To consider a report of the Chief Executive setting out the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel in regard to the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2017/18 together with a Scheme for 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Executive setting out the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) with regard to the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2017/18 together with a Scheme for 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
The report was introduced and the legal ability of the Council to make a new Scheme or to amend an existing Scheme was confirmed. Members noted that in doing this, the Council had a responsibility to ask the IRP for recommendations and to have regard to these in reaching a decision. The recommendations of the IRP were set out in the appendix to the report.
With reference to the report, the Committee considered a number of specific points recommended by the IRP, along with the general principle that the Scheme be set for a four year period with adjustments to be made in accordance with an agreed index.
With regard to the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for the Assistant to the Executive – Rural Affairs Champion, the IRP had considered supporting information about the role and its development over the past 12 months. . It was highlighted that the increasing role of Town and Parish Councils would likely cause the significance of the position and the workload to increase going forward. With this in mind, the Committee agreed to support the recommendation of the IRP for no increase and supported a further review in 12 months, to allow consideration of any change in the role.
The IRP recommendation for no change to the formula for the calculation of the SRA for opposition spokespersons was noted and accepted by the Committee. It was agreed that comparison in the value of the opposition spokesperson SRA before and after the introduction of the formula would be investigated.
Recommendations for the introduction of an SRA for Co-opted Scheme Member Representatives on the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board were considered and supported.
The Committee considered the recommendations of the IRP regarding childcare and dependents’ carers allowances, in particular the need to balance responsibility for public money with a fair level of support to enable elected Members to carry out their duties and the provision of an efficient means for reclaiming costs. With this in mind a range of options were discussed, including paying the actual cost of care, linking it with the national living wage and linking it with the rate paid by the County Council for similar care provision. It was noted that Members’ expense claims were spot checked and therefore relied largely on self-policing. It was proposed and agreed that it was desirable that allowances should be reflective of actual cost, whilst retaining an open, efficient and transparent process, and that officers should review and advise on appropriate means to identify a cap. It was furthermore agreed that the cap could differ between childcare and dependents’ carers claims.
The recommendation for the provision of an index equivalent to grade H and above for Council staff by which future amendments to the Scheme should be made until 2021/22 was acknowledged and supported. It was agreed that this should include the posts technically outside of the Members’ Allowances Scheme, such as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council. The clarification of time limits for the claiming of expenses was also supported.
1. That the EHCC Committee recommend to the County Council that approval be given to amendment of the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2017/18 and to a Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22, which takes into account the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel and the views of the EHCC Committee. Namely:
With regard to the Members’ Allowances Scheme 2017/18
- 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.
- That the SRA for Minority Group Spokespersons remains in line with the formula adopted by the full Council on 20 February 2014, subject to review in the future and on submission of a business case evidencing how the role has developed.
With regard to the Members’ Allowances Scheme 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22
- That an SRA of £675 per annum be payable to the Co-opted Scheme Member Representatives of the Hampshire Pension Fund Panel and Board from 1 April 2018.
- That the Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowances payable to Members be increased in line with any nationally agreed pay award for staff at grade H and above from 1 April 2018 and thereon annually for 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
- That in future any allowances payable under other legislation be adjusted in line with any adjustment to allowances under the Members’ Allowances Scheme.
- That further consideration be given to revising Childcare and Dependents’ Carers Allowances reflective of actual costs, retaining an efficient and transparent approach in line with the County Council’s payment processes, but subject to an upper limit.
2. That the proposal in regard to clarification of the procedure for claiming Members’ expenses referred to at paragraph 5.1 is agreed.