Milton parish council

… or the travails of a new clerk

I wasn’t sure what to expect taking over as Parish Clerk.  Whilst I was confident my background would equip me with a general understanding, I realised I had been blissfully ignorant of the work my local Parish Council did.   I walked around the village daily, using the facilities without any thought for what or who oversaw it.  Things just ‘happened’.

October 2020 and my first introduction to PC meetings and I felt very much like the new kid on the block.  The terms and language used went over my head…AGAR, precepts, quorum, S106, S137…  and after scribbling 27 pages of minutes, I realised I had a lot to learn.  What amazed me was the knowledge and passion that these six councillors had for our village and its future.   In true government style, meetings had to be run strictly, adhering to what I now know to be the ‘Standing Orders’.  I am to be seen and not heard (which I’m sure some would appreciate) and everything has to be recorded, without prejudice and researched.

Being given responsibility of Parish banking was quite scary…  a responsibility I had slightly overlooked!  Thankfully times have changed and we no longer record the banking by hand, but navigating expenditure and finding those missing few pennies so the books balance is both infuriating and satisfying at the same time.

I have only been doing the role a few months but already I have learnt so much about what is going on in our village.  From the village green and play equipment, to litter picking and grass cutting, tree planting and eco area creating, planning consulting, sewage complaints, charity donations, church wall rebuilding, defibrillator maintenance, village bench replacements, allotments, the list goes on and on.  This team of six (should be 8…interested?) work tirelessly to ensure our village is looked after and maintained for everyone to enjoy; and I now no longer walk around in blissful ignorance of the work going on in the background.

Lara Jacques

April-May 2021