To consider the report of the Head of Organisational Development.
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Organisational Development.
At the invitation of the Chair, the Organisational Development Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the following salient points contained therein:-
ØThe report detailed the main determinations of the 2020/21 draft annual report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW).
ØAs part of the consultation process Panel Members had met with the Heads of Democratic Services and Chairs of Democratic Services Committee. The position generally expressed by both officers and Members remained, particularly in the context of austerity, that the basic workload discharged by all elected Members was substantial and exceeded 3 days per week.
ØWhen making financial determinations for the Annual Report the Panel had determined that there should be an increase in the basic salary level in 2020/2021 of £350 per year which equated to 2.5%.
ØIt was noted that this basic salary in the sum of £14,218 should be paid by each principal authority in Wales from 1st April, 2020 to each of its elected Members unless an individual Member opted personally and in writing to receive a lower amount.
ØNo additional increases would be paid to senior salary holders in 2020/2021 – these Members would receive the basic salary element increase.
ØThere was no change to the reimbursement of Costs of Care, this remained at a maximum of £403 per month upon production of receipts from the carer. It was noted that the IRPW were currently undertaking a review of this provision with a view to encouraging a greater take up by those Members who had caring responsibilities.
ØPreviously it had been the decision of each principal Council in how the cost of care was published. However, for 2020/2021 the IRPW had removed this option and stipulated that ‘the Panel had decided that the relevant authorities should only publish the total amount reimbursed during the year’.
The views of Members were, thereupon, sought in relation to the report.
ØReimbursement of Costs of Care - the Chair commended the continued inclusion of the reimbursement of the costs of care for those Members who had caring responsibilities within the draft proposals.
The Head of Governance & Partnerships (Statutory Head of Democratic Services) advised that this issue had been discussed at length at the IRPW consultation event. It was noted that there was generally a low take up in Wales for reimbursement of the costs of care and the IRPW as outlined above was undertaking a review of this provision with a view to encouraging a greater take up by those Members who had caring responsibilities.
Those Members who felt they needed this support was urged to contact the Head of Governance & Partnerships (Statutory Head of Democratic Services).
ØSupporting the Work of Elected Members – a Member referred to Paragraph 2.9.1 of the report i.e. that the Panel did not consider it appropriate that Members should be required to pay for internet related services to enable them to discharge their council duties and asked whether there should be an upper limit applied to this provision (for example £10-15 per month).
The Chair pointed out that there were currently problems being experienced in some parts of Wales in terms of internet connections and suggested that this pertinent point be discussed with Panel Members.
The Head of Governance & Partnerships confirmed that certain parts of Wales did experience issues with internet access and broadband speeds. However, the Panel did not consider it appropriate that elected Members should be required to pay for internet related services to enable them to discharge their council duties and the Member’s comment would be raised as part of the consultation process on the draft proposals.
This wasaction was AGREED accordingly.
ØPayments to Members of Town and Community Councils – in reply to a point raised, the Head of Governance & Partnerships advised that the Town and Community Councils would be aware of this aspect of the report and would have had the opportunity to comment and make observations to the IRPW in respect of the draft proposals.
It was noted that the IRPW was eager to meet with representatives of Town and Community Councils through the Council Liaison Meeting and arrangements would be made for the representatives to attend a future Liaison Meeting.
Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,
The Committee AGREED to recommend to Council, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the determinations as set out in the draft Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales report be noted.