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Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

6.

Apologies for Absence.

Minutes:

There were no aplogies for absence.

7.

Declarations of Interest.

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

8.

Confirmation of the minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2015 pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 22 June 2015 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2015 were confirmed as an accurate record.

9.

A Review of the Members' Allowances Scheme pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To consider and approve the report on Members’ Allowances, and to refer the report to the General Assembly of the Council for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered its final report arising from the review of the Scheme of Members’ Allowances carried out during the past year. As part of this process the Panel interviewed a range of Members of the Council to ensure that the Panel examined the different responsibilities that Councillors had and the different views held about the current levels of remuneration. The Panel also considered the Scheme of Members’ Allowances applied by other local authorities both by way of benchmarking and example and gathered evidence to support the review. In total the Panel met informally on 9 occasions, interviewed 7 Members and conducted a survey of all Members of the Council.

 

The Panel recognised the socio-geographical position of Dartford and recognised that the proximity of London and the Thames Gateway placed additional pressures on Members and distinguished Dartford from other apparently similar authorities. 

 

Based on this information the Panel then determined the level of a Basic Allowance, which must be made available to all Members of the Council, and considered the remuneration for those holding positions which carry significant additional responsibilities. In doing so the Panel considered the number of hours Members spend on Council business and applied an hourly rate of payment  and applied an abatement of 33.3% to reflect the voluntary nature of some of the duties carried out by Councillors. Having applied this the Panel felt that there should be a modest increase in the Basic Allowance to reflect the fact that the rate of allowance had not risen in recent years and that Members often use their own IT and telecommunication equipment. The increase would also help to offset the £35 annual fee that that Members are personally responsible for paying in order to register with the Information Commissioner as a data controller.

 

The Panel retained the view that the setting of the Special Responsibility Allowance for the Leader of the Council enabled a structure of other Special Responsibility Allowances to be constructed using the Leader’s Allowance as the benchmark. The pivotal and time consuming nature of the role of the Leader of the Council was recognised by the Panel and a formula applied to determine a level of allowance. The Panel also recognised that there was a voluntary element to the role but because of the consuming nature of the Leader’s role it was felt that an abatement of 25% should be applied. Other special responsibility allowances were then considered using the Leader of the Council’s SRA as a benchmark but applying an abatement of 33.3% in each case to recognise the voluntary element of their work. The Panel also considered travel, subsistence and carer allowances and allowances for co-opted/Indepenent Members (other than the rates of pay for members of the Independent Remuneration Panel itself).

 

The Panel noted a letter from Councillor Jeremy Kite, Leader of the Council, dated 6 November 2015 in which he thanked the members of the Panel for their work but stated his intention not to accept an increase in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.