Bedford Borough councillors are to be asked to keep their allowances at the same level for another year.
As elected volunteers and not employed, councillors do not receive a salary. However, they are paid an allowance in recognition of the time, work and costs involved in representing the people of their wards and the borough.
And to help make sure residents can be confident of independence, openness and accountability, the process of making and reviewing allowance schemes is regulated.
At the heart of this is the creation of an independent remuneration panel (IRP) – whose views must be considered before members’ allowances schemes are made or changed.
At next week’s full meeting (23 February) councillors will receive a report by the interim chief officer of the legal & monitoring officer to consider and agree on the process for the selection and appointment of an IRP.
The councillors will also be asked to agree that the Members Allowances’ Scheme should remain the same for 2022/23.
The current basic allowance of £10,425 was set in 2016, although Conservative councillors Coombes, Moon and Rigby are listed as remaining on the previous basic allowance of £10,322.04.
There are also allowances paid to councillors who hold a position of special responsibility in relation to the authority, for example chairing a committee.
The latest breakdown of councillor allowances on the council’s website is for 2020/21.
This list showed that the range of the allowances paid to members was £10,425 to £23,777.64 (councillor Christine McHugh (Goldington Ward) who is the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, and the chair for two committees).
Bedford mayor, Dave Hodgson, does not receive a basic allowance, but data for 2020/21 showed that he did receive a special allowance of £62,551.80.
by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter