Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and Draft Councillors' Allowances Scheme 2019-23
Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Goddard arrived at the start of this item.
Council considered a report of the Head of Law and Governance setting out the recommendations of the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) and a Draft Councillors’ Allowances Scheme for 2019-23, to come into effect on 1 April 2019
Councillor Brown, Leader of the Council, presented the report and moved the recommendations.
Councillor Gant proposed an amendment to remove the allowance for the second deputy leader at 2(c)(iii) and make consequential changes to the scheme. On being seconded and put to the vote, the amendment was not agreed.
The recommendations in the report were agreed without change on being seconded and put to the vote.
Council resolved to:
1. Thank the Independent Remuneration Panel for their work.
2. Agree to include in the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2019-23 the following provisions from the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2015-19, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel:
a) A basic allowance payable to all councillors of £5079 in 2019-20;
b) Indexation of the basic allowance in accordance with the annual percentage uplifts provided for in the local pay deal for council employees;
c) The following Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs):
i. Leader - 3 x basic allowance (£15,237)
ii. Deputy Leader – 1 x basic allowance (£5,079)
iii. Non-statutory Deputy Leader - 1 x basic allowance (£5,079)
iv. Lord Mayor –1 x Basic Allowance (£5,079)
v. Deputy Lord Mayor – 0.25 x basic allowance (£1,270)
vi. Sheriff - 0.25 x Basic Allowance (£1,270)
vii. Board Members with particular responsibilities – 1.5 x basic allowance (£7,619)
viii. Board Members without particular responsibilities – 0.5 x basic allowance (£2,540)
ix. Chair of Scrutiny Committee – 1x basic allowance (£5,079)
x. Chair of Audit & Governance Committee – 0.25 x basic allowance (£1,270)
xi. Chair of Scrutiny Panel – 0.25 x basic allowance (£1,270) (Panel must meet at least 5 times to qualify. A maximum of 2 SRAs will be available (£2,508) to be shared by the Chairs of the qualifying Standing Panels)
xii. Opposition Group Leader – 1 x basic allowance (£5,079) to be shared between the group leaders equally;
d) The rule that councillors will receive a maximum of two special responsibility allowances (excluding civic office holders);
e) The rule that where a member of the Council is also a member of another council, that councillor may not receive allowances from more than one council in respect of the same duties;
f) The rule that a 15% reduction to a special responsibility allowance will be applied for councillors who attend less than two thirds of the scheduled meetings required within a special responsibility, with the additional clarifications explained in paragraphs 14-16.
g) No allowances to be paid to co-opted members;
h) The ability for councillors to elect to forgo any part of their entitlement to an allowance;
i) The rule that where allowances have been paid in advance for a period during which a councillor is no longer a councillor, those allowances should be repaid;
j) Allowances for maternity or adoption leave, with the additional clarifications explained in paragraph 17;
k) Allowances for child and other dependants’ care subject to a maximum of £1,000 per councillor per year (which can be increased by the Head of Law and Governance in special circumstances), with the additional clause explained in paragraph 18;
l) Allowances for travel to be paid for travel outside the City of Oxford boundary with the prior agreement of the Head of Law and Governance;
m) Reasonable adjustments for councillors with a temporary or permanent disability;
n) The rule that all claims for repayment must be made on the forms provided and should be accompanied by receipts/invoices as appropriate before payment can be authorised;
3. Agree that the special responsibility allowance for chairs of planning committees will be reduced to 0.5x basic allowance (previously 1.0x basic allowance).
4. Agree to include in the scheme an application process for members who are in receipt of working age benefits (excluding Child Benefit) to claim for up to a maximum of £1,000 per year for travel expenses incurred within the City of Oxford boundary whilst on Council business as an exception to the normal rule (which is that allowances cannot be claimed for journeys within the City of Oxford boundary) and to allocate additional funding of £3,000 to the budget for travel allowances.
5. Agree to allocate funding of £1,500 to allow for the £35 data protection fee payable to the Information Commissioner’s Office for members to register as a “data controller” to be reimbursed to members, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel (assuming this fee is retained for councillors following a government consultation).
6. Agree that councillors will forgo part of their future allowance payments in the following circumstances:
a) A 15% reduction to the basic allowance will be applied for:
i. Members who fail to attend more than four meetings of Full Council in any municipal year except when a serious medical condition is the reason for absence;
ii. Members who fail to attend the induction training for newly elected councillors. A newly elected Councillor is any Councillor who was not holding City Council office before the election in question.
b) A 10% reduction to the basic allowance will be applied for:
i. Members who fail to attend compulsory planning and development control training (held every two years).
ii. Members who fail to attend compulsory code of conduct training (held annually).
iii. Members who are appointed to a Licensing Committee who fail to attend the compulsory licensing training (held annually).
7. Adopt the Draft Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2019-23 the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2019-23 attached as Appendix 2 to the report.
Report author: Andrew Brown
Publication date: 12/02/2019
Date of decision: 28/01/2019
Decided at meeting: 28/01/2019 - Council