Agenda item

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel: Members' Allowances Scheme (Report number: COU/WS/23/022)

Report number: COU/WS/23/022


Council considered this report, which sought approval for a new Members’ Allowances Scheme, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel.


In September 2023, an Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) was appointed by West Suffolk Council in order to advise on the levels of remuneration that should be paid to members elected to West Suffolk Council.


The Panel met on several occasions throughout October and November 2023 and considered a range of material to support its deliberations for recommending a new Members’ Allowances Scheme for potential adoption by the Council.


The following documents were attached to the report for consideration:


Annex A: A detailed report prepared by the Panel providing details on the rationale that supports their recommendations for the new scheme.


Appendix 1 to Annex A: A new Members’ Allowances Scheme, proposed by the Independent Remuneration Panel for the Council to consider and adopt, as appropriate.


Appendix 2 to Annex A: Supporting material considered by the Independent Remuneration Panel to assist their work.


The Chair welcomed Sue Putters, Chair of the IRP, together with Tricia Bernard-Hector and David Irvine, two of her fellow panel members to the meeting. The fourth panel member, Sandra Cox was unable to attend.


Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council, including thanking the IRP for its work and recognising that in making its recommendations, it often needed to make difficult decisions.


With consent of the Chair, Councillor Kelly duly invited Sue Putters to present the report of the IRP. She summarised the content and highlighted key issues that had been considered by the Panel which had resulted in the proposed Members’ Allowances Scheme for adoption.


Councillor Kelly then moved the motion, which was duly seconded by Councillor Victor Lukaniuk.


The majority of members supported the new scheme, commending the IRP for the thorough piece of work undertaken and the rationale behind its recommendations.


Whilst also commending the IRP for its work and recognising the factors set out in 4.2 of the Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel (Annex A), other members were disappointed with elements of the proposed new scheme, in particular that no Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) had been recommended for members appointed to the Development Control Committee. Given the significant time commitment that was considered to be far in excess to those members sitting on other committees, it was felt an SRA for these members was warranted. The rationale for not recommending an SRA for this post had been considered as set out in paragraph 7.25 of the IRP’s report; however, it was felt that whilst the Committee was not short of members, some were discouraged from volunteering to sit on the Committee due to the amount of time involved; balancing their work commitments; and the potential financial implications if needing to take time off work. An SRA might have encouraged more members to come forward which would allow the political groups to have a wider pool of members from which to appoint.


On the motion of Councillor Kelly, seconded by Councillor Lukaniuk, it was put to the vote and with the vote being 28 for the motion, 5 against and 14 abstentions, it was


Resolved: That


1.       The content of the Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel, as contained in Annex A to Report number: COU/WS/23/022, be noted.


2.       The new West Suffolk Council Members’ Allowances Scheme proposed by the Independent Remuneration Panel, as contained in Appendix 1 of Annex A to Report number: COU/WS/23/022, be adopted for implementation from 1 February 2024.


The Chair thanked the members of the Independent Remuneration Panel present for attending and invited them to remain in the meeting to observe the following agenda items should they wish to do so.

Supporting documents: