Agenda and minutes
The Panel was reminded that on 21 December 2010, the Council agreed that "due to the current financial situation affecting the Council and Gravesham Borough Council’s staff having a pay freeze during the 2011/12 financial year that there be no increase to Members Allowances during 2011/12". Council also resolved at that time to adopt the new Leader and Cabinet style of Executive Governance with effect from 8 May 2011. This model places all executive functions and powers initially in the hands of one individual (the Leader).
Following the recent change in administration at the borough elections held on 5 May 2011, the Leader has laid out how he intends to operate the executive powers and functions. Under the new arrangements, each portfolio holder (Cabinet Member) will chair and be supported by a cross party "Cabinet Committee". These Cabinet Committees are new Committees which did not exist under the previous administration and they effectively take the place of the Policy Overview Committees (POCs).
In addition to these changes a separate Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee was also set up to take on the role previously undertaken by the Community Safety and Environment POC. The Lead Member of the new Cabinet Committee which may have undertaken this role attends meetings of the Community Safety Partnership is Vice-Chair of the community Safety Partnership Support Group and cannot oversee any scrutiny of the Partnership. No provision has been made in the proposals included in the agenda papers for a payment to be made to the Chair or Vice Chair of this Committee.
The panel was advised that Cllr Snelling (Leader of the Opposition) had suggested it would be useful for the Panel to interview him since he believed that the special responsibility allowances should continue to operate on a scale for different types of Chairs and Vice Chairs. Cllr Burden (Leader of the Council) had expressed the view that the allowances should be simplified and that the “transfer” of the previous POC Chairs allowance to the Vice-Chairs of the newly appointed Cabinet Committees reflected the level of work they would be expected to undertake in support of their Lead Members.
The Panel considered various options for distributing the allowance - all of which contained no increase in the basic Members’ Allowance nor that payable to the Leader of the Executive and could be accommodated within existing budgetary provision.
The options included:-