Agenda item

Review of Members' Allowances Scheme

Report of the Chief Legal Officer


The City Council considered a report of the Chief Legal Officer which presented the outcome of the Independent Remuneration Panel’s review of Coventry’s Members’ Allowances Scheme and which had made recommendations. When approving changes to its Scheme, the Council must have regard to the Panel’s recommendations although it was not bound by them. 


All local authorities were required to have a Members’ Allowances Scheme, agreed locally, which makes provision for a range of allowances and expenses available to elected Members. Since its introduction, Coventry’s scheme has included provision for Member allowances to rise automatically in line with any pay increases that are made to local government employees on a specific spinal point on the National Joint Council (NJC) scale for Local Government Services. Where a local authority scheme provides for increasing allowances by an index, this could operate for maximum period of four years and a further review was required before any further index could be applied.


The following amendment was moved by Councillor T Sawdon, seconded by Councillor G Ridley and lost:


“That all of the Recommendations as set out in the report be approved and that the following additional Recommendation be inserted:

Recommendation 8 – That SRAs to Deputy Cabinet Members, the Deputy Chair of Scruco and the Deputy Chairs of Planning Committee, Licensing and Regulatory Committee plus Audit and Procurement Committee should cease to be paid.”


RESOLVED that the City Council approves the following recommendations made by the Panel:


i)  Recommendation 1: That the Basic, Special Responsibility, co-optee and civic allowances continue to be increased each year by any percentage increase in pay agreed for local government employees, (pegged to spinal column point 43 of the NJC scheme); this indexing to be effective from 1 April 2024 and expire on 31 March 2028.


Recommendation 2: That the current Scheme be clarified to confirm that Special Responsibility Allowances for any opposition groups are only paid to the Leader and Deputy Leader of the largest Opposition Group on the Council.


Recommendation 3: That provision is made for maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave and continue to pay Members’ Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance (where applicable) for up 6 months with the option to extend for up to one year as set out in this report.


Recommendation 4: That the existing co-optee allowance be extended to Independent Members/Persons.


Recommendation 5: That the telephone and line rental allowances element of the Scheme be closed to existing Councillors who have not claimed since April 2020 and all incoming Councillors, while allowing existing claimants to continue for the remainder of their time in office.


Recommendation 6: That the Members’ Scheme be aligned with HMRC guidance to pay a rate of 45p per mile for qualifying travel by car and an additional 5p per passenger per mile for carrying fellow Councillors and/or officers in a car or van on journeys which are also qualifying journeys for them.


Recommendation 7: That the Scheme be amended to include reimbursement for travel by private motorcycle at 24p per mile and bicycle at 20p per mile.


ii)  That authority be delegated to the Chief Legal Officer to amend the Scheme of Members’ Allowances according to the decisions taken by Council for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution.


Supporting documents: