The Chair of the Standards Committee moved her report, and referred Members to the tabled version of the Members’ Allowances Scheme which provided corrections to minor typographical errors in the circulated report. She set out the principles behind the recommendations, and that they would deliver a saving of around £14 000.
That Full Council:
1. Revoke the Members Allowance Scheme for 2017/18 as of 31 March;
2. Approve the new Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2018-19, as set out in the tabled report, to take effect from 1 April 2018;
3. Adopt the revised Protocol on Member/Officer relations, found at Appendix C of the attached report;
4. Agree the insertion of a requirement for an annual update on progress of reducing carbon emissions in the borough, as set out at paragraph 6.8 of the attached report.
Report to follow
Following an introduction to the report from Michael Kay, Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager, the Chair outlined the discussion at a recent all-Member briefing session.
In relation to allowances, the Chair noted that Members at the briefing were in favour of the changes proposed to the Committee as being an improvement on the existing allowances scheme. There was also broad agreement that, given the savings generated by the revision of the scheme, Members should receive a 1% uplift in allowances across the board. These proposals were reflected in the proposal allowances scheme before Members.
The Committee agreed that the proposals were an improvement on the current scheme, and that any further changes felt to be necessary could be taken forward after the forthcoming election by the successor Committee. It was agreed that the proposed scheme be recommended to Full Council for adoption.
On the Member-Officer Protocol, the Chair relayed that the briefing welcomed the new Protocol as being more succinct, clear and useable. The Committee noted that the protocol included some requested amendments, and agreed to recommend the redrafted Member-Officer Protocol to Full Council for adoption.
Finally, the Chair outlined that there had been agreement at the briefing for the inclusion of a requirement for Council to receive a report annually on progress on the reduction of carbon emissions. The Committee agreed to recommend this change to the Constitution to Full Council for adoption.
A. To recommend the Members’ Allowances Scheme at Appendix A of the report to Full Council.
B. To recommend the Member-Officer Protocol at Appendix C of the report to Full Council.
C. To agree and recommend to Full Council the recommendation that the Council’s progress on reducing carbon emissions be considered by the Full Council each year, as set out at paragraph 6.7 of the report.
To consider proposals relating to the Council’s scheme of allowances for Members.
The Chair asked Michael Kay, Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager, to introduce the paper that set out the previous discussions and agreements of the Committee in respect of the scheme for Members’ Allowances and the recently-published guidance of the Independent Panel on the Remuneration of Councillors in London.
The Committee agreed that it would be helpful for its conclusions to date to be put to all Members as a briefing, along with two of the three options contained in the paper for re-distributing the savings generated from the changes agreed in accordance with the Guidance– Option A, increasing the basic to £11 045, and option B, increasing all allowances by one per cent.
Councillor Ross suggested the Leader of the Opposition, as effectively a full-time position, ought to remain at Band 3B, and the Chair suggested that there would be opportunities for all Members to give their views on the Committee’s recommendations at the briefing.
The Committee agree:
1. Following consideration of the 2014 and 2018 Guidance and levels of allowances across London and particularly comparable boroughs at its previous meeting, to confirm the recommendation of the following changes to the current Members’ allowances scheme:
a. That the special responsibly allowance paid to the Chair of Corporate Committee be moved from Band 2B in the current structure to Band 1.
b. That the special responsibly allowance paid to the Leader of the Opposition be moved from Band 3B to Band 2B
c. That the special responsibly allowances paid to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition Chief Whip be moved from Band 2B to Band 1.
d. That the Vice Chair of the Regulatory Committee be paid a special responsibility allowance at Band 1 in light of its workload, including chairing a Licensing Sub-Committee that meets regularly.
e. That the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s allowance be provided to the Leader of a third group, and that the group should be of at least 2 Members. If there is no third group, the SRA would be paid to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
f. That the Dependent Carers’ Allowance should be at the London Living Wage, rather than including a figure that can be outdated
g. To move to a per-meeting allowance for those co-optees currently remunerated, to a maximum of the current level of £616.50
2. To present the preferred options of either a one per cent allowance to each allowance or an increase in the Basic Allowance to £11 045, to all members, prior to a final decision at the March Standards Meeting.