Bradford Council faces £35,000 allowances bill for police panel members (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Council faces £35,000 allowances bill for police panel members
11:00am Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
Bradford Council will need to find an extra £35,000 to cover the allowances of councillors who are appointed to sit on the new policing panel after elections are held for a West Yorkshire Crime Commissioner next month.
A total of 12 councillors across the region will form the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel to scrutinise the Police and Crime Commissioner’s activities, as well as two independent members.
Three will be appointed by Bradford Council and in the light of no central funding being available for the roles, it has fallen on each local authority to provide an allowance in light of the extra responsibility the position will afford.
The panel was established in shadow form earlier this year, but is not expected to operate as a formal committee until the week after the elections for a Commissioner are held on November 15.
In a report to a meeting of the full Council, solicitor Suzan Hemingway, states: “Currently the Police Authority provides allowances to its members for 2010 to 2011. However, the Home Office has made it clear that they will only provide funding of £920 per member per year to each member of the panel to cover travel and incidental expenses and ‘it is not an allowance in the sense that councillors and Police Authority members receive an allowance’.
“The allowances currently paid will be absorbed into the commissioner’s budget and are not available to fund panel members.” Across West Yorkshire it has been suggested an average of the allowance paid to an overview and scrutiny committee chairman would be an appropriate amount, which is £11,500 a year.
Members of the Council are being asked to approve the extra cash at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 4pm.
Council leader, Councillor David Green, said it was another example of the Government passing the funding responsibility on to already-stretched local authorities.
“The Government announced how they were going to fund members of the board well after we did the budget. Clearly in the past the Police Authority had money available to it to pay councillors allowances who sat on the board.
“The Government has not included any of that in the police and crime panel allowances for a job that will be much more onerous because of the role of the commissioner and the role of councillors in overseeing those activities. The level of allowance for people doing this important job has been set on a West Yorkshire-wide basis, so we have had to identify additional funds to meet the cost.”
It comes after the Council agreed three months ago to changes in the amounts paid to some councillors in order to save around £100,000 a year.
The deadline for candidates to enter the race to be the first police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire is October 19. So far three people have declared their candidature: Mark Burns-Williamson for Labour, Geraldine Carter for the Conservatives, and Andrew Marchington for the Liberal Democrats.