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Independent Remuneration Panel annual report approved

21 March 2017

In his latest article on the work of South Lakeland District Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel, Chairman David Holden reports on the panel’s annual report, which was presented to Full Council on 15 December 2016.

After some debate, the annual report was approved by the elected members. All members voted in favour, other than one vote against and five abstentions.

The report recommended an increase up to a maximum of 1% on the Basic Allowance for all councillors for 2017/18, commencing 1 April 2017, to bring the allowance up to £3,997.58.

No changes were recommended to the existing special responsibility allowances paid to those councillors with additional duties, such as the Leader of the Council.

Travel allowances are to remain in accordance with HMRC guidelines and subsistence expenses are to be increased by the Retail Price Index as at 1 April 2017.

Details of the evidence obtained, the methodology of the panel’s thinking and deliberations and reasons are contained in the report, which can be accessed on South Lakeland District Council’s website and also inspected at the council’s offices.

There should be up to five panel members, all of who must be independent of the council, live in South Lakeland district, have no  political allegiance and do not work for SLDC or any other local government authority anywhere or several other public bodies.

The panel currently has four members and so it is likely that a vacancy will shortly be advertised under the public notices section of the local press and on the council’s website.

Anyone who expresses an interest will, upon application to SLDC, receive a set of papers which will show the full criteria for selection. Applicants must have some understanding of local government and local issues, have the ability to act impartially, consider evidence with an open-mind and debate issues with the other panel members.

Finally, of the upmost importance, the panel must be seen to be working independently of the council. The interview panel usually consists of senior officers of the council and two panel members. No councillor has any input into the appointment and the council is not allowed to approve that appointment.

The panel usually meets four or five times a year, July through to November. Meetings last between one and three hours in the town hall, in the morning, and the discussions are confidential to the panel.

I hope this brief explanation of the panel’s work will inspire any reader to apply to join the panel. Look out for the public notice or details on the council’s website.