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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Board Room (E Floor)

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman and Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr A Murdoch be appointed Chairman and Reverend M Cooper Vice-Chairman for the third year of the Panel’s term.

 

The Chairman referred to Mr D Higgs, the former Vice-Chairman, and paid tribute to the excellent work carried out by him on behalf of the Panel.  

 

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr A Thrussell.

3.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

4.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2004. pdf icon PDF 16 KB

Minutes:

          RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes be confirmed as a true record.

MD

5.

To consider an allowance for the Deputy Leader of the New England Party pdf icon PDF 16 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a request by Councillor M T Tibby, the Leader of the New England Party (NEP), for the payment of a Special Responsibility Allowance to the Deputy Leader of the Party.  The Panel concluded that it could not consider the Deputy Leader of the NEP without considering the Leader.

 

The Head of Finance and Resources summarised the existing scheme of allowances for Members, concentrating particularly on those for Leaders and Deputy Leaders of political parties, and referred to the three previous reports that the IRP had produced.

 

Although the current scheme is not as originally recommended to the Council, the Panel acknowledged that the results of the 2003 local elections introduced a new political administration with a coalition between the Conservatives and the Residents’ Association and Independents Group. In particular, special responsibility allowances had been introduced for junior ministers and the Leader and Deputy of the Residents’ Association and Independents Group.

 

Councillor M T Tibby was invited to expand on his request. He commented that the New England Party was formally recognised as a political party by the Electoral Commission and the Council and, accordingly, for the purpose of allowances, its Leader and Deputy Leader should be treated the same as the other Leaders and Deputy Leaders on the Council.  He commented that special responsibility allowances are paid to all Members of the Conservative Group as well as the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Residents’ Association and Independents Group.  He emphasised that the principle for the future should be established now.

 

The Head of Finance and Resources said that at least one member of the conservative group did not receive a special responsibility allowance and the others were paid as a result of their Portfolio, Junior Minister, or other responsibilities

 

Members of the Panel commented that it had been their view, when making their original recommendations, that special responsibility allowances should be paid only where Members undertake significant additional responsibilities, over and above those of the ordinary Member. This was in accordance with the guidance issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Accordingly they considered whether the roles of Leader and Deputy Leader of the New England Party are more onerous than the ordinary member and similar to other party leaders.  .

 

Following detailed discussion, the Panel concluded that they did not have sufficient information with which to make a decision. The Head of Finance and Resources undertook to produce a report, for further consideration, rehearsing both arguments for and against the payment of the allowances and providing options for the Panel to consider.  The report will include a list of allowances paid to individual Members of the Council and, if possible, provide details of any allowances paid by other authorities to Leaders and Deputies of the non ruling political party.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

That the question of the payment of allowances to the Leader and Deputy Leader of the New England Party be deferred pending a further report.

 

 

MD

6.

To consider an allowance to cover the administrative costs of the Chairman of The Standards Committee

An oral report will be presented by the Head of Finance and Resources

Minutes:

The Panel considered a request by the Chairman of the Standards Committee for an allowance to cover his administrative costs.

 

          In a tabled report, the Executive Director outlined the role of the Chairman of the Standards Committee and the additional time and costs incurred by virtue of the position.

 

          The Panel believed that a number of the additional duties referred to in the report constituted an inherent part of the normal role of a Chairman and, as such, did not warrant an additional allowance.  However Members accepted that some additional activities are undertaken and administrative costs incurred by the Chairman.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the General Assembly of the Council be recommended to increase the annual allowance for the Chairman of the Standards Committee from £500 to £575.