Five county councillors - fresh from 30 per cent rise in allowances - set to receive extra £5,000 a year as ‘community champions’

PUBLISHED: 16:18 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 18:10 11 August 2017

The five Camnbridgeshie councillors expected to be named as the £5,000 a year 'area champions': 
Left: Lina Joseph, South Cambs (Con); Right: From top; David Wells, Huntingdon (Con); Elisa Meschini, Cambridge (Lab); Steve Tierney, Fenland/Wisbech (Con); and Lis Every, Ely/East Cambs (Con)

The five Camnbridgeshie councillors expected to be named as the £5,000 a year 'area champions': Left: Lina Joseph, South Cambs (Con); Right: From top; David Wells, Huntingdon (Con); Elisa Meschini, Cambridge (Lab); Steve Tierney, Fenland/Wisbech (Con); and Lis Every, Ely/East Cambs (Con)

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Five county councillors – fresh from enjoying their 30 per cent rise in allowances – are set to get an extra £5,000 a year.

Chart shows the allowances now approved by Cambridgeshire County Council alongside the recommendations of the independent remuneration panel Chart shows the allowances now approved by Cambridgeshire County Council alongside the recommendations of the independent remuneration panel

The money will be paid on top of the new basic allowance of £10,315 as opposed to £8,600 recommended by an independent review panel.

The decision to appoint them as ‘area community champions’ was one of the little reported elements of leader Steve Count’s bulldozing through of a new package of payments last month.

The five are expected to be Lina Joseph, South Cambs (Con); David Wells, Huntingdon (Con); Elisa Meschini, Cambridge (Lab); Steve Tierney, Wisbech/Fenland (Con) and Lis Every, Ely/East Cambs (Con). A council spokesman said the new area champions had yet to be announced but would be officially appointed by the communities and partnership committee on August 24.

Cllr Count criticised the independent remuneration panel for refusing to recommend an extra responsibility allowance for the area champions.

Councillor Steve Count Councillor Steve Count

The panel said it had not recommended extra for these posts since the job descriptions were not available at the time they met.

The panel concluded that “this should not be interpreted as a rejection of those roles rather we did not feel we had received sufficient information or evidence to enable us to have the confidence to form a recommendation.”

They said they were up to re-considering these roles “once they have been established for some time”.

But Cllr Count said it was “unfortunate the panel has taken this approach to the speed at which information was made available”.

He said officers were available and more information was to hand when the panel met.

Cllr Count said: “It is not appropriate to ask councillors to take on significant extra duties and then be ‘established for some time’ before considering potential financial hardship”.

“Therefore this council believes this is also at odds with the guidance and that the duties ascribed to this role fall between that of a regulatory chair and a minor party opposition leader.”

Cllr Count said elected councillors spend an average of 20 to 30 hours per week carrying out their duties, and until the changes received a basic allowance in Cambridgeshire of just over £7,933 per annum, the lowest in the country.

The leader told councillors that the independent panel’s report was “fundamentally flawed” and could not therefore command respect.

3 comments

  • I don't understand this. I had thought that all County Councillors were elected to be 'community champions.' And why all the additional pay in any case?

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    Geoffrey Woollard

    Sunday, August 13, 2017

  • One has to wonder at the front of these tories, they have restricted allowances of the opposition leaders and voted for a sum of £5000 for community champions, they did of course give one of these posts to a token Labour Councillor. These allowances weren't even considered by the independent panel which doesn't really matter as they would have been ignored on this issue as well as the rest of their proposals. I thought that all councillors were champions for their communities, which is why they were elected, and therefore should be unnecessary to select certain individuals for these roles. Someone once said the higher up the tree the monkey climbs the more you see its backside. There are quite a lot of tory backsides being displayed at the moment.

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    contramundum

    Friday, August 11, 2017

  • The claims that county councillor's work 20 to 30 hours a week need challenging. I am sure some do but what of those who are also District and Town councillor's and have a full time job. The figures just don't add up. A district councillor often has as big a workload as a county councillor so that's 60 hours. Plus another 10 for the unpaid town councillor role, that 70 hours. Then let's say 35 hours for paid work that's 105. Add to that 35 hours sleep and 10 hours for meals, that's 150 hours. There are a 168 hours in a week leaving only 18 hours for family, friends etc and travel. To quote Victor Meldrew, I just don't believe it! Cllr Count (editor, check spelling) is just trying to justify his greed and that of the majority of his Tory colleagues.

    Report this comment

    Bob Smith

    Friday, August 11, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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