A reduction from 125 council seats to 76 in the new BCP Council will cut the cost of member allowances for next year by £500,000.
The recommendations for the levels of allowance paid to Elected Members have been made by an Independent Remuneration Panel, comprising John Quinton, Former Head of Democratic Services at Wiltshire Council, Keith Broughton, a Member of the Independent Remuneration Panel for West and North Dorset District Councils and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, and Martin Varley, partner at Humphries Kirk LLP (Solicitors) and Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
A basic attendance allowance of £12,500 is being recommended. Alongside this, there are a range of established Special Responsibility Allowance rates also proposed, including those for the Leader of the Council at £30,000 and the Chairman of the Planning Committee at £10,000. No councillor will be able to claim more than one Special Responsibility Allowance.
The Shadow Authority meeting on 21 February 2019 is being asked to approve the Independent Panel’s proposals. The new council is legally required to make provision for Members Allowances under The Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003.
The levels of allowances recommended by the Panel reflects several factors, including the increased ratio of residents to Members, with the average electorate per councillor being 1:3960 for BCP Council, whereas currently it is 1:2590, 1:1592 and 1:2648 for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole respectively.
The basic allowance makes provision for the community representative role that all Members undertake, which includes representing constituents’ views at meetings, ensuring that problems are dealt with satisfactorily, holding community meetings and consultations, dealing with correspondence and obtaining information, as well as preparing for and attending various committee meetings. In a consultation undertaken by the Panel, some councillors reported spending up to 200 hours a month on council business, with a general expectation that the role of all councillors would be more demanding in the future.
The full report of the Independent Remuneration Panel can be found here.