Agenda item

Amendments to the Members' Allowances Scheme for 2017/18

To consider amendments to the current Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2017/18.


Review of the Special Responsibility Allowance for the position of Assistant to the Executive – Rural Affairs Champion

At its meeting on 14 October 2015 the Panel considered a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for the position of Assistant to the Executive – Rural Affairs Champion and recommended an SRA of £4,345 per annum being 25% of the SRA for an Executive Cabinet Member.  The Panel further recommended that the SRA be reviewed in 12 months time.  It was felt timely to review the SRA following the County Council’s Election in May 2017 and the setting up of the new Administration.


Information about the position, outcomes achieved and how it had developed since its inception had been provided to the IRP as summarised below.  The Chairman invited John Tickle, Assistant Director in the Culture, Communities and Business Services department to expand on this information and answer the Panel’s questions.


The Panel noted the key functional areas of the Rural Affairs Champion as set out below:


·         directly supports and advises the Leader and Cabinet on the development of rural policy, innovative pilot projects, grant awards and joint funding initiatives to sustain strong and vibrant rural communities across the County

·         develops and maintains links with key organisations such as the Local Enterprise Partnerships, HALC (Hampshire Association of Local Councils - parish and town councils), National Park Authorities, and other bodies such as Action Hampshire, the Country Landowners Association and Campaign to Protect Rural England

·         actively Represents Hampshire County Council on key bodies such as the HALC Board, Hampshire Rural Forum and the statutory Hampshire Countryside Access Forum to further the opportunities and interests of rural communities across the county

·         promotes Hampshire County Council’s rural estate and associated partnerships as a key contribution to both the land based sector and economic development across the county

·         provides rural proofing’ advice in relation to the impacts of County Council policy and service delivery developments linked to the extensive programme of transformation and change operating across all departments within the organisation

·         leading role in the development of closer working with Hampshire’s 264 Parish and Town Councils in terms of new and effective ways to sustain services and support, at a local level, in the face of ongoing budget reductions

together with a summary of key rural programme delivery outcomes during 2016/17:

·         updated Socio-economic profile of rural Hampshire – production of an updated evidence base to help inform decision making and the targeting of scarce resources (approximately 80% of Hampshire is defined as rural – and it contains about 25% of the population)

·         New Hampshire Rural Forum – successful re-establishment of the Forum in June 2016 bringing together 60 organisations, groups and individuals with an interest in rural Hampshire to raise awareness and understanding of rural issues and find solutions (e.g. rural crime – involvement in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s ‘rural communities matter’ conferences). The role holder is the County Council representative on the Forum and Lead Member for the County Council on its future development

·         consolidation of grants – launch of a revised grant scheme, the Rural Communities Fund, to help rural communities access small scale funding

·         close working with Adults’ Health and Care to ensure continued support for the Village Agents at a time of transformational change; examination of future initiatives to provide innovative solutions to the major challenge around Adult social care in rural areas whilst ensuring the role delivered by the village agents is maintained where appropriate

·         supporting crime prevention and reduction through the Countryside Service and Country Watch joint-working initiative – partnership established between Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch Team and the County Council’s Countryside Service, including the branding of Countryside Service vehicles with the Country Watch logo and the start of a closer working relationship between Country Watch Officers and Countryside Rangers


The Panel further noted that during 2016/17 £557,000 had been committed to boost initiatives delivering benefits/solutions in rural areas, many of which had attracted match funding.  Some examples of initiatives supported by, and overseen by the Rural Affairs Champion include: external grant schemes (Community Challenge Fund, Flood Alleviation Grants, and Rural Retailers and Community Enterprises Scheme and overseeing an annual budget of £200,000); Hitting the Cold Spots (focussing on vulnerable adults in rural areas) and Parish Lengthsmen, a very popular scheme, which through a £30,000 contribution from the rural budget to add to the highways contribution, enabled extension of the Scheme to include rights of way.


During the course of discussion the IRP recognised the position to be a valuable one and had been well executed by the current role holder.  However having considered the current scope of the role, the IRP did not feel that the role had significantly changed or sufficiently developed to warrant an increase to the SRA at this stage.  However, if in light of further developments or the budget overseen by the Rural Affairs Champion were to grow, the IRP would review the position again.

Minority Group Spokespersons SRA


The IRP considered a request from Councillor House to review the SRA for the position of Minority Group Spokesperson in light of changes to the political composition of the County Council following its Elections in May 2017.  The IRP confirmed that arising from their meeting held on 23 September 2013 they had recommended a formula be applied to calculate the SRA for Minority Group Spokespersons, being 20% of the SRA payable to Executive Cabinet Members (currently £17,379 thus £3,476) when a Minority Group comprises of eight or more Members plus £100 per Member of the Group.  This approach had been in line with that taken for the SRA for Minority Group Leaders for which a formula also applies and had been recommended to future proof these positions going forward whatever the political composition might be.  The IRP’s recommendation was considered by the Employment in Hampshire County Council (EHCC) Committee on 12 November 2013, recommended to the County Council on 20 February 2014 and approved.  The IRP considered that a review of the current formula for Minority Group Spokespersons could be carried out next year on the submission of a business case evidencing how the rolehad changed and/or developed since the formula had been introduced.



a)    That the SRA for the position of Assistant to the Executive – Rural Affairs Champion remain at £4,345 per annum being 25 per cent of an Executive Cabinet Member SRA, to be reviewed in 12 months time.

b)    That the IRP support a change of title for this position to reflect the new direction of the role to Assistant to the Executive – Rural Communities and Parish Council Lead Member.

c)    That the SRA for Minority Group Spokespersons remains in line with the formula adopted by the County Council on 20 February 2014, subject to review in the future and on submission of a business case evidencing how the role has developed.