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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 02/12/2003
Reference from Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee



Summary & Purpose
This report seeks the Executive's views on the review of Members’ allowances by the Independent Remuneration Panel. It may have resource implications depending on the decisions of the Council on the recommendations of the Panel. The views of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee are set out in the report.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
N/A
N/A



E-Government implications:

There are no proposals at present to allow Members to claim their travel allowances online, but this could be looked at in the future.

Resource and legal implications:

The review has to be undertaken because of changes to Regulations by the Government. The Council has to adopt a new scheme by the end of December 2003 and must have regard to the Independent Panel’s recommendations.

There is no provision in the 2003/04 estimates to implement any of the Independent Remuneration Panel’s recommendations in the current year, and provision would have to be made for the additional costs in 2004/05.

The 2003/04 budget for Members' Allowances is 150,300. The Panel's recommendations result in a proposed cost of 179,300, an increase of 29,000. In addition, the Panel's recommendation for pensions on Members' Allowances will cost up to 6,040 per annum depending on how many eligible Members choose to join the pension scheme. This cost is based on current contribution rates and the pressure on the pension fund would be greater than this due to the average age of Members.

Current Position

1. The Independent Remuneration Panel was asked in July 2003 to review the changes introduced by Government to the Members Allowance Regulations, which included:-

possible payment of a basic allowance to Town and Parish Council Members;

possible payment of travel and subsistence allowances to Town and Parish Councillors for journeys and duties within the Town or Parish;

possible eligibility for the Local Government Pension Scheme for some or all Waverley Borough Council Members;

proposals for allowances for Waverley Borough Council co-opted Members; and

proposals for revising the Waverley travel and subsistence scheme for Members.

Independent Remuneration Panel 2002 Review

2. The Independent Remuneration Panel consists of five Members and is chaired by Mr M Clark. The Panel is shared with Guildford Borough Council.

3. The Panel reported last in October 2002, but although the report was considered very thoroughly by both the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Committees, the Executive eventually resolved not to adopt any of the Panel’s recommendations, but to refer the report (copy attached at Annexe A to the Panel's report) to the new Council. The proposed changes had significant financial implications. Subsequently, in February 2003, the Council increased basic and Special Responsibility Allowances by schedule to the level of the staff pay award, with effect from 1st April 2003. A copy of the current allowances scheme is attached at Annexe 1.

Current Review by the Independent Remuneration Panel

4. The Panel has reached conclusions on new areas such as Superannuation for Waverley Members. The Panel also reviewed its recommendations of last year on the levels of basic and Special Responsibility Allowances for Waverley Members. It has reported so as to enable the Council to carry out a complete review in time for adopting a new scheme by the end of December 2003, with agreed proposals for any increases of allowances for 2004/5 to be included in next year’s budget-setting process. Its report is attached at Annexe 2.

5. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 17th November considered the Panel's report and made the following observations:-

a. that it would be useful for the Chairman of the Independent Panel to be invited to the Executive meeting to explain any particular concerns or questions from Members arising from the report;

b. that the Local Government Pension Scheme should not be supported for those Members in receipt of Special Responsibility Allowances as it was considered that there would be great administrative implications from doing so; and

c. that the Executive should look carefully at the recommendations in the Panel's report and consider

i. the balance between those roles receiving Special Responsibility Allowances and those not;
ii. the balance between different roles receiving Special Responsibility Allowances; and
iii. whether the overall level of allowances was right.

6. The Council will consider the Executive’s recommendations on 16th December. This will allow for the Council to adopt a new scheme to meet the Government’s deadline, and officers will draft a new scheme to reflect the Executive's decisions.

Parish Remuneration Panel

7. The same independent panel has carried out the review of Parish basic and travel allowances in a separate role. It will report to all Towns and Parishes in the Borough its conclusions having canvassed Parish Councils and interviewed Members. It has not recommended any basic allowance for Town and Parish Members but has supported payment of travel and subsistence allowances for travel within the parish area.

Resource Implications

8. As explained above, there is currently no provision for any increase in Members’ Allowances to implement any of the suggestions in the Independent Remuneration Panel's proposals last year for increasing some Special Responsibility Allowances. Any resource implications in this year would depend on the final decision of the Council on what, if any, increases it wanted to adopt. Any increase in costs for future years will need to be considered as part of the budget-setting process. A summary schedule showing financial implications is attached at Annexe 3.

Recommendation

The Executive is recommended to formulate a scheme of allowances to be submitted to the Council meeting on 16th December 2003.


Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.


CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr R Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222
E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk