Agenda item

Members’ Allowances Scheme – Progressing the Next Review

Now that the Committee system has been in place for some time, since May 2021, it is timely to undertake a review of all allowances, and because the last full review was undertaken in July 2019.


It is also timely to undertake this review following the District Elections held on 4 May 2023. 

[5 Minutes]



Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Committee Services Manager introduced the report, explaining she was presenting this on behalf of the Group Head of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer. Members of the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel were also in attendance.


The report outlined plans for the next review of the Members’ Allowances Scheme which was now due as the last full review of the scheme had been undertaken and approved by Council in July 2019.  An interim review had been undertaken by the Panel in November 2020 and reviewed the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members in preparing for the Council’s move from a Leader and Cabinet form of governance to a Committee system. This review examined the SRAs that should be paid to the Service Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs forming the structure. The recommendations approved by the Audit & Governance Committee were then approved by Council in January 2021.

To comply with The Local Authority Members Allowances (England) Regulations 2003, a review of an authority’s Members’ Allowances Scheme should be conducted at least every four years.  As the Committee system had been in place since May 2021 and following the District Election held on 4 May 2023, it was timely to undertake a review of all allowances. The report set out the Terms of Reference for the Panel and the general principles that would be applied by it in undertaking a review.  It highlighted in paragraphs 3.5 what the review would cover and at 4.8 a planned timetable for the review.


Members then took part in a question and answer session where the following points were raised:

·         The Chair highlighted that he was aware that one Councillor (who was not a Member of this Committee) had suggested that the Panel be invited to review whether or not Members should be paid an SRA for a Committee they sat on that required training, when they had not yet completed that training.

·         Members welcomed the review and the idea of comparing this with other Councils, particularly those with a Committee system.

·         It was suggested the Panel look at whether Members of the Licensing Committee required to Chair Licensing Sub-Committee meetings should receive remuneration for this.

·         One Member felt Member allowances were too high and this needed to be reduced, possibly by reducing the basic allowance or SRAs.

·         Some Members felt that Councillors should only be allowed to claim one SRA, which was thought to be the standard for most councils. Other Members strongly disagreed with this and felt Councillors should be reimbursed for each role they carried out.

·         It was asked whether a progress report could be brought to Committee before Christmas. The Chair explained there would instead be a seminar for Members at the beginning of September with a presentation regarding the background to Member Allowances. The Panel were working to a tight timetable and had a lot of work to do.

·         Paragraph 3.4 stated there would be many issues for the Panel to examine in detail in undertaking this review following the changes to the governance structure since the 2019 review, including Responsibilities for Functions of the Council’s Committees. It was stated this should not lead to a large addition of expenses.


Having outlined any areas that it wished the Panel to review, the Committee noted the report and the approach to be taken by the Independent Remuneration Panel for its next review in terms of the timetable proposed.


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