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Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

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PART 1GENERAL

Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and shall come into operation on 1st April 2012.

Interpretation

2.  In these Regulations—

the Act” means the Local Government Finance Act (Northern Ireland) 2011;

“approved duty” means any of the following duties—

(a)

attendance at a meeting of a council, or any of its committees or sub-committees, or at a meeting of a joint committee or any of its sub-committees, or at a meeting of a group committee established under the provisions of the Local Government (Employment of Group Building Control Staff) Order (Northern Ireland) 1994(1) or the Local Government (Employment of Group Environmental Health Staff) Order (Northern Ireland) 1994(2); or

(b)

the doing of anything approved by a council or, as the case may be, by a joint committee, 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,

and shall not include a site visit;

“committee member” means a person, not being a councillor, appointed to a committee or a sub-committee of a council, or to a joint committee or a sub-committee of a joint committee, under sections 18 or 19 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972(3);

“councillor” means a member of a council;

the Department” means the Department of the Environment;

“site visit” means a visit made by a councillor in connection with an application for planning permission—

(a)

which has been referred to a council for consultation under Article 15(a) of the Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 1993(4); or

(b)

at the request of the applicant for that planning permission, or the agent of an applicant, or at the request of an objector to that application; and

“year” means the period of 12 months ending on 31st March in any year after the coming into operation of these Regulations.

PART 2SCHEMES FOR COUNCILLORS’ ALLOWANCES

Scheme of allowances

3.—(1) A council shall make a scheme in accordance with these Regulations for the payment of allowances to councillors and committee members in respect of each year.

(2) A scheme must specify in respect of any year to which it relates the amount of, or means to ascertain the amount of,—

(a)basic allowance; and

(b)special responsibility allowance and, where different amounts apply to different responsibilities, the amount or means to ascertain the amount applicable to each.

(3) The scheme shall also make provision for the following allowances if the council intends to make such payments in respect of the year—

(a)dependants’ carers’ allowance; and

(b)travel and subsistence allowances.

(4) A scheme may provide for payments of allowances to be made at such times as may be specified in it and different times may be specified for different allowances.

(5) A scheme may be amended or revoked at any time.

(6) When a scheme is revoked in accordance with this regulation, a council shall, before the revocation takes effect, make a further scheme for the period beginning with the date on which the revocation takes effect and ending at the end of the year in question.

Basic allowance

4.—(1) A council may make a payment to each councillor by way of an allowance (“basic allowance”) for, or in relation to anything done in connection with, service as a councillor, including an approved duty.

(2) The amount of basic allowance shall be determined by the council.

(3) Subject to paragraph (5), the amount of basic allowance shall be the same for each councillor.

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), where the term of office of a councillor begins or ends otherwise than at the beginning or end of a year, the entitlement to payment of such part of the basic allowance shall be the relevant proportionate amount of the yearly rate.

(5) For any period, in relation to any year, during which a councillor who is also—

(a)a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly;

(b)a member of the House of Lords;

(c)a member of Parliament; or

(d)a member of the European Parliament,

is entitled to receive basic allowance, by virtue of paragraphs (1) to (4), the amount of basic allowance payable to the councillor shall be reduced by two thirds.

Special responsibility allowance

5.—(1) A council may, in addition to any allowance under regulation 4, make a payment to a councillor by way of an allowance (“special responsibility allowance”), if the council is satisfied that the councillor has special responsibilities in relation to the discharge of the functions of the council.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4), the amount of the special responsibility allowance shall be determined by the council.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), where any period, for which the councillor is entitled to a special responsibility allowance, is less than a year, the amount payable for the period shall be the relevant proportionate part of the yearly rate.

(4) For any period, in relation to any year, during which a councillor who is also—

(a)a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly;

(b)a member of the House of Lords;

(c)a member of Parliament; or

(d)a member of the European Parliament,

is entitled by virtue of paragraphs (1) to (3) to receive special responsibility allowance, the amount of special responsibility allowance payable to the councillor shall be reduced by two thirds.

(5) Subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), a special responsibility allowance may not be paid to more than fifty per cent of the councillors of the council (calculated using the total number of seats on the council and by rounding up the number of councillors to the next whole number when, in calculating the percentage, the number is not a whole number).

(6) A special responsibility allowance paid to the chairman or vice-chairman of the council is excluded from the calculation in paragraph (5).

(7) A council may, where it considers it necessary to do so, apply to the Department for permission to pay a special responsibility allowance to more than fifty per cent of its councillors.

(8) A council may not pay more than one special responsibility allowance to a councillor.

Dependants’ carers’ allowance

6.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) to (4), a council may, in addition to any allowance under regulations 4 and 5, make a payment to a councillor by way of an allowance (“dependants’ carers’ allowance”), in respect of such expenses of arranging for the care of their children or dependants as are necessarily incurred in respect of the performance of any approved duty.

(2) The amount of dependants’ carers’ allowance shall be determined by the council.

(3) The amount of dependants’ carers’ allowance payable by the council shall be the lesser of—

(a)the actual expenses of arranging care of their children or dependants as are necessarily incurred in respect of the performance of any approved duty; or

(b)such amount as is determined by the council.

(4) The council shall not make any payment under this regulation —

(a)in respect of any child over the age of fifteen years, or any dependant, unless the councillor satisfies the council that the child or dependant required supervision which incurred expenses that were necessary in respect of the care of that child or dependant in the carrying out of an approved duty;

(b)to more than one councillor in relation to the care of the same child or dependant; or

(c)of more than one dependants’ carers’ allowance to any councillor.

Travel and subsistence allowances

7.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a councillor or committee member shall be entitled to receive payment by way of—

(a)travel allowance in accordance with the rules in Schedule 1; and

(b)subsistence allowance in accordance with the rules in Schedule 2,

where expenditure on travel or on subsistence is necessarily incurred in the carrying out of an approved duty.

(2) The rate of allowance determined under paragraph (1) by a council shall be the same for all councillors or committee members entitled to the relevant allowance, and for every approved duty in respect of which it is payable.

(3) Any claim for payment of travel and subsistence allowances in accordance with these Regulations (excluding claims for travel by means of a private motor vehicle) shall be accompanied by appropriate receipts proving actual expenses, subject to any requirement or limitation that a council may determine.

(4) For the purpose of paragraph (3), a councillor or committee member’s private motor vehicle includes a vehicle belonging to a family member or otherwise provided for use by the councillor or committee member.

PART 3ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

Claims for allowances

8.—(1) A councillor entitled to an allowance under regulation 6 shall make a claim for such allowance, in such form as the council may direct, to the clerk of the council and shall make a declaration that—

(a)there has not been and will not be any claim submitted to any other body in respect of the dependants’ carers’ allowance to which the claim relates;

(b)the amounts claimed are strictly in accordance with these Regulations;

(c)the care to which the claim relates has been provided;

(d)the costs to which the claim relates have necessarily been incurred; and

(e)the costs to which the claim relates have been paid by the councillor.

(2) A councillor or committee member entitled to an allowance under regulation 7 shall make a claim for such an allowance, in such form as the council may direct, to the clerk of the council, and shall make a declaration that there has not been and will not be any claim for allowances from any other body in respect of the travel and subsistence to which the claim relates.

Time for submission of claims

9.  A claim for any allowance under regulation 6 or regulation 7 shall be submitted within 3 months from the date on which the approved duty was performed.

Records of allowances

10.—(1) A council shall keep a record of the payments made by it in accordance with these Regulations or any scheme made pursuant to them.

(2) Such record must—

(a)specify the name of the recipient and the amount and nature of each payment; and

(b)be available, at all times, for inspection (free of charge) by any interested person.

(3) A person who is entitled to inspect a record under paragraph (2) may make a copy of any part of it on payment of such reasonable fee as may be required by the council.

(4) In this regulation, “interested person” means—

(a)a local elector for the district of the council to which the scheme relates;

(b)a person liable for rates in respect of any hereditament situated in that district; or

(c)a representative of a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) or (b).

Publicity

11.—(1) A council shall, as soon as practicable after the making or amendment of any scheme of payments made pursuant to these Regulations—

(a)arrange for a copy of the scheme to be published on its website; and

(b)make such other arrangements for the publication of the scheme within the district of the council as it considers appropriate.

(2) As soon as practicable after the end of a year to which a scheme relates, a council shall make arrangements for the publication on the council website of the total sum paid in that year to each councillor in respect of each of the following—

(a)basic allowance;

(b)special responsibility allowance; and

(c)dependants’ carers’ allowance.

(3) As soon as practicable after the end of a year to which a scheme relates, a council shall make arrangements for the publication on the council website of the total sum paid in that year to each councillor or committee member in respect of travel and subsistence.

Amendments to the Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

12.—(1) The Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009(5) shall be amended in accordance with paragraph (2).

(2) In the Schedule (councillor members), in paragraph 1—

(a)in regulation 4(1) for the words “the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999” substitute “the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012”; and

(b)in regulation 4(2) for the words “in regulations 3 and 5 respectively of the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999” substitute “in regulations 4 and 5 respectively of the Local Government (Payments to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012”.

Revocations and savings

13.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) the Regulations specified in Schedule 3 are revoked.

(2) The Regulations specified in Schedule 3 shall continue to have effect in relation to claims made for allowances or other payments in respect of duties performed before these Regulations come into operation.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of the Environment on 2nd March 2012

Legal seal

Linda MacHugh

A senior officer of the Department of the Environment

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