For debate and decision on the day unless the Chairman decides otherwise.
The report includes the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel and the changes proposed to the Council’s petition scheme.
a) Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chair of the Constitution Committee, invited Richard Blamey, Chair of the IRP, to present the panel’s recommendations.
Mr Blamey paid tribute to panel member Gwyn Morgan who had sadly passed away in November 2015. He said that Gwyn was well liked and respected by fellow panel members and county councillors.
He said that the panel had welcomed the opportunity to meet members and they had developed a good understanding of their role. The panel were aware of issues around members’ ICT, difficulties for some members in attending training courses and the need for a mentoring programme for new councillors. He said that a comparison had been undertaken of the basic allowance paid by county councils across the country and it was evident that members in Gloucestershire were undervalued compared with elsewhere. The average basic allowance for county councils was £10,300.
The IRP recommendations would increase the basic allowance from £9,100 to £10,000 with special responsibility allowances maintained at their current value for 2016-17 and 2017-18. He recognised that this would break the ‘building blocks’ approach with special responsibility allowances no longer being a multiple of the basic allowance. He said that this would need to be reviewed in future.
Cllr Hawthorne thanked Mr Blamey and the IRP for their diligent work in reviewing the allowances. He recognised that the review had been more thorough than many of those undertaken elsewhere. He believed, however, that it would be inappropriate to increase the basic allowance by such a significant amount when the Council was facing severe financial pressure. He urged members to consider the wider context in light of the difficult financial decisions that would need to be taken in the next two years.
Cllr Hawthorne proposed and Cllr Will Windsor-Clive seconded an amendment that the allowances be maintained at their present level for 2016-17 and 2017-18 with the IRP being requested to undertake a review of the structure of the current allowances scheme following the May 2017 election.
A number of other members spoke in support of the IRP recommendations. They questioned the value in having an IRP if the Council ignored its recommendations. They believed that it was important that a wider range of people were encouraged to stand as councillors and this was unlikely to happen if the allowances were much lower than those paid elsewhere.
On being to the vote, the amendment was lost.
On being put to a recorded vote, it was
i) To increase the Basic Allowance from £9,100 to £10,000 for a two year period from 1 April 2016.
ii) To maintain all Special Responsibility Allowances as a fixed sum at their 2015-16 level for a two year period from 1 April 2016.
The voting was as follows:
For (25): Cllrs David Brown, Dr John Cordwell, Iain Dobie, Bernard Fisher, Jasminder Gill, Joe Harris, Colin Hay, Jeremy Hilton, Paul Hodgkinson, Barry Kirby, Richard Leppington, Sarah Lunnon, Steve Lydon, Steve McHale, Paul McMahon, Tracy Millard, Graham Morgan, Brian Oosthuysen, Alan Preest, David Prince, Nigel Robbins, Klara Sudbury, Simon Wheeler, Lesley Williams and Suzanne Williams
Against (24) Cllrs Phil Awford, Dorcas Binns, Rob Bird, Tony Blackburn, Jason Bullingham, Andrew Gravells, Tim Harman, Mark Hawthorne, Tony Hicks, Paul McLain, Patrick Molyneux, Nigel Moor, Shaun Parsons, Brian Robinson, Vernon Smith, Lynden Stowe, Ray Theodoulou, Brian Tipper, Pam Tracey, Robert Vines, Stan Waddington, Kathy Williams, Roger Wilson and Will Windsor-Clive
Abstentions (1): Cllr Colin Guyton
b) Modifications to the petition scheme
i) To approve the revised petition scheme at annex B to the report including the associated flow chart at appendix 1.
ii) To include the petition scheme in part 5 of the Council Constitution under ‘codes and protocols’.
c) Monitoring Officer changes to the Council Constitution
RESOLVED to ratify the changes to the Council Constitution made by the Monitoring Officer under delegated powers (as shown at Annexes C and D of the report).