William Alexander, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel, to present the panel’s recommendations on allowances for Political Group Spokespersons.
William Alexander, the Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel, presented a report outlining the Panel’s recommendations. He said that the Panel recognised that the Council needed to adopt a new approach to reflect its political make-up following the May 2013 election. He was anxious, however, that the level of allowance for Political Group Spokespersons was reviewed towards the end of 2013 to ensure that it reflected the success or otherwise of the new arrangements.
Answering questions, Mr Alexander explained how the allowance had been assessed and provided background information on the current scheme of allowances.
A member believed that it was not possible to be an effective county councillor and hold down a full-time job and she was anxious that allowances were set an appropriate level. The current arrangements favoured retired people or those who were wealthy who did not need a full-time job.
Differing views were expressed on the title used for Political Group Spokespersons. One member suggested ‘Shadow Cabinet Member’ but other members were not supportive of this suggestion. The Chairman suggested that Democratic Services contact other county councils who had no overall control and find out what arrangements for political group spokespersons were in place in those authorities.
Action – Democratic Services
RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL that
a) The level of Special Responsibility Allowance for each Political Group Spokesperson should be set at £1,500 and be effective from 1 June 2013.
b) In line with the current allowances scheme, each councillor should continue to be entitled to receive only one Special Responsibility Allowance.
c) Special Responsibility Allowance should not be paid to any Cabinet Project Champions beyond the end of the 2013-14 financial year.
d) The title of ‘Political Group Spokesperson’ be considered at the meeting on 19 June 2013 following research by Democratic Services on titles used elsewhere.
Cllr Colin Guyton requested that it be recorded that he had voted against the recommendation as he did not support the system of Cabinet governance within local authorities.