Councillors' allowance scheme 'may need updating' in Telford & Wrekin
The allowance scheme for borough councillors in Telford is nine years old and may need updating to reflect changes in members’ roles and workload, a report says.
Under the current scheme, all Telford & Wrekin councillors are entitled to claim nearly £8,000, but additional allowances ranging from £2,600 to £23,800 are available to those holding certain roles.
At their first meeting after the local election, members voted to convene an Independent Remuneration Panel, which will report back on potential changes in September.
In a report, democratic and scrutiny services team leader Deborah Moseley reminded the 54 councillors that they have the final decision “whether to accept the report of the IRP in its entirety, in part, or to reject it”.
Ms Moseley wrote: “The panel last met and made recommendations for consideration by council in April 2010 and the scheme of allowances was agreed at that meeting and has been in operation ever since.”
The scheme pays a basic annual allowance of £7,870. Members with designated positions are entited to “special responsibility allowances” but can only receive one, even if they hold multiple roles.
The highest SRA, £23,768, goes to the leader, while the deputy leader receives £15,898.
All other cabinet members receive £11,805 while there is a £9,837 allowance for the main opposition leader.
“The allowances scheme can no longer take into account indexation provisions and best practice recommends that the scheme be reviewed every four years,” Ms Moseley wrote.
“Allied to the fact that the role of councillor and the remit/relative workloads of some of the boards and committees has changed since the introduction of the current scheme, the monitoring officer recommends that the panel be re-convened to consider and update the scheme.”
Councillors voted to agree, and accepted the officers’ recommendation to appoint Professor Steve Leach as chairman.
Prof Leach is Emertius professor of Local Government at De Montfort University and has chaired IRPs for other councils.
“It is recommended that the panel is established as soon as possible and invited to report back to the next meeting of the council on September 19,” Ms Moseley wrote.
The panel’s tasks will include “considering what, if any, provision should be made for Members’ entitlement to maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave and relevant allowances.”