Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions about the work of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.
Are the determinations and payments set by the panel mandatory?
Every year the Panel updates its Report and sets out the levels of payment for authority members. These are the Panel’s determinations. Councils have no powers to vary determinations, the levels of payment or to decide not to make payments. Council officials must ensure members receive payment to which they are entitled. There must be no requirement for individuals to request or ‘opt in’ to being paid.
Does a community/town council have to pay its members?
The panel examined a range of measures they could use as the basis for any groupings and it considers that 3 groups based on the level of income or expenditure, whichever is the highest, in the previous financial year, is most appropriate. Using income or expenditure figures better reflects the activity levels of a council than population ratios which the Panel found did not correlate to income or expenditure. It is also easy for councils to understand which group they belong to.
Determinations regarding community and town councils are mandatory for councillors in groups A, B and C.
Each community and town council is permitted to make a payment to its members up to a maximum amount of £150 per year for costs incurred in respect of telephone usage, information technology, consumables etc.
All community and town councils must make available a payment to each of their members of £150 per year as a contribution to costs and expenses.
Is an individual member entitled to forego all or part of their salary?
If an individual does not need payment, or does not wish to receive all or some of their entitlement, they can stop or reduce payment. This is a personal, individual decision which must be notified, in writing, by an individual, to the relevant council official. Councils or groups of members should not seek to influence, or pressurise individuals in relation to this personal decision.
What can co-opted members claim for?
Local authorities must pay co-opted members with voting rights a daily or half daily fee. Meetings eligible for the payment of a fee include committees, working groups, pre-meetings with officers, training, and attendance at conferences and any formal meeting at which co-opted members are requested to attend.
Reasonable preparation time for meetings and travelling time to and from meetings are also eligible to be included in claims by co-opted members.
Local authorities can decide on the maximum number of days for which co-opted members may be paid in any one year.
Where can I find the Independent Remuneration Panel regulations?
The Independent Remuneration Panel regulations can be found in the annex section of the latest published annual report.
Where a mileage allowance is claimed does it have to be paid at the specified rates?
Mileage allowances, if claimed, must be paid at the specified HMRC rate.
Can a member claim mileage when they have been a passenger in a car driven by another person?
Authorities should pay mileage at the prescribed rates to a member, when undertaking official business, who has been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone else, provided the authority is satisfied that a cost has been occurred by the member.
Are all members entitled to claim care costs?
Yes, this applies to all elected members of principal, Community and Town Councils; all members of National Park and Fire and Rescue Authorities; and to co-opted members of these authorities who have voting rights.
Where can I find an interpretation of the terminology used in the panel’s annual report?
Annex 2 of the panel’s report is a glossary of the terminology used by the panel.
Does a community/or town council have to pay its members?
Yes, all community and town councils must pay each of their members £150 a year. This payment is a contribution towards the costs and expenses members have in carrying out their elected role. An additional senior payment of £500 a year may be paid to members who hold senior roles in the council. The largest councils must make at least one senior payment. Mayors or leaders can be paid up to an extra £1,500 a year. Their deputies may be paid up to an extra £500 a year.
When should a Community Council pay its Councillors?
All members are eligible to be paid the £150 from the start of the financial year. If they join or leave the council during the financial year they are eligible for a proportion of the payment from or to that date.
It is a matter for each council to make, and record, a policy decision in respect of:
- when the payment is actually made to the member
- how many payments the total amount payable is broken down into
- and whether and how to recover any payments made to a member who leaves or changes their role during the financial year
Can a Councillor be paid for more than one position on the Council? Can the Vice Chair of the Council also be paid as a Committee Chair, as well as receive a £150 towards costs and expenses?
Yes, a Councillor can be paid for a role as a Chair or Vice Chair of a Council as well as a Committee Chair role together with their £150 payment.
Are payments based on the municipal year?
No, all of the Panel determinations are based on the financial year and must be implemented from 1 April. In election years, alternative implementation dates may apply. These dates are included in the relevant Annual Report.
Can a Councillor be paid after the financial year has ended? Can this be carried onto the next year?
No, payments must be made in the year in which they apply.
What should the £150 payment be spent on?
The £150 payment is a contribution to costs and expenses members incur in carrying out their elected role.
Should a Council include the £150 payment for all Councillors in their precept?
Yes, the Council should include the payment in their precept. If Councillors decline their £150 payments there will be a saving.
Are there any guidelines how the Civic Head budget is spent?
Funding decisions in relation to levels of such additional support are not matters of personal remuneration, but of the funding required to carry out the tasks and duties. These matters remain entirely a matter for individual councils. Councils remain free to invest in support at whatever levels they deem appropriate for the levels of civic leadership they have in place.
Support in respect of, for example, transport (physical transport or mileage costs), secretarial support, charitable giving (purchasing tickets, making donations or buying raffle tickets) and clothing are not matters of personal remuneration for the individual holding the senior post.
Does a Council have to publicise its payments to Councillors?
Yes, all Councils must publish a statement of payments made to its members for each financial year. This information must be published in a form and location that is easily accessible to members of the public no later than 30 September following the end of the previous financial year.
Can a member donate their payment to a charity?
Payments specified by the Panel are personal funds of each member and, depending on the individual circumstances, are taxable. Members are free, as are all persons, to make donations to charity. As for all persons, there is no requirement to publicise charitable giving.
If a member does not wish to receive their entitlement, the correct course of action is to decline payment. Any monies declined then remain in the council budget to be spent as the council, not the member, chooses. Councils are able to fund charities, charitable activity or third sector organisations in line with their policy decisions.
Can a member claim for their care costs?
Yes, a member who has to pay for additional care and or personal assistance to enable them to carry out their approved duties may claim a repayment towards these extra costs.
What are care costs and how much can a member claim?
From 1 April 2021, the monthly cap of £403 per month is removed and is replaced by the following:
- formal care costs to be paid as evidenced; by receipts or similar. Formal means care from a registered provider. For example one registered with Care Inspectorate Wales
- informal (unregistered) care costs to be paid, subject to receipt, up to a maximum hourly rate equivalent to the Real UK Living Wage at the time the costs are incurred
Can I claim for the contribution to costs of care and personal assistance to cover ‘approved duties’?
Yes, approved duties is related to a member’s work such as general ward work, reading, attending meetings and training.
A member wishes to claim for care costs what is meant by ‘informal’ care?
An informal carer is someone who is not registered. This may include a friend or a family member. It does not include someone who is part of a member’s household.