Clerk and Monitoring Officer

Vacancy details


Clerk & Monitoring Officer (Part Time)


Based at: Avon Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters (Portishead)

Contract:  Permanent

Hours: 104 days per annum (average of 2 days a week to be worked flexibly)

Salary: £91,244 per annum (£36,498 per annum pro-rata)

Closing date: 31 December 2019


An immediate opportunity exists to join Avon Fire Authority to fulfil the statutory role of Clerk & Monitoring Officer on a part time basis.  You will provide legal advice and information to Elected Members of the Fire Authority to ensure appropriate governance and scrutiny arrangements and compliance with legislation. 

In addition to the relevant legal qualifications and public sector experience we are seeking an individual who is committed to ensuring The Fire Authority are well informed and able to make appropriate decisions in the best interests of the public and the Authority.  The Clerk & Monitoring Officer is responsible for advising the Fire Authority on governance matters, ensuring papers are tabled in a timely manner and contain sufficient and accurate information to facilitate appropriate evidenced based decision making.  You will attend meetings of the Fire Authority and Committees, providing advice and guidance, ensuring accurate minutes are taken as a public record along with the broadcasting of public meetings to increase openness and transparency.  You will also devise and deliver training to Elected Members to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and have a sound understanding of the work of the Fire Authority. 

Avon Fire Authority has an annual budget of £45 million and employs 850 staff.  You will demonstrate a commitment to our Service values, possess sound communication skills and the ability to operate confidently, independently and with integrity.  You should also possess a detailed understanding of the General Data Protection Regulations in order to undertake the mandatory role of Data Protection Officer for the Authority. 

How to apply:

The job description is available on our website  Please submit your CV along with a covering letter detailing your skills and experience against the responsibilities and qualifications/experience listed within the job description.  Applications should be submitted to Human Resources, Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Police & Fire Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 8JJ. Alternatively, you can email your application to  

Please quote “post 1005” on your application. 

Job description


The Clerk to the Fire Authority is the designated Monitoring Officer for the organisation with responsibility for overseeing and reporting upon the lawfulness of decision making.  

The Clerk is responsible for advising upon and overseeing governance arrangements for the Fire Authority.  The Clerk plays a key role in matters of conduct and probity, including “whistleblowing” under the Confidential Reporting Code. The Clerk is also responsible for drafting Standing Orders, the Fire Authority Constitution, relevant policies and documents and for interpreting and advising upon legislative changes to ensure the Authority complies with its statutory responsibilities. 

The role involves ensuring meetings of the Fire Authority & Sub-Committees are convened on an agreed basis, in accordance with the constitution.  The Clerk is responsible for reviewing papers and minutes to ensure they are comprehensive and accurate to enable appropriate decisions to be made based upon clear evidence and relevant information

Clerk is also the designated Data Protection Officer for the Fire Authority with overall responsibility for the Data Protection Strategy and ensuring compliance with the GDPR requirements.     


Avon Fire & Rescue Service covers the Unitary Authority areas of Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with fire stations and office locations in each area.  It is a Combined Fire Authority, consisting of Members drawn from the above four authorities.  The Headquarters is based in Portishead, with Area Offices in Bristol, Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Yate and Lansdown.  In total, there are twenty-one fire stations.   We employ 850 people; including approximately 500 Wholetime firefighters, 170 On-call firefighters, 37 Control staff and 140 Corporate Staff (establishment data as at September 2019). 

Our vision

To provide the highest standard and best value service to the community

Be the best fire and rescue service we can be, working hard to ensure our communities are at the centre of what we do.  We are committed to keeping people safe, improving quality of life and making our area a better place to live, work and visit

Our mission

To improve public safety through prevention, protection, response and resilience

Making our communities safer and meeting the needs of the people we service by identifying, understanding and tackling the risks that exist within our area.  We will be accessible and provide a high standard of service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Our values

Respectful, honest, courageous, ambitious, inclusive and transparent

Guided by these standards of behaviour we will support our staff to embrace challenges, recognise achievements and live our values to make our communities safer and Service stronger. 


Advise the Fire Authority on governance and legal matters, ensuring policies, organisation, constitution and procedures are appropriate.  Draft standing orders, advise upon and interpret impending legislation and consultation papers to enable the Authority to comply with its statutory responsibilities.  

Ensure that meetings of the Fire Authority and its committees are properly organised and convened, and that there are accurate records of the proceedings and decisions made.  Ensure appropriate agreed broadcasting arrangements are in place for public meetings to improve accessibility and transparency. 

Exercise the duties of Monitoring Officer to the Fire Authority for the purposes of Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Advise the Authority on matters related to the appointment of Principal/Senior Officers and disciplinary matters involving Principal/Senior staff.

Advise Members on the Code of Conduct and maintain the register of Member interests and gifts/hospitality.  Provide training to Elected Members in relation to the Code of Conduct. 

 Advise Members and Officers on vires issues, maladministration, impropriety and probity issues.                  

Conduct or assign the conduct of investigations into alleged Member misconduct. 

Ensure executive decisions, rationale for decisions and relevant reports and background papers are made publicly available as soon as practicably possible.  

Receive reports and take appropriate action under the Confidential Reporting Code.  

Ensure relevant matters are tabled and considered by the appropriate Committee of the Fire Authority.  Sign contracts on behalf of the Authority and ensure the sealing of documents as appropriate as determined by the relevant procurement rules and legislation.  

In conjunction with the Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive and Treasurer, represent the Authority at high level meetings and provide a point of contact relevant Government Departments at regional and national level, the Local Government Association, and other outside bodies.

Oversee and manage the legal budget and external legal advice framework. 

Act as joint trustee of the Fleur Lombard Memorial Trust and Bursary Fund.

In conjunction with the Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, deal with letters from MPs etc and complaints addressed to the Authority, and with media enquiries and community consultation in so far as they relate to Fire Authority business (ie excluding Avon Fire & Rescue operational matters).

Assist with arranging and delivering training or induction Seminars for Members of the Authority and ensure they are well supported in carrying out their roles.

In conjunction with the Treasurer, ensure propriety in the conduct of the Authority's business, including making proper arrangements for the opening of tenders and the custody of deeds.

Ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations providing advice and training as appropriate.  The Clerk is the designated Data Protection Officer for the Authority with overall responsibility for ensuring appropriate strategy, policies, procedures and processes are in place. 


Maintain an awareness of Health and Safety Regulations in relation to duties and tasks being undertaken and report any situations or incidents which could be considered hazardous. 

Carry out such other duties as may reasonably be required in relation to a post of this nature.  This Job Description contains only the main accountabilities relating to the post. 


You will receive general direction from the Chair of the Fire Authority, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive and Principal Management.  The role requires a high degree of independence and commitment to ensure that both Avon Fire & Rescue Service and the Fire Authority comply with their statutory responsibilities and, to this end, you are directly accountable to the Fire Authority.

It is essential that you are a qualified Legal Executive, Solicitor or Barrister with at least 8-10 years post qualification experience at a senior level.  Experience of public sector work is also essential.  You must be able to evidence the development of effective working relationships with Elected Members.  In addition you must be able to communicate effectively and operate independently and with integrity when performing the statutory role of Monitoring Officer.  
Significant experience of working within the public sector within a similar role is essential, and you must be able to demonstrate the development of previous effective working relationships with Elected Members. In addition, you must be able to communicate effectively and to operate independently and with integrity when performing the statutory role of Monitoring Officer.  You must possess a detailed understanding of GDPR and the associated knowledge required to undertake the role of Data Protection Officer.  
Whilst not essential, possession of a relevant professional qualification such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive Leadership qualification or Public Service Leadership certificate would be an advantage.

The Avon Fire Service (Combination Scheme) Order 1995 came into effect on 05 December 1995 and made provision that the district councils of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire be united to become the combined area for the provision of the Fire & Rescue Service.  The Authority is a body corporate and is responsible for administering its own affairs as well as service delivery to the public.
The primary role is Clerk and Data Protection Officer to both the Fire Authority and Avon Fire & Rescue Service.  The role of the Authority's designated Monitoring Officer involves a much broader range of responsibilities.

In addition, under the provisions of section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, it is the duty of every relevant authority to designate one of their officers as the Monitoring Officer.  It is the responsibility of that officer to ensure compliance by the authority, any of its committees or officers with any enactment, rule of law or code of practice, and to identify any maladministration or injustice.  This area of work is completely self generated and because of its nature, outside any control from the Fire Authority and the Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive.

Regular contact with the Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Service Leadership Board, Chair and elected Members of the Fire Authority.  The role will also involve contact with Chief Officers and elected Members of the four Unitary Authorities which constitute the Combined Fire Authority. The role also interacts with relevant Government departments and with colleagues in other Fire Authorities.


The duties of this post are to be fulfilled on a part time basis, working an average of 2 days a week, or 104 days a year (excluding annual leave). Whilst there is an element of flexibility the postholder will be expected to attend each of the annual Fire Authority meetings, agenda briefings and Committee Meetings.


Documents and forms