Decision details

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel on Members' Allowances for 2024/25

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To receive the twenty-second report of the Independent Remuneration Plan on Member Allowances.

Decisions:

The Managing Director introduced the report. It was explained that this set out the Members’ Allowances scheme for 2024/25 following a review by the Council’s Independent Renumeration Panel (IRP). There were eight recommendations for Council to consider as detailed in Annex 1 to the report to apply from 1 April 2024.

 

Councillor Lewanski moved two amendments to the recommendations, that:

1.    The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Leader of the Council increase to £19,000 for 2024-25 rather than £15,800 as recommended by the IRP; and

2.    The Special Responsibility Allowance paid to the Leader of the largest Opposition Party increase to £3,800 rather than £3,310 as recommended by the IRP.

 

Councillor Lewanski put forward the following rationale for his amendments:

·       Good candidates to the position of Leader should not be discouraged on the grounds of financial pressures.

·       Not all Councillors were retired and many worked at the same time as carrying out their Councillor duties. Whilst the role was demanding, the Leader was only able to commit to allocating one day a week to being in the Council in person. This was a new approach and allowed face-to-face meetings with residents, officers and Members. However, these were time restricted. An increase in the Leader’s Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) would allow work commitments to be reduced and more time given to Council responsibilities.

·       Under this Leader, there had been a reduction in the number of Executive Members, requiring him to take a more hands-on approach with elements of various portfolios. This reflected a saving of around £10K well in excess of the additional £3,200 being recommended was added to the Leader’s SRA.

·       Previous IRP recommendations that the Leader’s SRA should be increased had not been accepted and this would bring parity with the previous recommendations.

·       Whilst it was not a requirement that the Leader of the Opposition’s SRA be fixed at 20% of that paid to the Leader, it was being recommended that this be increased in line with that of the Leader as part of the motion.

 

Councillor Neame seconded the amendments proposed by Councillor Lewanski.

 

Mister Mayor invited other Members to speak on the item.

 

Councillor Booton spoke to the item making the following comments:

·       The amendments to the recommendations made by the IRP were difficult to accept.

·       The IRP had consulted with Group Leaders. It was therefore assumed that the suggestion of a larger increase in the SRA for the Leader had been made. The IRP would have considered this as part of its review but had decided not to have increased the Leader’s SRA further.

·       As detailed in the terms of reference for the IRP, it had taken into consideration the difference in responsibilities and the time commitment of various roles when making its recommendations.

 

 

Councillor Harrison spoke in favour of supporting the amendments to the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED to accept the amended recommends as detailed in the officer’s report.

 

 

Corporate Priorities : A great council.;

Contact: Liane Dell, Democratic Services Officer Email: Liane.Dell@reigate-banstead.gov.uk Tel: 01737 276865, Alex Vine, Democratic and Electoral Services Manager Email: alex.vine@reigate-banstead.gov.uk Tel: 01737 276067, Annette Wiles, Deputy Democratic Services Manager Email: annette.wiles@reigate-banstead.gov.uk.

Report author: Liane Dell

Publication date: 02/02/2024

Date of decision: 18/01/2024

Decided at meeting: 18/01/2024 - Council

Accompanying Documents: