Linda Collison

Linda has lived in Peppard for ten years and absolutely loves it. It fitted the bill perfectly as the halfway point for Linda and her partner, Tony, as they worked in different directions. She worked in the IT world in Camberley and then Reading until being made redundant in 2011.

She originally came from a small village in Cambridgeshire. As her parents are quite old now, she visits frequently, takes them on holiday and also remains close to her siblings who all still live there.

Being keen to be part of the community, when Linda saw an appeal for Parish Councillors she thought this would not only be a useful thing to do, but also a way of meeting local people. She loved being a Councillor and loved being part of the decision making process. When her predecessor started as Clerk, Linda spent a lot of time helping her. Unfortunately her predecessor couldn’t continue so, having enjoyed that aspect of council affairs, Linda decided that she would like to apply herself. Now, as Clerk, she cannot be involved in making decisions but she finds that the job does suit her and she thoroughly enjoys it.

The main responsibilities of the Clerk to the Parish Council are to ensure that the Council, including the Chairman, adhere to all appropriate legal procedures. Her duties encompass all administration and documentation as well as the finances and also the communication between the Parish Council and South Oxfordshire District and Oxfordshire County Councils. She maintains the Council’s website and also manages the two part-time employees. Linda says that she finds the hardest part is coping with all the legal/governmental jargon and often refers to books or the internet for interpretations! It is possible to be Clerk to more than one council and in time, Linda may yet opt to work for another one.

Although she did learn a lot through helping the former Clerk, she has, nevertheless, had quite learning curve. She finds the Councillors very supportive and there is a network of support available; the Society of Local Council Clerks and Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils will help with her queries at any time. Once she is fully settled in, she intends to obtain the Certificate in Local Council Administration – this requires her to complete a portfolio covering twenty-four subjects, each supported by examples of local work and events. As she transitioned from Councillor to Clerk within the same Parish, she cannot be paid for the first year so she rather philosophically views this year as training. She probably devotes around 100 hours per month to her work. Eventually she will be paid an hourly rate – but it won’t make her rich!

Linda can often be seen out and about walking with her two border collies or running, with dogs in tow, and Elvis Presley playing through her earphones. She loves to keep fit and the highlight for her was participating in the Las Vegas Half Marathon five years ago. To a background of fireworks, there were thousands of people taking part – people of all ages, types and abilities – even people getting married. She found the whole thing so exciting that she ran the first five miles without realising it. I have no doubt that she will put the same amount of energy into managing our Council as she does to her running.

Rita Hadgkiss