month – minimal services


One meeting a month – limited services (such as allotments, village green) – no employees


Two or more meetings (council and committees) a month - limited services


Two or more meetings (council and committees) a month – several services (such as village hall, recreation ground)


 The second factor relates to the functions that Councils undertake. As we know Town, Parish and Community Councils have a wide range of permissive powers which they may choose to exercise and whether or not they exercise any particular function has a bearing on the workload. The study recommended that time consumed on additional functions over and above the basic outlined above should be assessed by keeping a timesheet over a period of weeks and then identifying the time spent on those functions. Hours set should take into account the average amount of time spent on those functions in addition to the basic hours.

Getting remuneration right is an important duty of Councils and is of course of significant concern to Clerks. Following the well-trodden path of national guidance in these areas can remove a potential area of contention within Councils and ensure that the focus remains where it ought to be, on serving the community. Pay rates for full-time clerks for
the current year are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Salary scales (full-time) from 1 April 2020


Points below substantive
range ©

Substantive benchmark
range (b)

Points above substantive
range (a)






5     £19,312
6     £19,698

7     £20,092
8     £20,493
9     £20,903
10     £21,322
11     £21,748
12     £22,183

13     £22,627
14     £23,080
15     £23,541
16     £24,012
17     £24,491






18     £24,982
19     £25,481
20     £25,991
21     £26,511
22     £27,401
23     £27,741

24     £28,672
25     £29,577
26     £30,451
27     £31,346
28     £32,234

29     £32,910
30     £33,782
31     £34,728
32     £35,745






33     £36,922
34     £37,890
35     £38,890
36     £39,880

37     £40,876
38     £41,881
39     £42,821
40     £43,857
41     £44,863

42     £45,849
43     £46,845
44     £48,017
45     £49,213






46     £50,451
47     £51,702
48     £52,843
49     £54,323

50     £55,684
51     £57,071
52     £58,975
53     £60,873
54     £62,779

55      £64,699
56     £66,594
57     £68,513
58     £70,394
59     £72,178
60     £74,000
61     £75,865
62     £77,783

SALARY SCALES (PART-TIME) from1 April 2020

Salary scales and hourly pay rates for ALL part-time clerks are calculated by pro-rata reference to the standard NJC working week for all local government staff of 37 hours. To calculate the hourly pay rate for part-time clerks paid between LC1 and LC4, divide the full-time annual salary by 52 weeks and then by 37 hours rounded to the third decimal place. For part-time clerks in LC1 and part LC2, for example, the hourly rates payable from 1 April 2020 are shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Pay scales (part-time) from 1 April 2020

Scale LC1 and LC2

SCP 5     £10.04
SCP 6     £10.24
SCP 7     £10.44
SCP 8     £10.65
SCP 9     £10.86
SCP 10     £11.08
SCP 11     £11.30
SCP 12     £11.53
SCP 13     £11.76
SCP 14     £12.00
SCP 15     £12.24
SCP 16     £12.48
SCP 17     £12.73
SCP 18     £12.98
SCP 19     £13.24
SCP 20     £13.51
SCP 21     £13.78
SCP 22     £14.02
SCP 23     £14.42

Salary rates (below LC scale) (only applicable to staff other than the clerk)

SCP 1      £9.27
SCP 2      £9.46
SCP 3      £9.65
SCP 4      £9.84
SCP 5      £10.04


Nick Randle OBE is Managing Director of Local Government Resource Centre Associates (LGRC) . Founded in 2013, LGRC is an Independent Professional Services Provider focussed on the Town, Parish and Community Council sector. LGRC works to bring best practice to every aspect of a Local Council’s activities – from community strategy and planning through to service delivery and council governance and administration. They provide consultancy services, training , locum and interim staff and potential outsourcing capabilities. LGRC staff and associates are a mixture of skilled local council practitioners and functional specialists. They have a wide range of experience and a significant record of successful client assignments.

Written by by Nick Randle OBE, Managing Director, LGRC
As appeared in Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2020

© CommuniCorp