Last night Suffolk County Council voted to accept the proposals made by an independent body called the Independent Remunerations Panel, to increase allowances of the Cabinet, Deputy Leader and Leader.
Every 4 years any Council is required to appoint an Independent Remuneration Panel to look at and report on the Allowance scheme for Councillors.
Last year the monitoring officer of the Council to put together an independent panel to undertake the work. The panel is unpaid and seeks to balance the need to make sure the scheme reflects the work undertaken with the need to keep costs down. They were asked to look at hoe the role of a Councillor has changed since the last review and the workload some of the members take on.
The panel is made up of Sandra Cox who chaired the Panel and is a local government expert, Dame Lin Homer who has had a long career in Local and National Government roles, Mark Pendlington a Director of Anglian Water and Chairman of the NALEP and Andy Wood CE of Adnams. By any one’s measure this is an expert panel who are all recognised as leaders of industry with years of experience in making tough decisions in large organisations. The panel met 7 times between November 2016 and June 2017 to fully consider the scheme which will apply for the next four years.
The Panel recommended no change to the level of basic allowance county councillors receive but is suggested an increase to the level of allowance for the roles of Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet by raising the way this is calculated which is by a multiplication of the basic allowance. Leader – from 2.5 to 3, Deputy – from 1.75 to 2, Cabinet – from 1.5 to 1.75. These recommendations put Suffolk County Council in line with other county councils.
The panel also felt that in comparison to other Councils Suffolk County Council had too many Committees and so have recommended mergers of some with the removal of two Committee Chairman and less Members with Special Responsibility which have been reflected in the number that have been appointed down to 4. The overall effect of the proposals is cost neutral and that means they will not cost the Council tax payers of Suffolk any more money.
These recommendations offer a revised allowance scheme with no additional burden to local tax payers.