A County Durham town council office has defended their choice to advertise for a new Town Clerk, paying up to £65,000 - whilst the UK average for the same role is paid on average just under £40,000. 

The successful applicant to be Spennymoor Town Council’s new Town Clerk could be in line to receive a top salary of more than £25,000 than the national average.

Advertised online, the full-time (37 hours per week) role would see the new hire managing the council’s legal and administrative functions and leading 23 officers with an annual £1.8m budget.

In a letter to The Northern Echo, Spennymoor resident Ian Thompson criticised the high salary in relation to the town’s population of just over 20,000.

He said: “The average pay package for town clerks is around £40,000.

“I wonder how many other North East town councils employ town clerks on a salary similar to that of Spennymoor which has to be at the top end of council size and budget to justify the advertised salary for its new town clerk.

“It must rank as an important town council amongst all the town councils in the country. But is it? I didn’t think it was.

“Yet it must be, as how else could such a generous salary possibly make sense?”

In response, a Spennymoor Town Council spokesman defended the “generous” amount, stating that the salary had not changed after the former clerk left the position. 

They said: “While the average salary may be £39,000, it is important to add context. The given average considers town and parish clerks, and there are thousands of parish clerks for tiny councils who may work only a few days each month, which naturally impacts the England and Wales average.

“The suggested salary for Spennymoor Town Council Clerk scale reflects the level of knowledge, experience and responsibility required of the role.

“The decision is weighed against the size of the authority, level of responsibility, size of the precept received, number of employees and also number of buildings and assets the Town Council owns and/or manages.


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“Town Clerk salaries are set using national guidelines and a grading system established and reviewed regularly by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), with salaries ranging from £21,500 to over £81,000. 

“Indeed, the Local Government Resource Centre (LGRC) carried out an industry review of the salary in relation to the scope and scale of the Council and confirmed it as appropriate. 

“Spennymoor Town Clerk’s salary grading has not risen (or declined) since the previous incumbent of that role, so it is somewhat surprising that is now being raised as an issue.”