Issue - meetings

Feedback from Independent Remuneration Panel

Meeting: 02/03/2023 - Council (Item 59)

59 Independent Review of Councillors' Allowances pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Customer Access, Councillor Moore presented the report of the Chief Executive outlining the independent review of Councillors’ Allowances undertaken by the Independent Remuneration Panel.


Councillor Moore explained that Councillors’ allowances had to be reviewed every four years and that, if approved tonight, the new allowances would be implemented following the 2023 Borough Council elections.  Councillor Moore drew Council’s attention to the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel, including the CVs of the independent members and the interesting background research the Panel had used in their deliberations. Council was advised that the Panel, which had met on two occasions and consulted with current Councillors, had found no grounds for change to the basic allowance as those reporting to the consultation felt that the role had remained predominately the same and that the Council was in the mid-range of other authorities locally.  The Panel had also concluded that the scheme was fair in terms of the additional allowances paid to those in positions of responsibility. Councillor Moore concluded by drawing attention to the recommendation of the Panel to remove the special responsibility allowance for the Vice-chairs of scrutiny groups and explained that he valued the contribution Vice-chairs made and that, in acknowledgement of their readiness to ‘step-up’, he considered that the positions and corresponding allowances should be retained.


Councillor Brennan seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.


Councillor Begum referenced the cost-of-living crisis and expressed the view that it did not sit comfortably with the Labour Group that the Council was proposing a 6% increase in allowances whilst other public sector workers were striking for a smaller increase.


Councillor Jones and Councillor Thomas informed Council that their Groups would be supporting the recommendation. 


Councillor R Mallender was pleased that the Council had reviewed the allowances and felt it was important that they did not unfairly financially disadvantage those residents that would like to stand as future councillors and participate in local democracy.  It was important that the allowances increased in line with inflation but agreed that large additional increases were not necessary or desirable at this point in time.


Councillor R Walker advised that he would be supporting the recommendation but was disappointed that Council had missed the opportunity to make a saving by removing the allowance for scrutiny Vice-chairs.  Councillor Walker was also disappointed that only six Councillors, out of 44, had responded to the Panel’s consultation invitation and hoped that next time more Councillors would respond.


Councillor Purdue-Horan stated that in his 20 years as a Borough Councillor he had held many positions including those as a Chair and Vice-chair of scrutiny and believed that he had made a valuable contribution as Vice-chair and certainly valued the support of his Vice-chair when he was Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group.  He went on to suggest that there should be an elected representative on the Panel to represent the views of Councillors.


Councillor Brennan clarified the points made by Councillor Begum and stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59