The Remuneration Board met on 19 September 2019. The following is a summary of its discussions and decisions.
Review of the Determination for the Sixth Assembly
The Board’s review of the Determination ahead of the next Assembly is progressing and the majority of the September meeting was spent discussing the different issues arising from the review as outlined below:
This part of the review focuses on support for Assembly Members and support for Political Parties. The consultation was published following the July meeting and we look forward to hearing your views. The closing date for responses is 11 October 2019.
The Board considered updates on the Political Parties Support Allowance and the Employment of Political Group Staff in order to consider whether any changes are required. The Board considers that current arrangements whereby Political Group staff are employed by Group Leaders are appropriate and is not proposing any changes at this time.
The Board also considered whether the current funding model for Political Parties Support Allowance continued to meet its objectives, as set out by the previous Board. In light of the potential for further Assembly reform in the next Assembly term, the Board considered that any significant re-thinking of the model would be more appropriately done at that point.
The Board further considered the provisions which fall under part three of its review of the Determination focusing on salaries of Members, office holders, those leaving office and additional support. The Board agreed to issue a consultation on the proposals arising from this part of its review shortly and that the consultation would close in early November. The Board noted that the Assembly Commission is responsible for providing outplacement services for Members leaving office and their Support Staff. It agreed to write to the Commission to ask it to consider widening the scope of the outplacement services for those Members deciding to leave office and not stand for election.
Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill
The Board was provided with an update on constitutional change in the Assembly. The Board discussed the most recent activity with regards to the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill and will continue to monitor developments on the Bill’s passage. It will consider matters arising from the Bill which fall within its remit in due course.
Committee on Assembly Electoral Reform
The Board noted that the Assembly had decided to establish a Committee on Assembly Electoral Reform, and that it would take decisions on the Committee’s size and membership in due course. On the basis that the Committee’s work will be potentially complex and of a politically sensitive nature, the Board agreed that the Chair of the new Committee should be remunerated at the higher rate.
Chair of the Pension Board
The Board considered the arrangements for the appointment of the Independent Chair of the Pension Board from May 2020.
Engagement with Members and support staff
The Board hosted a successful pop-up event for Members on Wednesday 18 September and met with a dozen or so Members and support staff to discuss issues covered by the Determination. The Board is always keen to hear your views and I would like to thank Members and support staff for their participation and engagement with us. Representative group meetings will be held ahead of the November Board meeting and details will be circulated shortly.