William Alexander, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel, to present the Panel’s recommendations relating to allowances for members of the Adoption Panel and Fostering Panel and the qualifying number of members for a Political Group Leader’s allowance.
58.1 William Alexander, Chairman of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) presented the panel’s recommendations relating to allowances for members of the Adoption Panel and Fostering Panel and the qualifying number of members required in a political group for a payment of a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) to their group leader.
58.2 William Alexander explained that the IRP had recognised that appointing two members to the Adoption Panel should provide greater resilience, and enable the workload to be shared. The IRP was suggesting that the current level of SRA of £11,703 be divided equally between the two members appointed, resulting in an allowance of £5,852 each.
58.3 He informed members that the IRP had been unaware until recently that an elected member served on the Fostering Panel, and that historically the member had not received an allowance. The IRP believed the member should receive the same level of allowance (£5,852) as the two members of the Adoption Panel. In response to a question, William Alexander made the point that whilst it was not the responsibility of the IRP to recommend the number of members to a specific workload or role, it was the responsibility of the panel to recommend the remuneration relative to that role.
58.4 William Alexander informed the committee that the IRP had considered the number of members required in a political group for the payment of a SRA to the group leader. The current qualifying number in a political group for the leader to receive a SRA was four. He informed members that he had met with the leader of the Independent Group who had provided details of his role.
58.5 William Alexander confirmed to members that the IRP was not supportive of reducing the number of qualifying members from four to three at the present time. The IRP was however currently undertaking a review of the position as part of a wider review of the allowances scheme.
58.6 In response to a question, William Alexander explained that the IRP had previously made the recommendation to the committee that the qualifying number of members in a political group, for the payment of a SRA to the group leader, should be six. He clarified that it was the Constitution Committee which had set the current number.
58.7 William Alexander made reference to the significance of the no overall control position of the council had on the group leaders. He emphasised the point that the IRP was having to rethink this particular aspect of the members’ allowances scheme, to consider what was needed to help a no overall majority council work.
58.8 One member commented that it was unfair that the group leaders of the smaller political groups did not qualify to receive a SRA.
58.9 William Alexander informed the committee that he was keen to hear the views of councillors, particularly those in the minority political groups, on this subject. He explained that he would be undertaking this as part of the wider review of the Members’ Allowances Scheme, with member interviews taking place throughout October.
58.10 He explained that following its review of the Members Allowances Scheme, the IRP would be bringing its conclusions and recommendations to this committee, at a meeting in the New Year.
58.11 The committee resolved:
TO RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL
(a) That a Special Responsibility Allowance of £5,852 should be paid to each of the two members of the Adoption Panel. The allowances to be payable from the date of appointment by council.
(b) That a Special Responsibility Allowance of £5,852 should be paid to the member appointed to the Fostering Panel (effective from the date of appointment on 15 May 2013).
(c) That the council should not reduce the qualifying number of members for a political group leader’s allowance from four to three.