Meet your Parish Clerk

Francesca Sheppard is the current Parish Clerk and took up the office in 2013. Francesca has lived in Heath and Reach since 2008. She is married to Fergus and has a son, a daughter and two cats.

You can contact Francesca using the details below –

07778 356097

Francesca Sheppard - Parish Clerk

Overall Responsibilities

The Parish Clerk is the Proper Officer of the Council and as such is under a statutory duty to carry out all the functions, and in particular to serve or issue all the notifications required by law of a local authority’s Proper Officer. The Parish Clerk is responsible for ensuring that the instructions of the Council in connection with its functions as a Local Authority are carried out.

The Parish Clerk is expected to advise the Council on and assist in the formation of overall policies to be followed in respect of the Authority’s activities and in particular to produce all the information required for making effective decisions and to implement all decisions. The person appointed will be accountable to the Council for the effective management of all its resources and will report on issues as and when required.

In effect, the Parish Clerk’s role is equivalent to that of Chief Executive. This is a salaried position, although not commensurate with that of a Chief Executive.

Specific Responsibilities

  1. To ensure that statutory and other provisions governing or affecting the operation of the Council are observed.
  2. Responsible Financial Officer – responsibility for monitoring and balancing
    the Council’s accounts and preparation of records for audit purposes, VAT, PAYE and national insurance, pension scheme, grants.
  3. To ensure that the Council’s obligations for Risk Assessment are properly met.
  4. To prepare, in consultation with appropriate members, agendas for meetings of the Council, Committees and Working Groups. To attend such meetings and to either prepare or oversee the preparation of minutes/notes of those meetings for approval.
  5. To attend all meetings of the Council, Committees and Working Groups, other than where such duties have been delegated by the Clerk or Council.
  6. To receive correspondence and documents on behalf of the Council and to deal with correspondence or documents or bring such items to the attention of the Council. To issue correspondence as a result of instructions of, or with reference to the known policy of the Council.
  7. To develop the annual budget as the Responsible Financial Officer and to oversee the Council’s expenditure and income.
  8. To study reports and other data on activities of the Council and on matters bearing on those activities. Where appropriate, to discuss such matters with administrators and specialists in particular fields and to produce reports for circulation and discussion by the Council, Committees or Working Groups.
  9. To draw up both on her own initiative and as a result of suggestions by members, proposals for consideration by the Council and to advise on practicability and likely effects of specific courses of action.
  10. To keep up to date with new legislation, ensuring the Council is fully informed of new opportunities and legal requirements of the legislation.
  11. To supervise other members of staff as their line manager in keeping with the policies of the Council and to recruit new staff as necessary with appointed members.
  12. To oversee the maintenance and safety of all existing sites owned or leased by the Council including Bryants Lane pavilion & field, Thrift Road recreation ground, parish cemetery and the village greens
  13. To negotiate the purchase or lease of premises, acting on resolutions and on behalf of the Council.
  14. To develop relationships with outside bodies and organisations to facilitate partnership working.
  15. To act as Cemetery Clerk, maintaining statutory and historical records, liaison with funeral directors, and the public.
  16. To monitor the implemented policies of the Council to ensure they are achieving the desired result and where appropriate, suggest modifications.
  17. To respond to consultation documents from local and central government and other relevant bodies on behalf of and by resolution of Council.
  18. To act as the representative of the Council as required.
  19. To issue notices and prepare agendas and minutes for the Parish Meeting, attend the assemblies of the Parish Meeting and implement proposals made at the assemblies that are agreed by the Council.
  20. To prepare in consultation with the Chairman, press releases about the activities of, or decisions of the Council.
  21. To attend training courses or seminars on the work and role of the Clerk.
  22. To prepare and assist in implementing an event management plan, publicity, attractions etc. for community events including village parties, carols on the green.
  23. To manage and advise on new projects – current projects include- traffic calming  and a new pavilion.


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