The Remuneration Board met on 21 May 2020. The following is a summary of its discussions and decisions.
Supporting Members in responding to Covid-19
The Board reviewed expenditure arising from Covid-19 and discussed any further steps it should take in supporting Members in responding to the pandemic. Further information arising from these discussions were outlined in our letter dated 9 June 2020.
Review of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd
The Board considered the final drafts of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd and the accompanying report. As you will be aware, the report was published on 4 June 2020.
Security devices for Members and their offices
The Board reviewed the provision of personal security devices to Members and discussed its previous decision to roll out these devices to Members’ offices as outlined to you in February. At the time, the Board agreed to fund one additional personal security device for each Member’s office (in addition to the devices that are provided to Members themselves). As you will be aware, these devices are yet to be rolled out and will not be provided until offices re-open following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Board takes the security of Members and their support staff very seriously. While such devices will be available to any office that requires them, the Board has agreed that the devices will be provided on demand to those who require them. As there is a limited amount of time left within this Senedd term, and without clarity on when offices will re-open, the Board is of the view that such an approach would provide best value for money for the taxpayer, while continuing to address any risks to Members and their staff. The Board also agreed to suggest to its successor Board that it reviews the provision of such devices to both Members and their offices ahead of the next Senedd term in May 2021.
Dissolution of the Sixth Senedd
The Board considered arrangements for use of resources funded by the Determination during the dissolution of the Sixth Senedd. Members who are standing down cease to receive remuneration at dissolution. However any rules governing the use of resources during dissolution are decided by the Senedd Commission.
The Determination provides for the maximum time for winding up offices to be three months. In run up to the 2016 election, the Board gave the steer that Members who have declared that they are standing down should wind up their offices within six weeks of the date of dissolution.
The Board considered this matter at its meeting and agreed it would share its view with the Commission that it would be prudent to suggest a similar approach for the 2021 election.
The Board’s legacy
As you may be aware, the current Board’s term of office concludes at the end of this summer. As such the Board has begun considering how it hands over its work to its successor Board.
As part of this process, the Board had an initial discussion over what issues it may wish to suggest that the next Board considers. These are a combination of issues that the next Board will have to consider as part of its annual review of the Determination ahead of the next Senedd (such as office rates for 2021-22), as well as ongoing issues from the current Board’s work. Another important component of this work is evaluating the working practices of the current Board and whether it has met the objectives it set itself at the start of its term. The Board will further consider these issues at its next meeting in July.