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Payments to Councillors Scheme

Scheme of Allowances Payable to Councillors - 2023

This Scheme is made under the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019.  The scheme has been prepared in accordance with Department for Communities Local Government Circular LG 03/2023 “Consolidated Councillor Allowances Circular – Updated January 2023”, issued in January 2023

The information published on this page is also available as a downloadable pdf (93 KB).

1. Definitions

In this scheme

  • ‘Approved duty’ and ‘committee member’ are as defined in the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019.
  • ‘Department’ means the Department for Communities;
  • ‘Guidance’ means the Department for Communities Councillors’ Allowances Guidance for District Councils in Northern Ireland, issued in September 2019; and
  • ‘Regulations’ means the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019.

2. Commencement Date

This scheme of allowances shall be operational from 1 April 2023.

3. Basic Allowance

3.1   An annual basic allowance of £16,394 shall be paid to each councillor. Where applicable this will be paid pro-rata.

3.2   No council may pay more than one basic allowance to a councillor.

3.3   Basic allowance is intended to recognise the full time commitment of councillors, including such inevitable calls on their time as meetings with officers and constituents.

3.4   The basic allowance is intended to cover incidental costs incurred by councillors in their official capacity, such as the use of their homes, office consumables and cost of mobile phone calls.

3.5   In circumstances where a councillor is suspended from carrying out the duties of a councillor in accordance with section 59(5) or section 60(1) of the Local Government Act (NI) 2014, the part of the basic allowance payable to the councillor in respect of the period for which the councillor is suspended should be withheld.

4. Special Responsibility Allowance

4.1   A special responsibility allowance shall be paid to those councillors who hold the special responsibilities specified in Schedule 1.

4.2   The amount of allowance shall be the amount specified against that special responsibility in the Schedule. The allowance is only payable whilst the councillor is carrying out that duty.

4.3   At any time, only one special responsibility allowance will be paid to a councillor.

4.4   In circumstances where a councillor is suspended from carrying out the duties of a councillor in accordance with section 59(5) or section 60(1) of the Local Government Act (NI) 2014, any SRA payable to the councillor in respect of the period for which the councillor is suspended should be withheld.

5. Mayor/Deputy Mayor Allowance

5.1   An allowance of £1,000 per month will be payable to the Mayor of the council.

5.2   An allowance of £650 per month will be payable to the Deputy Mayor of the council.

5.3   The Department advises that any Mayor/Deputy Mayor Allowance should be considered totally separate from SRA arrangements.

6. Dependants’ Carers’ Allowance

6.1   Councillors are entitled to claim a dependants’ carers’ allowance towards reimbursement of actual reasonable costs necessarily incurred in providing care for an eligible dependant, while carrying out an approved duty.

6.2   The allowance may be paid for a dependant who requires full-time care and who resides with the councillor as part of that household.

6.3   A dependant is defined as:

  • a child under 16 years old;
  • a child 16 years old or more, where there is medical or social work evidence that full-time care is required; date
  • an adult with a recognised physical or mental disability where there is medical or social work evidence that full-time care is required; or
  • an elderly relative requiring full-time care.

6.4   For the purposes of this allowance, a carer is defined as a responsible person over 16 years’ old who does not normally live with the councillor as part of that household; and is not a parent/guardian of the dependent child.

6.5   A specialist carer is defined as a qualified person who is needed where it is essential to have professional assistance.  In these circumstances a receipt must be attached to the claim.

6.6   A dependants’ carers’ allowance shall be payable based upon actual receipted costs or at the appropriate hourly rate, whichever is the lower; up to the monthly maximum.

6.7(a) TThe effective hourly rate valid from the 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 for dependants’ carers’ allowance for standard care shall be £10.90, and for specialised care £20.84. The monthly maximum for standard care payable is £542, and the monthly maximum for specialised care is £1,084.

6.7(b) Councillors may claim only one dependants’ carers’ allowance in respect of each occurrence of approved duty. Only one dependants’ carers’ allowance rate is payable even if there are 2 or more children/dependants being cared for.

7. Travel and Subsistence Allowances

7.1   A councillor or committee member shall be entitled to claim travel and subsistence allowances where expenditure on travelling or subsistence has been necessarily incurred in connection with an approved duty as specified in Schedule 2. The amount claimed should not exceed expense incurred.

7.2   The maximum rates of travel and subsistence are determined by the Department following consultation with the Northern Ireland Joint Council for Local Government Services.

7.3   The rates of travel allowance for travel by private vehicle shall be as shown in the table below.

Type of Vehicle

Rate per Mile

A pedal cycle

20.0p

A motor cycle (all engine capacities)

24.0p

A motor car of cylinder capacity exceeding 450cc but not exceeding 999cc

46.9p

*13.7p

A motor car of cylinder capacity exceeding 999cc but not exceeding 1,199cc

52.2p

*14.4p

A motor car of cylinder capacity exceeding 1,199cc

65.0p

*16.4p

An electric car

45.0p

**25.0p

Passenger rate

5.0p

*For mileage above 8,500 miles

**For mileage above 10,000 miles

7.4 The rates of subsistence shall be as shown in the table below.

Period/Meal

Rates

 

British Isles

£

London

£

Overnight allowance - An absence involving an overnight stay, away from the normal place of residence. This rate does not include any meal allowance.

100.70

122.45

Breakfast allowance - (more than 4 hours away from the normal place of residence or, where approved by the council, a lesser period before 11 am)

11.50

Lunch allowance - (more than 4 hours away from the normal place of residence or, where approved by the council, a lesser period including the period between 12 noon and 2pm)

13.50

Tea allowance - (more than 4 hours away from the normal place of residence or, where approved by the council, a lesser period including the period between 3pm and 6pm)

4.70

Evening meal allowance - (more than 4 hours away from the normal place of residence or, where approved by the council, a lesser period ending after 7pm)

20.95

8. General

8.1   This scheme may be revoked or amended at any time.

8.2   The amounts stated in paragraph 6 will be subject to any increase to the minimum wage for 21+.

9. Claims and Payment

9.1   Payments regarding basic allowance and special responsibility allowance shall be made monthly three clear banking days before month end.

9.2   Claims for dependants’ carers’ allowance, travelling allowance or subsistence allowance should be made in writing within three months, and should be accompanied by receipts, where appropriate.

9.3   This Scheme of Allowances should be read in conjunction with Local Government Circular LG 03/2023 Councillors’ Allowance Guidance which contains details on the applicable criteria for awarding each allowance.

10. Renunciations

10.1 Councillors may, if they wish, renounce all or part of their entitlement to basic, chairperson, vice chairperson or special responsibility allowances. They can do this in writing to the Chief Executive. A Councillor can subsequently withdraw the renunciation. They can also amend a renunciation (for example, to limit it to one kind of allowance only). The withdrawal or amendment cannot have retrospective effect.

It is recommended that this should be an administrative arrangement for the council with political party arrangement.

11. Review

11.1 The Scheme of Allowances Payable to Councillors will be subject to revision and review in accordance with any Departmental Circulars issued throughout the year.

SCHEDULE 1 to the Scheme of Allowances

The following table provides details of the council’s duties which attract a Special Responsibility Allowance and the associated allowance amount.

Special Responsibility

Special Responsibility Allowance Rate (£)

Chair of Policy and Resources Committee

£500 per month

Vice-Chair of Policy and Resources Committee

£300 per month

Chair of Audit and Scrutiny Committee

£500 per month

Vice-Chair of Audit and Scrutiny Committee

£300 per month

Chair of Planning Committee

£500 per month

Vice-Chair of Planning Committee

£300 per month

Chair of Direct Services Committee

£500 per month

Vice-Chair of Direct Services Committee

£300 per month

Chair of Borough Growth Committee

£500 per month

Vice-Chair of Borough Growth Committee

£300 per month

Partnership Panel Representative

£357 per meeting

Group Party Leader

£40 per month

SCHEDULE 2

In accordance with Regulations, only the following are specified as the duties in respect of which basic allowance, dependants’ carers’ allowances, and travel and subsistence allowances are available.

  1. attendance at a meeting of the council;
  2. attendance at a meeting of a committee of the council;
  3. attendance at a meeting of a sub-committee of the council;
  4. attendance at a meeting of a joint committee;
  5. attendance at a meeting of a sub-committee of a joint committee;
  6. attendance at a meeting of a group committee established under the provisions of the Local Government (Employment of Group Building Control Staff) (Northern Ireland) 1994 or the Local Government (Employment of Group Environmental Health Staff) Order (Northern Ireland) 1994; or
  7. the doing of anything approved by a council or anything of a class so approved, for the purpose of, or in connection with, the discharge of the functions of the council, or any of its committees or sub-committees, or as the case may be, of the joint committee or any of its sub-committees.

Regarding point 7, specific duties approved by the Council are:

Type of Activity regarding Point Number 7

Working Groups of Council

Courses / Conferences / Seminars / Training approved by Council

Pre-Council Committee meetings with Council Officers

Meetings with Chief Executive / Council Officers

 

Meetings of Outside Boards/Committees/Partnerships/Groups:

  • Policing and Community Safety Partnership
  • Northern Ireland Housing Council
  • Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Northern Ireland
  • Arc21
  • Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)
  • Ballygally Community Development Association Board Ltd
  • Ballymena Academy Board of Governors
  • Ballymena BID Board
  • Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency
  • Carrickfergus Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) Board
  • Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust
  • Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust – Management Group AONB
  • Coastal Management Forum
  • Dementia Friendly Communities Steering Group – Northern Area
  • Doury Road Forum (Building Successful Communities)
  • Greenisland Regeneration Steering Group
  • iESE (Improvement and Efficiency Social Enterprise)
  • International Appalachian Trail
  • Knockagh Monument Joint Committee
  • Larne Academy of Sport
  • Local Government Forum
  • Lough Neagh Partnership
  • Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership
  • Mid & East Antrim Community Advice Services
  • Mid & East Antrim ‘In Bloom’ Partnership
  • Mid & East Antrim Local Action Group
  • National Association of Councillors
  • North Channel Partnership
  • Northern Ireland Amenity Council
  • Northern Ireland Local Government Association
  • Northern Ireland Local Government Partnership on Travellers’ Issues
  • Northern Ireland Museums Council
  • Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership(NISMP)/NILGA Sustainable Communities and Demographics Working Partnership
  • PEACE IV Partnership
  • Somme Association
  • Whitehead Regeneration Group

** Working Groups / Sub-Groups of the above**

 

Other duties in connection with the discharge of the functions of Council approved by the Chief Executive

 

This list may be added to, amended or reduced during the course of the year in line with Council approval.