The Remuneration Board met on 9 July 2020. The following is a summary of its discussions and decisions.

Supporting Members in responding to Covid-19

The Board reviewed expenditure and issues arising from Covid-19 and discussed any further steps it should take in supporting Members in responding to the pandemic. Further details on the Board’s discussions can be found in its letter to you dated 22 July 2020.

Security devices for Members and their offices

The Board further discussed issues regarding the provision of personal security devices. The Board considers that the safety of Members and their staff is a top priority. However, given the recent unusual circumstances and the restrictions to work from home the Board in unable, at this time, to consider appropriately as data usage is unavailable. The Board has agreed that no further devices will be issued at the present time and has agreed that the next Board considers the role of such devices as soon as possible.

Mohammad Ashgar

The Board was very sad to hear about the sudden passing of Mohammed Asghar MS. Oscar was a true friend to all and the Board always enjoyed their discussions on different matters with him, however serious the topic of conversation. The Board’s thoughts are with his family and colleagues at this time.

The Board also noted that the ​Laura Anne Jones has been returned as the Member of the Senedd for South Wales East and we wish her well in her new role.

Annual report for 2019-20

As you will be aware, the Board must publish an annual report on its activities and use of resources, as is required under section 11 of National Assembly for Wales (Remuneration) Measure 2010. The Board agreed its report for the past financial year which will be laid before the Senedd shortly.

The Board’s future

As this was the current Board’s last formal meeting, it considered issues arising for the future

The Board considers the Determination for the Sixth Senedd to be evidence of its work during its time in office. However, there are matters to which the Board has not been able to consider and as it would have liked due to various issues outside of its control and as such has agreed to ask its successor Board to consider early in the autumn term. As outlined to you in our update letter on 9 June 2020, there are a combination of issues that will need to be considered as part of the Board’s annual review of the Determination ahead of the next Senedd (such as office and residential accommodation rates for 2021-22), as well as ongoing issues from the current Board’s work such as centrally funded stationery costs.

The Board also considered a short independent report on the review of the Board’s effectiveness, looking at the Board’s working practices over the last five years. The Board is grateful to those who participated in the review. The Board considered the feedback outlined in the report and was pleased to note that the approach the Board has taken towards its work during its term had on the whole been welcomed by stakeholders. The Board agreed to make the report available as an annex to its annual report. In addition to this, the report’s recommendations will form the basis of a handover to the successor Board in order for it to consider any relevant feedback when it considers how it wishes to approach its work for its term in office.

And finally, as this was the current Board’s last formal meeting, it would like to take this opportunity to thank all Members and support staff who have engaged with its work over the past five years. It is the Independent Remuneration Board’s responsibility to ensure that those elected to the Senedd are remunerated appropriately and supported to undertake their duties effectively. The Board’s task in making its decision fit for purpose requires input and communication from both Members and support staff for which we have been very grateful. It has been a pleasure working with you and we would like to wish you all the very best for the future.