To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).
The Council considered the report of the Director of Resources updating Members on a recent review of Members’ Allowances which had taken place in August 2022 by an Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) who had made recommendations to the Council for consideration.
The report outlined the considerations and recommendations of the IRP. Appendix 3 to the report detailed the benchmarked awards paid by neighboring Councils. It was noted that Members had been consulted in August 2022 regarding the proposed changes and the results of the survey were summarized in Appendix 4. In addition, the IRP had recommended that a new Members’ Allowance Policy (Appendix 1 to the report) be adopted.
In respect of the proposed removal of broadband allowances for Members it was noted that the IRP had suggested consideration be given to exceptions for special circumstances. It was noted that the savings from removal of the broadband allowance could be used to provide a budget for the proposed Maternity, Paternity, Share Parental Leave and Adoption Policy (attached as Appendix 2 to the report).
The Leader of the Council presented the report and proposed that the recommendations as set out in the reported be agreed. This was duly seconded.
Councillor Mrs M E Thompson proposed an amendment that a further recommendation be added, that the Council refers the Special Responsibility Allowances to the Independent Remuneration Panel for deal with since they were independent and, in a position, to look at everything. This proposal was duly seconded.
In response to a query regarding the proposed amendment, specifically on whether it would impact any decision relating to a similar a matter in a report later on the agenda, the Chairman advised that the amendment was correct.
The Council debated the proposed amendment and in response to comments raised the Director of Resources advised:
· The IRP had recommended removal of the broadband allowance and consideration be given to setting aside some of these monies for those in hardship. It was noted that although no scheme was proposed this could be brought forward for formal agreement. During the discussion regarding broadband allowance, it was noted that most people now had broadband, however some concern was raised that removing it could have an impact on some Members.
· With regards to Members’ expenses policy, there had been a survey undertaken of Members allowances which currently link to Council directed activities. Members had to consider if they felt the current wording ‘official duties’ was acceptable or whether they wished to make recommended changes to it.
During the debate a number of Members highlighted the work they carried out in their role as a Member of the Council outside of attending Council meetings.
Following further discussion, the Leader of the Council confirmed she was happy to accept the proposed amendment.
In accordance with Procedure Rule No. 13 (3) Councillor M W Helm requested a recorded vote. This was duly seconded.
Councillor R H Siddall proposed that recommendation (ii) in the report to remove broadband allowances not be agreed. This proposal was duly seconded.
The Chairman advised he was dealing with the proposed amendment from Councillor Mrs Thompson and put this to the vote. The voting was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councillors Mrs P A Channer, M F L Durham, M R Edwards, Mrs J L Fleming, A S Fluker, M S Heard, B B Heubner, A L Hull, J V Keyes, C P Morley, S P Nunn, N G F Shaughnessy, R H Siddall, E L Stephens, C Swain, Mrs M E Thompson and S White.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors M W Helm, K M H Lagan and W Stamp.
Councillors M G Bassenger, V J Bell, R G Boyce, R P F Dewick, N J Skeens, P L Spenceley and Mrs J C Stilts.
The Chairman declared that the amendment was therefore carried and became part of the substantive motion.
Councillor Siddall repeated his earlier proposal that the broadband allowance not be withdrawn. The Chairman put this amendment to the Council and upon a vote being taken this was duly agreed.
The Chairman then put the substantive motion (without the withdrawal of the broadband allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance being referred to the IRP). A recorded vote was taken and the voting was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councilors M G Bassenger, V J Bell, Mrs P A Channer, M F L Durham, M R Edwards, M S Heard, B B Heubner, A L Hull, J V Keyes, C P Morley, S P Nunn, N G F Shaughnessy, R H Siddall, E L Stephens and Mrs M E Thompson.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors A S Fluker, M W Helm, K M H Lagan, N J Skeens, W Stamp, Mrs J C Stilts and C Swain.
Councillors R G Boyce, R P F Dewick, Mrs J L Fleming, and P L Spenceley.
The Chairman declared that this was therefore agreed.
(i) that the Council supports the recommendation of the Independent Remuneration Panel and Members’ allowances increase in line with average staff pay increases from 2023 as set out in section 3.6 of the report;
(ii) That the types of expenses that Members can claim be detailed in the new Members’ Allowance Policy under ‘Approved Duties’ section of Appendix 1 to the report;
(iii) That the newly drafted Members’ Allowance Policy (Appendix 1 to the report) and Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental Leave and Adoption Policy (Appendix 2 to the report) are adopted.
(iv) That Special Responsibility Allowances are referred to the Independent Remuneration Panel for review.
Councillor S White left and rejoined the meeting during this item of business.