Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Independent Report On Members Allowances Released

Paperwork for Councillors in Shire Hall
Members Lounge

An independent panel tasked with reviewing member's allowances has made its report public.

Cambridgeshire County Council, like all authorities, has a duty to have allowances for councillors reviewed regularly.

Members of the panel looked at the current allowances as well as various evidence from a range of sources, including members and a public consultation.

The panel, chaired by David Sales, has made a number of recommendations which which will keep allowances spend the same as this year.

The report recommends that:

  • The basic members' allowance should remain at the current level of £7610
  • The current two tier structure of allowances for cabinet Portfolio Holders be replaced by a single tier of £11,697 (the average of the current two tiers), with no impact on overall costs.
  • The allowances payable to the major opposition spokesmen be consolidated into five spokesmen and that each should receive an allowance of £6,380, with no impact on overall costs.
  • A 'one special responsibility allowance' rule be introduced.
  • The allowance paid for carers is amended so that it covers the actual costs associated with care
  • Travel expenses can be claimed for attendance at parish council meetings
  • All allowances be indexed to the annual percentage 'cost of living' award for local government staff at spinal column 49. The award for 2012-13 is 0%.

The report also indicated some areas the panel wish to address in next year's review relating to the workload of portfolio holders, the effects of localism, the work of the fostering/adoption panels and to further simplify the scheme.

Copies of the panel's report are available for inspection at Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or can be supplied on request to Jim Milne (01223 715364) email: jim.milne@cambridgeshire.gov.uk Copies can also be downloaded from the Council's web site at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

It is expected the report will be debated at Full Council on March 27.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor for King's Hedges Andy Pellew said "Given that Parish Councillors get no allowances, and District Councillors get very little it's gratifying to see that Cambridgeshire County Council has reached the only conclusion possible and decided not to increase the allowances. This stands in stark contrast to the previous finding of a 25% rise for Councillors, something our Local County Councillor John Reynolds, voted in favour of."

"I totally support the linking of the annual reward to those for County Council staff, it's important that we are 'all in this together' and that County Councillors are no longer treated as a special case".