The Clerk's primary responsibility is to advise the Council on whether its decisions are lawful and recommend ways in which decisions can be implemented. To help with this, the Clerk can be asked to research topics of concern to the council and provide unbiased information to help the council to make appropriate choices.
The Clerk has a wide range of other responsibilities which are set out in his/her job description. The Clerk must recognise that the council is responsible for all decisions and that he/she takes instructions from the council as a body. The Clerk is not answerable to any individual councillor - not even the Chairman.
The duties of the Responsible Finance Officer are to ensure that the Council’s financial records and activities comply with the ‘proper practices’ referred to in the Accounts and Audit regulations as set out in the NALC/SLCC document ‘Governance and Accountability for Local Councils.
In summary, the Clerk/RFO prepares financial reports for the Finance & Employment Committee/Council, these reports cover budget monitoring, fund balances, receipts and payments to date, and other relevant reports. The Clerk/RFO is responsible for the preparation of the draft budget, when approved by the Council this forms the basis for the annual budget for the financial year, submitting of the precept with the relevant breakdown to Rotherham Borough Council, investments, bank transfers, VAT returns and many more.
The Clerk/RFO also manages the financial risk, the insurance risk, and the assets of the Council.
Each year the Council has an interim and final internal audit and an external audit. The Clerk/RFO must ensure that the annual return documentation, supporting paperwork and financial reports are completed ready for these audits.