COUNTY COUNCIL - 20 NOVEMBER 2008 ITEM 10

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT OF THE GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE

MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES SCHEME - 2009/10

1 Members will recall that the Governance Committee on 3 November 2008 considered the Members' Allowances Scheme 2009/10 in the context of the Independent Remuneration Panel's recommendations and the Chief Executive's response, and also in the light of the comments made by the Members of the Committee. The conclusion of the Committee was that it would be helpful if a survey of all Members as to their views on the relevant recommendations of the IRP was carried out.

2 All Members have subsequently had the opportunity to complete and return the survey which asked Members' to respond on the basis of "agree/disagree/defer the matter until after the County Council elections in 2009/don't know" and gave them the opportunity to make any observation(s) if they wished. 52 responses (66.67%) were received as at the morning of 17 November and have been assessed. The findings are summarised in the Appendix to this report. Members were invited to comment on the individual recommendations and of the 52 members that responded just under half had one or more comments to make. The key points raised in the commentary were:

3 Before the Council can make or amend its scheme of allowances for Members the County Council is required to have regard to the recommendations made by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP). The Governance Committee has exercised that requirement and the Council will do so in making the final decision. Having received the report the required statutory notice was placed in the media on 13 November 2008 with a link to the report of the IRP on Hantsweb (http://www3.hants.gov.uk/yourcouncil/irpreport ). The Council can accept, reject or modify the Panel's recommendations.

4 The position for the current year (2008/9) is that the County Council resolved at its meeting on 21 February 2008 that "Members' basic, special responsibility and childcare and independent carers' allowances for 2008/09 be increased in accordance with the national pay award for local government staff with effect from 1 April 2008." The national pay award for 2008/9 has been referred to ACAS. However, it has been agreed that an award should be paid to staff in advance of the outcome from ACAS. It is currently proposed to pay staff 2.45% which will now be added to the allowances mentioned above. For consistency of reporting however, the allowances quoted below are at 2007/8 levels, as shown in the IRP's report

5 Members are asked to note that the IRP also raised issues about restricting the number of SRAs to no more than 50% of members. It is recommended that this is endorsed. (Note: the is government guidance already).

6 The IRP also raised the question of its own allowances and asked the Council to consider this question. No recommendation is given at this stage.

7 The issue of indexation was raised by the IRP and members in their responses. No recommendation beyond those in these papers is made.

8 The Governance Committee noted that a significant number of the Panel's recommendations were outside its terms of reference. In light of the results from the questionnaire, the Chairman of the Governance Committee proposes the following:-

Question No:

Proposal

Section 1:

Basic Allowance

1.

Agree to increase basic allowance for elected members in line with the staff pay award for 2009/10.

2.

Agree that there is no increase in the basic allowance for co-opted members of the children and young people select committee which is currently £650 and that the status quo continues given the vote by Members was tied.

Section 2:

Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA)

3.

Agree that the SRA for the Leader should be increased from £27,913 to £34,695 on a phased basis of £1,696 pa beginning in April 2009.

NB: The Leader of the Council has indicated that he does not propose to draw any of the proposed increase. However, the increase on the SRA should be the substantive figure in the future.

4.

Agree that the SRA for Cabinet members be increased from £16,747 to £20,817 on a phased basis of £1,018 starting in April 2009.

5.

Agree that the Deputy Leader role, when it is combined with a Cabinet portfolio, be paid the same as other Cabinet members.

Section 3:

Political Group Leaders & Select Committee Chairmen

6.

Agree that the SRA for the Leaders of the Liberal Democrat and Labour Groups remain unchanged.

7.

Agree that the SRA for the Select Committee Chairman should remain unchanged at £11,165.

8.

Agree that the SRA for the Select Committee Vice-Chairman should be retained but its level be reviewed at a later date.

Section 4:

Specific Committees

9.

Agree that the SRAs for the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee should remain unchanged at £13,908 and £3,482 respectively.

10.

Agree that the SRAs for the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Regulatory Committee should remain at the current level and be reviewed at a later date.

11.

Agree that the SRA for the principal opposition spokesperson on the Regulatory Committee be continued.

12.

Agree that the independent Chairman of the Standards Committee be paid an SRA of £1,950.

13.

Agree that the basic allowance for independent members of the Standards Committee remains unchanged at £650.

14.

Agree that the SRA for the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Governance Committee be continued.

15.

Agree that no SRA be paid to the Chairman of the River Hamble Harbour Board and the matter be reviewed at a later date in line with other similar arrangements.

16.

Agree that the SRA for the main opposition spokesperson (except Regulatory Committee - see 11 above) remains at £5,583.

17.

Agree that the SRAs for the minority opposition party spokespersons continue.

18.

Agree that no SRAs should be paid to the Chairman of HATs.

NB: This allowance should be reviewed at a later date once the review of HATs is completed next year.

19.

Agree that the SRA paid to the e-Champion is discontinued in the new Council.

Section 5:

Other Allowances

20.

Agree that the HRMC maximum tax free allowance rate (currently 40p per mile) is introduced if any similar action is taken in relation to employees' terms and conditions.

NB: The Cabinet agreed at its meeting on 27 October 2008 that members expenses and staff travelling be part of the forthcoming efficiency review which will report to Cabinet and Council early next year.

21.

Agree that the higher mileage rate paid to members of the Independent Appeals Panel be reduced at the same time as any reductions for Members and staff.

NB: This position should be reviewed in relation to the availability and demand for Independent Appeals Panel members.

22.

Agree that the County Council should continue to reimburse only on production of receipts for childcare and adult care.

23a.

Agree that the hourly rate for child care increases to £6 per hour and that there be no maximum ceiling on these allowances.

23b.

Agree that the adult dependent carer rate remains unchanged at £8 per hour.

23c.

Agree discretionary payments to members where there are special circumstances (eg special needs, child/no childcare facilities).

24a.

Agree that there should be a comprehensive review of the Members' allowance scheme carried out within 5 years.

24b.

Agree that after every election a new or re-elected councillor should sign a copy of a backbench councillor job description.

24c.

Agree that the new Council be asked to consider the format of performance activity and accountability statements.

24d.

Agree that the allowances should not be frozen but dealt with in line with the above proposals.

Section 6:

Equal Pay Audit

25a.

Agree that there should not be an annual equal pay audit.

NB: The gender of County Councillors can not be predicted from the democratic process from elections, nor the political leaders right fettered for the selection of colleagues and members. The County Council has strong policies in relation to equal pay for its employees.

25b.

Agree the County Council will not publish the results of an equal pay audit.

Section 7:

Multiple Special Responsibility Allowances

26.

Agree that the County Council shall not pay a member more than one SRA, it normally being the highest of any that is applicable.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

a) That the proposals set out in the right hand column above be approved and the Members' Allowances Scheme 2009/10 be implemented accordingly.

b) That :