Agenda and minutes

Member Remuneration Panel
Thursday, 31st January, 2013 5.30 pm

Venue: Group Room - Room 1.19 - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Graham Lunnun, The Office of the Chief Executive  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk Tel 01992 564244

Items
No. Item

1.

CHAIRMAN

To elect a Chairman for the meeting.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That Mr S Lye be elected Chairman for the meeting.

 

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members of the Panel in any item on the agenda.

 

3.

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Attached for consideration.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2012 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

4.

REPORT OF THE PANEL - 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To consider the attached report of the Panel for 2012/13.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a draft of its Annual Report for 2012/13.  Matters which had been reviewed during the year included the Basic Allowance, Implementation of Allowances, Special Responsibility Allowances, the IT Connectivity Allowance, travel expenses and an approach from another authority for a Joint Remuneration Panel.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Annual Report 2012/13 be submitted to the next full Council meeting on 19 February 2013.

 

5.

MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES SCHEME - REVIEW pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel reviewed the following aspects of the Members’ Allowances Scheme with a view to making recommendations to the Council for changes to be implemented for the year 2013/14:

 

(a)        Basic Allowance;

 

(b)        Special Responsibility Allowances;

 

(c)        Standards Committee – Chairman;

 

(d)        Standards Committee – Independent Persons;

 

(e)        IT Connectivity Allowance;

 

(f)         Travel Outside of the District; and

 

(g)        Meetings regarding Joint Arrangements and Partnership Working.

 

 

(a)        Basic Allowance

 

The Panel discussed the concern expressed last year by some Members of the Council about reliance being placed on the hourly National Minimum Wage multiplied by an average number of hours worked per week as a factor in recommending the amount of Basic Allowance.

 

The Panel noted that officers had established from a number of other authorities that the main factor which was taken into account by their Remuneration Panels in recommending the Basic Allowance was comparison data available from similar authorities.

 

The Panel considered the amounts of Basic Allowance achieved using comparison data from other authorities and the National Minimum Wage calculation.

 

The Panel concluded that whilst the difference between the two calculation methods appeared to be growing it was felt that both methods were worthwhile taking into account in the future with greater weight being given to the amounts paid by similar authorities in the region.

 

The Panel gave further consideration to the level of Basic Allowance taking account of the current level of implementation by the Council of £3,150 per annum.  The Panel repeated comments made in the past that in its view by paying a Basic Allowance considerably less than similar authorities there was a danger of undervaluing the role of councillor which could make it more difficult to attract potential candidates to stand for election in future.

 

            RECOMMENDED:

 

            (1)        That no change be made to the amount of Basic Allowance of £4,300 per member per annum; and

 

            (2)        That in formulating the budget for 2014/15 the Council considers increasing the level of implementation of the Basic Allowance currently set at £3,150 per member per annum.

 

(b)       Special Responsibility Allowances

 

The Panel noted that apart from the Standards Committee Chairman there had been no change in responsibilities which necessitated a review of these allowances.

 

            RECOMMENDED:

 

            That except for the Chairman of the Standards Committee no change be made to the Special Responsibility Allowances.

 

(c)        Special Responsibility Allowance – Chairman of the Standards Committee

 

The Panel distinguished between the previous standards arrangements under which the Chairman of the Standards Committee was an Independent Member who received an allowance of £1,000 per annum and the new standard regime introduced from July 2012 under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 which required that only district councillors could be members of the District Council’s Standards Committee.

 

The Panel took account of a Member Role Accountability Statement for the Chairman and discussed the responsibilities and the likely workload under the new arrangements.

 

The Panel noted that the Chairman would chair at least four meetings a year but found it difficult to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

COUNCILLORS' PENSIONS

To note that the Government has commenced a consultation on ending state-funded pensions for councillors. More than 4,000 councillors have joined the Local Government Pension Scheme since 2003. The Government’s intention is to deny councillors access to the scheme from April 2014. Those already in it will have the pensions accrued up to that date protected, but will not be able to gather any more benefits after that date.

 

The Government estimates that this will achieve savings of approximately £7M per annum.

 

Currently there are two members of Epping Forest District Council in the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Minutes:

The attention of the Panel was drawn to a Government proposal to end access to the Local Government Pension Scheme for Councillors.  The Panel was informed that more than 4,000 councillors had joined the Local Government Pension Scheme since it had been made available to them in 2003 and that two current Epping Forest District councillors were in the Scheme.

 

The Panel was advised that the Government’s intention was to deny councillors access to the Scheme from April 2014.  Councillors already in the Scheme would have their pension provision accrued up to that date protected, but would not be able to acquire any more benefits after that date.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the proposal of the Government to deny Councillors access to the Local Government Pension Scheme from April 2014 be noted and reported to the Council.

 

7.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To agree a date for another meeting, if required.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the next meeting be held on a date to be agreed.