Mid Suffolk District council cancel or reschedule one third of committee meetings while member allowances remain highest on record
- Credit: Archant
The council cancelled 15 of its 50 committee meetings in 2017, despite councillors’ basic pay rising year on year, with member allowances standing at a total £271,000 in 2016/17, up from £250,000 in 2015/16 and £235,000 in 2014/15.
Mid Suffolk District Council cancelled or rescheduled a third of its committee meetings in 2017, while members’ allowances remain at the highest level on record.
The council cancelled 15 of its 50 committee meetings in 2017, including 3 out of 4 meetings of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee.
This is despite councillors’ basic pay rising year on year, with member allowances standing at a total £271,000 in 2016/17, up from £250,000 in 2015/16 and £235,000 in 2014/15.
Just under a third of meetings of the Development and Control Committee A were cut, and in four of 10 cases the Planning Referrals Committee scrapped their agenda.
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The council has also already cancelled two of the five committee meetings scheduled to take place in 2018.
However a spokesperson for the council clarified that, despite any changes, all business was conducted as planned in some format.
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Janice Robinson, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Corporate Manager – Democratic Services, said:
“We do publish planned council dates far in advance of the meetings and occasionally when the planned dates arrive there is no relevant business for the committee to consider, or it has been felt appropriate to refer the business to another body, the meeting is cancelled or rescheduled.
“However all council business is conducted and put before our members and the debate in council meetings themselves is just the end result of long and time consuming work by our members outside the chamber.
“A recent survey of our Members found that over 70 per cent commit more than 15 hours a week to their role – a great deal of time, especially of those members also in full time employment themselves – with over 20 per cent spending more than 25 hours a week on council business.
“Allowances are paid to members, in recognition of the expenses incurred in their role. The level of these allowances is set by an Independent Remuneration Panel, none of the members of which are councillors, and which compares allowances levels across Suffolk when making their decisions.”
This data excludes figures for full council meetings, cabinet meetings, and joint committee meetings.