Agenda and minutes
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Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest Members may wish to make including the term(s) of the Grant of Dispensation(s) by the Standards Committee.
Mr A Thrussell declared a personal prejudicial interest in those elements of the report in Agenda Item 4, A Review of the Members’ Allowance Scheme, which defined allowances for co-optees as he is a co-opted member of the Standards Committee.
That the minutes of the Independent Remuneration Panel meeting held on 5 May 2006 be confirmed.
The Chairman introduced the report and proposed that the report be reviewed page by page.
The Accountant confirmed that the travel allowance included this year’s inflation related increase and that all allowances contained in the report had been rounded to the nearest pound.
The Panel felt that the broad use of the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for Junior Ministers required review and agreed that the wording in the report captured this well.
The Panel noted their proposal to the reduced number of SRAs payable to Vice-Chairmen and Shadow Chairmen.
The Panel agreed that the reference to the New England Party should remain, even though there were no longer any New England Party Members on the Council, because the review had been conducted when there had been 2 New England Party Members on the Council.
The Panel justified the difference in levels of payment for dependent relatives and dependent children by noting that the act of caring for a dependent relative invariably took more time and effort than that required to look after a dependent child.
Having declared a personal prejudicial interest, Mr A Thrussell left the room whilst the Panel considered the proposed allowances for co-opted members.
The Panel asked that the Standards Committee be listed as an example of a committee upon which co-opted members may serve.
The Panel asked that it be made clear that the hourly rate payable in relation to attendance at investigation hearings was in addition to the standard yearly allowance.
The Panel agreed associated recommendation 8 in the Remuneration Panel’s review report.
Mr A Thrussell rejoined the meeting.
The Panel noted that the note at the end of the table in Annex A to the review report should say ‘whichever the greater’ to match the statement made in the body of the report.
The Panel were advised that at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council on 23 April 2007 the name of the Audit and Standards Board had been changed to the ‘Audit Board’.
The Panel wished to stress the importance of a structured and ongoing training programme, which, together with performance monitoring, would ensure that Members fully understood their role and would thus enable them to perform to expectations.
The Panel wished to thank those Members and Officers who had been involved in the review process for the time they had spent helping them in their review.
The Panel agreed recommendations 1 to 7 and 9 to 13 in the Remuneration Panel’s review report.
1. That the draft report on the review of Members’ Allowances, together with the minor amendments minuted above, be approved.
2. That the report be referred to the Annual Meeting for consideration.