Agenda Item No. 7
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL: 13TH DECEMBER, 2017
REFERENCE FROM DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE: 18TH OCTOBER, 2017
“ INDEPENDENT REMUNERATION PANEL FOR WALES (IRPW) DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 (HDS)
The IRPW had recently issued its draft Annual Report 2018/19. The draft report contained several proposed changes to the IRPW’ s Remuneration Framework, including a small increase in the Basic Salary for all Members and some "significant changes" in respect of Town and Community Councils. The consultation period ended on 29th November, 2017 and the IRPW would then consider any responses submitted from consultees prior to the production of its final Annual Report in February 2018.
In line with its previous approach in the year of a Council Election, representatives of the IRPW had visited all 22 Local Authorities in Wales. The visits were designed to provide the IRPW with an opportunity to discuss issues with a cross-section of Members and Senior Officers. A number of Members and Officers met with the Panel when they visited the Council on 5th September, 2017. In the Foreword to the draft Annual Report, the Chair of the IRPW stated that:
"The visits and the resulting discussions assisted in continuing to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of the development of the role of the Councillor and the workload pressures that appear to be increasing across the board.
The conclusions from our discussions have wherever possible been incorporated in our determinations and in particular our proposed modest increase in the basic salary.
As a Panel we believe the overwhelming majority of the 1,254 Elected Members of the 22 Councils are committed to serving their communities and put in many hours that the basis remuneration could not cover. Affordability is an issue for both the Councils and taxpayers and this restricts other than modest additional costs to the total payments to Members. What we wish to prevent is further erosion of the link with the average Welsh earnings.
Other changes that we are proposing for 2018 are set out in the Report."
The full draft Annual Report could be found at http://gov.wales/irpwsub/home/publication-reports/financial-year-2018-19/?lang=en
For ease of reference, the Introduction to the report was attached as Appendix A and the list of draft Panel Determinations for 2018/19 (Annex 1 to the draft Annual Report) was attached at Appendix B.
The draft Panel Determinations included:
a proposed increase of £200 in the Basic Salary to £13,600. No increase ws proposed for Senior Salaries, but all postholders would be entitled to the increase in the Basic Salary element (Determination 1);
the removal of the relatively short-lived provision which the Panel introduced in 2016 providing for Local Authorities to pay two levels of salary for Executive Members and Committee Chairmen;
reference to very few Members utilising the provision in the Remuneration Framework to reimburse costs of care;
the Panel was of the view that "there are still major issues to be addressed with Community and Town Councils which we will be raising with individual Councils and their representative organisations. However, as a start to this process we are proposing to introduce grouping Councils according to level of income or expenditure. We propose that mandatory payments be made to senior Members in those Councils in the highest group." (Determination 45);
Determinations 44, 46, 51 and 52 (which relate to Town and Community Councils) also included different provisions to those currently applying.
As far as remuneration of care costs was concerned, the draft IRPW Annual Report
provided relevant Authorities with two options:
(1) The details of the amounts reimbursed to named Members; or
(2) The total amount reimbursed by the Authority during the year but not attributed to any named Member.
It would be a matter for each Authority to decide which of these options for publication it considered appropriate. The Committee considered that take-up of the provisions might be improved generally if the total of care costs was, indeed, published on a “pooled” basis
The Council's Members' Allowances Scheme (as contained in the Constitution) reflected the fact that the Council had resolved to abide by the determinations of the IRPW as set out in its Annual Report each year.
(1) T H A T the Committee recommend to Council that consideration be given to incorporating in the Council’s Members’ Allowances Scheme provision for the total of any care costs claimed by Members to be published as the total amount reimbursed by the Authority during the year, but not attributed to any named Member.
(2) T H A T a copy of the draft Annual Report be forwarded to Group Leaders, in the event their respective Groups or individual Members wish to submit comments.
Reason for decisions
(1) To encourage the take-up of care costs where appropriate.
(2) To provide the opportunity for the Committee, Political Groups and individual Members to consider the draft IRPW Annual Report and submit any comments.”