independent news and information website for the towns and villages which lie alongside the River Dee in north Wales, from Connah's Quay to the border with Chester.

Independent panel recommends pay rise for Flintshire’s 70 councillors

Flintshire’s 70 councillors are set to receive a £200 salary rise following recommendations by the The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.

The Panel which was established in 2008 is independent of central and local government and has the powers to make recommendations on remuneration of chief executives, chief officers and elected members of principal councils in Wales

The Panel determined an increase of 1.49% to the basic salary for elected members of all 22 principal councils in Wales which will see Flintshire councillors basic salary will rise to £13,600.

In its report The Panel says it has “consistently expressed its view that maintaining the democratic values of local governance cannot be cost-free.

Members of local authorities are there to represent the interests of local people, undertake the governance of local communities, and secure appropriate value-for-money public services for local tax-payers through effective scrutiny.

In determining the level of payments to members of local councils, the Panel seeks to meet the principle of ‘acceptability’ by ensuring that these are not ‘so great as to require a significant diversion of resources from key council priorities’.”

The report also says; “One of the observations that many members expressed was that when the basic salary is compared with a traditional paid employment – ‘a job’ – the salary is too low to attract younger people and to encourage diversity.

They also pointed out the significant differences between remuneration and support available to elected members in other levels of government in Wales.

They proposed that the level of the basic salary should therefore be raised significantly in recognition of the importance of the role of an elected member of a principal council.

However, it is recognised that elected members of principal councils are not employees and are not remunerated as such.

The financial constraints on the public sector and particularly local authorities has meant that the link with average Welsh earnings has not been maintained.

The Panel considers that this has undervalued the worth of elected members.

To avoid further erosion in relation to average earnings the Panel has decided to increase the basic annual salary to £13,600 (an increase of 1.49%).

No increase is proposed for senior salaries but these post holders will receive the increase in the basic salary element.”

Flintshire County Council said the £14,000 needed for the pay increase has been accounted for in the 2018/19 budget.

The budget which includes a 6.7% hike in council tax was unanimously voted through by councillors last Tuesday.

Flintshire County Council’s Chief Officer for Governance, Gareth Owens, said:

“The IRPW publishes its report as a consultative draft prior to Christmas and the Council had considered it already.

The £14,000 was added as a budget pressure and has been included in the budget for 18/19.

The council will also formally update its schedule of member remuneration at the AGM in May.”

Source: gov.wales/newsroom/localgovernment/2018/180227-final-report/?lang=en

Full report: gov.wales/docs/dsjlg/publications/localgov/180226-annual-report-2018-en.pdf