Agenda item

Further Deliberations of the Independent Remuneration Panel (Mayoral Allowances 2021/22 and 2022/23)

To consider report LDS/169 of the Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel.


The Committee considered report LDS/169 of the Chair of the Independent Remuneration Panel which set out the Independent Remuneration Panel’s (IRP) deliberations and recommendations regarding the mayoral allowances.  In presenting the report the Democratic Services Manager highlighted that both the report and the recommendations contained within it were that of the Panel and not officers.


The Committee was reminded that at its meeting on 26 January 2021 it had considered the Final Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel (Councillors' Allowances Scheme 2021/22 and 2022/23) (report LDS/163) which, as well as providing the IRP’s recommendation on the basic allowance for all councillors and special responsibility allowances, gave the IRP’s view on the mayoral allowances.  In relation to the mayoral allowances, the IRP had recommended that if a clear rationale could not be provided for maintaining the rate of allowance payable to the Mayor, the allowance should be reduced by an amount to be decided by the Governance Committee and in turn the Full Council.  The IRP advised that careful consideration be given to what it deemed was a disproportionately high allowance compared to mayoral allowances of other local authorities.  That report had also recommended that the Deputy Mayor’s allowance be maintained at the current rate, unless a substantial change was made to the Mayor’s allowance, in which case, the rate should be altered proportionately to remain at approximately 15% of the Mayor’s allowance.  With regard to those recommendations the Governance Committee, and in turn the Full Council, had resolved to ask the IRP to reconsider the allowances for both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor and provide a recommendation to the Governance Committee (and in turn the Full Council) for an exact figure for each.


Following the further review by the IRP, report LDS/169 was now before the Committee for its consideration and provided the IRP’s conclusions and recommendations with regard to the Mayor’s allowance and Deputy Mayor’s allowance.  In presenting the report, the Democratic Services Manager brought the following points to the Committee’s attention:

·         The IRP had originally asked that Councillors decide the allowances for both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.

·         In coming to its recommendation the IRP had reconsidered the initial Members’ Survey, including the specific feedback on the Mayoral allowance.

·         The IRP had considered speaking to the past four Mayors to seek their views on the allowance level, however it had not been possible to do so as they were either no longer a serving Councillor or had sadly passed away.

·         The IRP had emphasised that there appeared to be no evidence to explain or justify the current rate, which the IRP considered was disproportionate and had inflated over time.  In light of that lack of evidence the IRP had decided that the regional figures provided a sound basis for setting the allowance and had used the average of those comparators as the foundation for its recommendation.

·         The IRP agreed that the Deputy Mayor’s allowance should reflect their workload, which was approximately 10-15% of that of the Mayor.

·         The IRP recommended that the Mayor’s allowance be set at £6,361 per annum and the Deputy Mayor’s allowance be set at £954 per annum.

·         The IRP recommended that the revised Mayor and Deputy Mayor allowances take effect from 1 August 2021.


The majority of the Committee was of the view that the allowance rates recommended by the IRP were correct and justified, and stressed that as the Committee (and in turn the Full Council) had requested that the IRP reconsider the Mayoral allowances, the allowances proposed by the IRP should be adopted.  Those Committee members highlighted that, as the issue had been considered by the Full Council, all Councillors were aware of a potential change in the mayoral allowance rates and as such the commencement date of 1 August 2021, as recommended by the Panel, should be supported.


Other Committee members were of the opinion that the allowances proposed were a steep reduction and that a review of the mayoral duties and the costs incurred should be undertaken to ensure that the role was sustainable and brought value.  Those Committee members were keen that a Scheme was in place which enabled the mayoral role to be undertaken by both Councillors who worked as well as those who were retired.  The view was strongly expressed by those Councillors that, should the Committee be minded to support the allowance rates proposed by IRP, the date of commencement should be delayed until the start of the 2022/23 municipal year as the current Mayor and Deputy Mayor were in post and it would be unfair to alter the allowance rate mid-municipal year.


With the permission of the Chair Councillor Mullins, who had performed the Mayoral role in 2001, addressed the Committee and, in addition to providing details on the level of work and the time commitments involved with the mayoral duties, raised points including:

·         Although the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted the number of events attended by the Mayor over the past year, the Mayor had adapted their role accordingly and the level of responsibility had not diminished.

·         A full assessment of the Mayoral role should be undertaken once there was a return to ‘normality’ following the pandemic.  That information could then be supplied to the IRP.

·         The demands on the Mayor were substantial and required the Councillor in that role to sacrifice a significant amount of their personal time.


In response to issues raised by the Committee the Democratic Services Manager advised the Committee that a Service Level Agreement for the Mayor was in place which had been agreed with both Group Leaders, the IRP had been given a copy of that Agreement.  The Democratic Services Manager expressed their willingness to share that Agreement should any Councillor wish to have sight of it.  The Committee was advised that any request to review of the responsibilities of the Mayor would need to follow the formal procedure.  The Committee was also directed to Paragraph 10 of the Councillors ‘Allowances Scheme which referred to in-year changes to the Scheme.  The Committee was reminded that the current Allowances Scheme ran until 31 March 2023 and the allowances would be reviewed again towards the end of its term.


Proposed Amendment:


It was moved by Councillor Lunnon (seconded by Councillor Jhans) that the recommendation be amended so the change in the Mayor’s allowance and Deputy Mayor’s allowance rates took effect from the start of the 2022/23 municipal year.


A vote was taken and the amendment was LOST.


With the proposed amendment being lost, it was moved by Councillor Crow (seconded by Councillor Lanzer) that a vote be taken on the recommendation as set out in the report.  A vote was therefore taken and the motion was declared to be CARRIED.




That the Full Council be recommended to agree that the Mayor’s allowance be set at £6,361 per annum and the Deputy Mayor’s allowance be set at £954 per annum for 2021/22 (to commence on 1 August 2021) and 2022/23.

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