Sunday 11 August 2013

Co-opted members...and generous fees

Trawling through the Remuneration Schedule for Carmarthenshire Councillors and Co-opted Members 2013/2014, (as you do, and especially if you're a blogger and it's the middle of August), I looked at the bit about co-opted members.

Their allowances are in the form of a fee. Co-opted members are not councillors but sit on the Standards and the Audit Committee to provide, I suppose, an independent view. Two vicars and two parent governors also sit on the Education and Childrens' Scrutiny Committee.

The fees are set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and are rather generous. The Co-opted Chair of the Standards Committee commands a fee of £256 per day, or £128 per half day. A full day is over four hours, and a half day is under four hours. The remaining five co-opted members on the committee can claim £198 or £99 per day or half day. Fuel expenses can be claimed and also 'subsistence' (dinner) if they live out of the county.

Bearing in mind that the council changed to constitution to ban people who do not live, work or have a business in the county from asking questions, it seems remarkable that people who don't live in the county can be co-opted as voting members.

The Standards Committee, which deals almost entirely with applications to speak/vote by Members with declared interests, has met nine times since the end of April 2012. Only one meeting stretched to an hour and twenty minutes, four were under an hour and the last one was ten minutes long. Does that mean each co-opted member can claim the 'under four hours' fee? £128 or £99 for a ten minute meeting? Surely not!


Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that there are over 200,000 public sector workers on zero hour contracts and here we have Councillors who are guaranteed a basic salary of £13,175 p.a.

Anonymous said...

Why not try for a post as a co opted member or there will be a vacancy in 2017 in your own county council ward

Anonymous said...

The Government maintain, “a councillor is a voluntary public service and not a salaried job.” So why does the "Remuneration Schedule" state the contrary?

Do readers know of any other voluntary service that remunerate their volunteers so handsomely with a salary and perks?

In respect of zero hour contracts, perhaps Councillors should lead by example i.e. No work, no pay and receive the minimum wage.