Independent Review of the Members Allowances Scheme
- Meeting of AGM, National Park Authority, Friday 6th July 2018 10.00 am (Item 30/18)
- View the background to item 30/18
At a meeting held on 1 December 2017 the Authority agreed to appoint an Independent Person to carry out a review of the Members Allowances Scheme and report back to a future meeting of the Authority with recommendations. Following a request for expressions of interest Dr Declan Hall was appointed to carry out the Review.
Following his appointment Dr Hall carried out a comprehensive review of the existing Scheme and, based on his experience, comparative data and feedback from Members and Senior Officers, made a number of recommendations on modifications to the Scheme and the amounts paid.
All Members declared a prejudicial interest in this matter however all could participate as the Authority’s Member Code of Conduct permitted Members to speak and vote on matters relating to an allowance, payment or indemnity given to Members despite having a prejudicial interest.
1. To note the findings of the Independent Review of Members Allowances produced by Dr Declan Hall and set out in Appendix 1.
2. To accept the following recommendations set out in the Independent Review Report:
a. To increase the Basic Allowance paid to all Members to £2,300.
b. To confirm that the Members’ Allowances Scheme is amended to clarify that the Basic Allowance is deemed to cover ‘incidental’ costs such as use of home and private telephone facilities with the addition of personal computers, peripherals and information technology.
c. To continue paying an additional Special Responsibility Allowance to the following six positions of responsibility at the rates indicated:
i. Chair of the Authority at a multiple of 2.5 times the recommended Basic Allowance.
ii. Deputy Chair of the Authority at 50% of the allowance paid to the Chair of the Authority.
iii. Chair of Planning Committee at 50% of the allowance paid to the Chair of the Authority.
iv. Chair of Audit Resources and Performance Committee at 40% of the allowance paid to the Chair of the Authority.
v. Vice Chair of Planning Committee at 66% of the allowance paid to the Chair of Planning Committee.
vi. Vice Chair of Audit Resources and Performance Committee at 50% of the allowance paid to the Chair of Audit Resources and Performance Committee.
d. To confirm that no additional Special Responsibility Allowance is paid to:
i. All Members of Planning Committee.
ii. Member Representatives.
e. To reset the allowance paid to Co-optees at 25% of the Basic Allowance.
f. To reset the allowance paid to the Authority’s Independent Persons at 50% of the Basic Allowance.
g. To maintain the existing definition of an approved duty for the payment of travel and subsistence for approved duties, subject to minor amendments to Schedule 2, as set out in paragraphs 115 and 116 of the Independent Report, to provide clarification.
h. To maintain the existing travel rates so that they continue to match the rates paid to employees, subject to the introduction of a passenger supplement rate of 5 pence per mile per passenger up to a maximum of three passengers.
i. To maintain the existing subsistence rates so that they continue to match the rates paid to employees, subject to the process and conditions by which subsistence for Members is arranged and reimbursed, as set out in paragraph 124 of the Independent Report.
j. To note that a National Park Authority does not have the statutory power to set or pay an allowance to contribute to the cost of care for Members’ Dependents while they are engaged on Authority Business.
k. To index the approved payments set out in the Authority’s Members’ Allowances scheme as follows:
i. Basic Allowance, SRAs, Co-optees’ Allowance and Independent Persons annual remuneration are indexed to the annual percentage salary increase for local government employees (at spinal column 49 or the equivalent level if the spinal column points are revised), to be applied from the same year that it applies to employees.
ii. Travel Allowances including Mileage Rates, and Subsistence Allowances are indexed to the same rate that is applicable to Officers, except the Passenger Supplement Mileage rate.
l. To apply these indices for four years from date of the first application of the relevant indices to the Basic Allowances and Special Responsibility Allowances on 1st April 2019 to the end of the financial year 2023.
3. To confirm that any changes to the scheme will be effective from 6 July 2018 and not backdated.