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Caerphilly County Borough councillors will be asked their views over whether or not they should get taxpayer-funded mobile phones.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, raised the issue during a Democratic and Services Committee meeting, held on Monday, November 22.
The committee was discussing a draft report by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales which is recommending a £2,400 pay rise.
Cllr Mann, who represents the Llanbradach ward for plaid Cymru, said there were already several councils in Wales providing its members with a mobile phone – enabling them to access council work emails on the go.
Cllr Adrian Hussey, who represents Newbridge for Labour, disagreed and said: “I have had my council emails coming through my [personal] phone for about three years … and personally I do not think councillors need to have a phone supplied by a council because most people have got a mobile phone.”
While Cllr Mann conceded it was possible to access council emails on a personal device via a software download, he said there are a lot of councillors who didn’t want to “mix up” council business with their personal business.
Cllr Gez Kirby, who represents Pontllanfraith for Labour, said polling members on the issue was a good idea to find out what their views are.
Members of the committee agreed that all councillors should be asked whether they would want a work phone, the results of this poll will be presented at the next Democratic Services Committee meeting.
What are the proposed pay increases?
Councillors are paid a part-time allowance for their work representing their areas. This is based on a maximum of three days a week.
The current allowance for a backbench councillor (one that does not have an extra responsibility) is £14,386, but the Independent Remuneration panel for Wales has suggested an increase to £16,800.
The proposed pay rise is to ensure a councillor’s salary meets the average earnings of a person in Wales, with the aim of making the role more appealing.
Council leaders and other senior members could also see pay increases. In Caerphilly County Borough Council’s case, this could see the leader’s salary jump from £49,974 a year to £56,700.
The deputy leader would see an increase to £39,690 from £35,320, while cabinet members would go from £30,773 to £34,020. Committee chairs and leaders of the largest opposition group would get £25,593 – up from the current £23,161.
What is Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet?
A council’s cabinet is made up of councillors in charge of different policy areas – such as education, environment, local economy, etc – and a leader.
It is separate to the council’s corporate management structure, which is headed up by its chief executive and various directors. Cabinet is made up of councillors, who are elected and have the ultimate say.
Typically, cabinet members are councillors from the party with the most elected council members.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet is made up of:
- Cllr Philippa Marsden (Ynysddu) – Leader
- Cllr Jamie Pritchard (Morgan Jones) – Deputy Leader; Infrastructure, Towns and Property
- Cllr Colin Gordon (Pontllanfraith) – Corporate services
- Cllr Eluned Stenner (New Tredegar) – Customer, Performance and Property Services
- Cllr Ross Whiting (Risca West) – Learning and Leisure
- Cllr Shayne Cook (Morgan Jones) – Social Care and Housing
- Cllr Nigel George (Risca East) – Waste, Public Protection and Street Scene
- Cllr Andrew Whitcombe (Abercarn) – Sustainability, Planning and Fleet
Corporate management is made up of unelected employees of the council and has responsibility for day-to-day management of services, such as making sure the bins are collected. Corporate directors work with cabinet members to come up with policy which is then agreed upon by the cabinet.
Last updated November 9, 2021
Councillors’ basic allowances are included in these figures.
The panel is currently consulting with councils on the proposals until November 26 and will publish its final report next year.
Any increases in allowances and salaries will come into effect after the council elections in May 2022.
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