Agenda item

Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel and Draft Councillors' Allowances Scheme 2023-2027

The Head of Law and Governance has submitted a report presenting the recommendations of the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) and a Draft Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2023-27.

The report, proposed scheme and IRP report are attached.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council will present the report and propose the recommendations.

Recommendations: That Council resolves to:

1.    Thank the Independent Remuneration Panel for its work.

2.    Agree to include in the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2023-27 the following provisions from the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2019-23, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel:

a)    The following Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs):

                        i.         Leader - 3 x basic allowance

                       ii.         Deputy Leader – 1 x basic allowance

                      iii.         Non-statutory Deputy Leader - 1 x basic allowance

                     iv.         Lord Mayor –1 x Basic Allowance

                       v.         Deputy Lord Mayor – 0.25 x basic allowance

                     vi.         Sheriff - 0.25 x Basic Allowance

                    vii.         Cabinet Members with particular responsibilities – 1.5 x basic allowance

                   viii.         Chair of Scrutiny Committee – 1x basic allowance

                     ix.         Chair of Audit & Governance Committee – 0.25 x basic allowance

                       x.         Chair of a Planning Committee – 0.5 x basic allowance

                     xi.         Leader of an opposition group – 1 x basic allowance with the additional clarification set out in paragraph 11

                    xii.         Chair of Scrutiny Standing Panel – 0.25 x basic allowance (Maximum of 2 Standing Panel SRAs available. Panel must meet at least 5 times to qualify. If more Standing Panels are set up then 0.5 x basic allowance to be divided between the Panel Chairs)

b)    The rule that councillors will receive a maximum of two special responsibility allowances (excluding civic office holders);

c)    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;

d)    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

e)    The ability for councillors to elect to forgo any part of their entitlement to an allowance;

f)      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;

g)    Allowances for maternity or adoption leave, with the extension to entitlement set out at paragraph 14;

h)    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, with the additional reference to promoting green and public transport set out at paragraph 16;

i)      Reasonable adjustments for councillors with a temporary or permanent disability;

j)      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 to increase the basic allowance to £5,471 for 2023/24, in line with the IRP proposal to increase the basic allowance by 4.5% in 2023/24.

4.    Agree to the indexation of the basic allowance to the local pay settlement for local government employees from 2024/25 onwards.

5.    Agree that the special responsibility allowance for ‘Cabinet Member without particular responsibilities’ be removed.

6.    Agree to include in the Scheme provision for allowances for co-opted members and Independent Persons at the rate of £75 for up to 4 hours and £150 for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours in respect of any Committee, Sub-Committee or Panel meeting attendance of which they are a member.

7.    Agree to increase the maximum amount that any Member can claim for child and other dependants’ care in any one financial year to £1,306 for 2023/24.

8.    Agree to increase the maximum amount that any Member can claim for child and other dependants’ care in any one financial year in line with the rate of increase in the Oxford Living Wage.

9.    Agree to include the provision that ‘Members’ personal circumstances, including health, will be taken into account by the Head of Law & Governance in consultation with the Committee & Member Services Manager before any allowance reduction is applied’ in respect of allowance reductions.

10. 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).

11. Adopt the Draft Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2023-27 attached at Appendix B.

Minutes:

Council considered the report from the Head of Law and Governance which presented the recommendations of the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) and a Draft Councillors’ Allowances Scheme for 2023-2027.

Cllr Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management, presented the report and moved the recommendations in the Leader’s absence.  The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

Council resolved to:

1.    Thank the Independent Remuneration Panel for its work.

2.    Agree to include in the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2023-27 the following provisions from the Councillors’ Allowances Scheme 2019- 23, as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel:

a) The following Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs):

i. Leader - 3 x basic allowance

ii. Deputy Leader – 1 x basic allowance

iii. Non-statutory Deputy Leader - 1 x basic allowance

iv. Lord Mayor –1 x Basic Allowance

v. Deputy Lord Mayor – 0.25 x basic allowance

vi. Sheriff - 0.25 x Basic Allowance

vii. Cabinet Members with particular responsibilities – 1.5 x basic allowance

viii. Chair of Scrutiny Committee – 1x basic allowance

ix. Chair of Audit & Governance Committee – 0.25 x basic allowance

x. Chair of a Planning Committee – 0.5 x basic allowance

xi. Leader of an opposition group – 1 x basic allowance with the additional clarification set out in paragraph 11

xii. Chair of Scrutiny Standing Panel – 0.25 x basic allowance (Maximum of 2 Standing Panel SRAs available. Panel must meet at least 5 times to qualify. If more Standing Panels are set up then 0.5 x basic allowance to be divided between the Panel Chairs)

b) The rule that councillors will receive a maximum of two special responsibility allowances (excluding civic office holders);

c) 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;

d) 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

e) The ability for councillors to elect to forgo any part of their entitlement to an allowance;

f) 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;

g) Allowances for maternity or adoption leave, with the extension to entitlement set out at paragraph 14;

h) 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, with the additional reference to promoting green and public transport set out at paragraph 16;

i) Reasonable adjustments for councillors with a temporary or permanent disability;

j) 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 to increase the basic allowance to £5,471 for 2023/24, in line with the IRP proposal to increase the basic allowance by 4.5% in 2023/24.

4.    Agree to the indexation of the basic allowance to the local pay settlement for local government employees from 2024/25 onwards.

5.    Agree that the special responsibility allowance for ‘Cabinet Member without particular responsibilities’ be removed.

6.    Agree to include in the Scheme provision for allowances for coopted members and Independent Persons at the rate of £75 for up to 4 hours and £150 for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours in respect of any Committee, Sub-Committee or Panel meeting attendance of which they are a member.

7.    Agree to increase the maximum amount that any Member can claim for child and other dependants’ care in any one financial year to £1,306 for 2023/24.

8.    Agree to increase the maximum amount that any Member can claim for child and other dependants’ care in any one financial year in line with the rate of increase in the Oxford Living Wage.

9.    Agree to include the provision that ‘Members’ personal circumstances, including health, will be taken into account by the Head of Law & Governance in consultation with the Committee & Member Services Manager before any allowance reduction is applied’ in respect of allowance reductions.

Supporting documents: