Agenda item

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel

To consider the report and recommendations of the Panel.


4.1      Richard Blamey, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), attended the meeting and presented the panel’s report and recommendations for the 2015-16 revision of the Members’ Allowances Scheme. 


4.2      Mr Blamey, on behalf of the Panel, paid thanks to the Panel’s previous Chairman, William Alexander, for his significant involvement in developing the current allowances scheme.  Mr Alexander had stood down from the Panel after more than 10 years’ service.


4.3      Mr Blamey informed the Committee that the Panel had conducted an in-depth review of all matters relating to the remuneration of members.  Interviews with 22 councillors were conducted on 6, 8 and 10 October 2014.  Members were asked about their roles both at the Council and within their communities; they were also invited to give their views on the current allowances scheme.


4.4      He explained that the Panel was of the view that the current Basic Allowance of £9000 undervalued the role of county councillors, and that the appropriate rate for the Basic Allowance should be at least £10,000, which would then be more in line with the level of member remuneration in other benchmark authorities.


4.5      Mr Blamey explained that the Panel had recognised the difficulties involved with increasing the Basic Allowance to £10,000 in the short-term, given the severe financial constraints being faced by local authorities.  Consequently, the IRP were recommending an increase in the Basic Allowance from £9,000 to £9,150 for 2015-16.  Mr Blamey explained that this was a majority view, with one Panel member feeling strongly that the allowance should be set at a higher figure to ensure progress towards achieving the £10,000 goal.


4.6      The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr Blamey for the Panel’s report, and expressed his appreciation for the work and time commitment involved.


4.7      After full consideration, the Committee did not feel it could support this level of increase when it would equate to more than the recent pay increase of Council staff.  The Committee agreed instead that the increase to the Basic Allowance should broadly be in line with the recent pay increase of Council staff. 


4.8      Cllr Brian Oosthuysen moved and Cllr Paul McMahon seconded a proposal that the Basic Allowance should be increased by £100 and not £150 as recommended by the IRP.  This would result in a Basic Allowance of £9,100 for 2015-16.  They also proposed that the Basic Allowance should continue to be used as the ‘building block’ for the Special Responsibility Allowances with the exception of the payments to the Political Group Leaders and Shadows which would be maintained as set figures.


4.9      Two members questioned why the Special Responsibility Allowances for the Group Leaders and Shadows did not follow the ‘building block’ principle used for the other allowances.  They accepted the proposal on the table for 2015-16 but requested that the IRP look at this in future years to prevent the allowances for Group Leaders and Shadows falling behind  the other allowances. 




(a)    To increase the Basic Allowance from £9,000 to £9,100 from 1 April 2015.


(b)    To adopt the Special Responsibility Allowances as amended.  (A copy of the revised Special Responsibility Allowances is included in the signed copy of the minute book marked ‘Appendix 1’).


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