Annual Review of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd
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Item for decision: Annual Review of the Determination (10:45 - 12:00)
· Paper 4 - Cover paper
· Paper 4a - Ways of working
· Paper 4b – Allowances
· Paper 4c - Salaries
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- The Board considered potential changes to the Determination for the next financial year (2023-24) for consultation.
- The Board agreed its approach to the consultation which will be published on 9 January and will run until 9 February.
- The Board agreed to hold an additional, virtual meeting soon after the end of the consultation period to consider responses received and any changes needed to its proposals in light of such responses, before meeting in March to agree final changes to the Determination for 2023-24.
Review of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd
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2.1 The Chair invited the Clerk to present a paper summarising responses received to the Board’s consultation on changes to the Determination for the Sixth Senedd. The Clerk also presented the Determination and Draft report on the review of the Determination to the Board for its approval.
2.2 The Chair excused herself from the second half of proceedings for this item. The Board agreed that Mike Redhouse would continue to Chair the meeting in her absence.
2.3 The Board considered and agreed proposed changes to the Determination for the Sixth Senedd, which included the following changes:
· The Board agreed to use the 2020-21 frozen salary as the base salary for Sixth Senedd;
· The Board agreed to apply the ASHE indexed increase of 2.4 per cent to that base salary, from the start of the Sixth Senedd;
· The Board agreed to introduce a ‘cap and collar’ mechanism to the indexing of Members’ salaries. This would introduce a maximum annual ASHE indexed increase of three per cent and rule out any decrease below zero per cent to Member and additional office holder salaries in the Sixth Senedd;
· The Board agreed that the current arrangements for residential accommodation expenditure were sufficient;
· The Board agreed to remove references to Brussels in provisions relating to travel to the European Union;
· The Board agreed proposals for the transfer of stationery costs and would allow Members to claim back the costs arising from changing the institution’s name from this allowance;
· The Board agreed to remove additional PRCF guidance and include the time limit regarding such use in Chapter 8 of the Determination (support for parties). The Board also agreed to insert a paragraph into the Determination making clear that the PRCF may not be used to pay the costs of printing and signage;
· The Board agreed proposals to introduce matching employer contributions into the support staff pension scheme and to encourage staff to take advantage of the new provision;
· The Board agreed proposals to amend the definition of political party;
· The Board agreed to insert new paragraphs into the Determination to enable support staff to take time off to undertake public duties, such as Jury Service.
2.4 The Board considered and agreed, subject to the above amendments, the Determination for the Sixth Senedd and the accompanying report.
2.5 The Board agreed its publication and communication strategy for the Determination for the Sixth Senedd and the accompanying report.
2.6 The Board considered responses to the consultation on the support staff contract. The Chair invited Joanna Adams to present outstanding issues for resolution.
2.7 The Board discussed proposed changes to the support staff contract and agreed to issue a letter to all Members and staff outlining changes to the contract, including how and when they will take effect.
Annual review of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd
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1.1 The Board agreed to postpone the discussion on support for Members’ security to the next meeting. It was agreed to consider the matters as part of a wider strategic discussion on the security support provided to Members in the Sixth Senedd.
1.2 The Board discussed proposals for consultation on the annual review of the Determination for the Sixth Senedd. The Board agreed to propose the following:
· In light of the current economic circumstances, having frozen Members’ salaries in 2019/20, the Board proposes:
o that for 2020/21 salaries, the Board’s decision to freeze salaries at the 2019/20 rate is maintained (i.e. not to the apply the 4.4 per cent increase in average earnings as received by other workers in Wales for the relevant year);
o for 2021/22 salaries, to apply to those frozen base salaries the increase in average earnings of 2.4 per cent as received by other workers in Wales for the relevant year – this means that Members’ base salary for the start of the Sixth Senedd will be £69,273, rather than the £72,321 as published in June 2020;
o introduce a maximum annual ASHE indexed increase of three per cent and rule out any decrease below zero per cent to Member and additional office holder salaries in the Sixth Senedd.
· Not to make any changes to the Residential Accommodation Expenditure allowance for the Sixth Senedd.
· Remove or substitute (as appropriate) all references to the European Union in the provisions in the Determination relating to Members’ travel.
· Move stationery costs in a cost-neutral way from the Senedd Commission to the Office and Constituent Liaison Fund. To reflect this, the Office and Constituent Liaison Costs allowance will be increased by £1,800 to £20,060 (or £6,712 where the Member works exclusively from Tŷ Hywel) for the start of the Sixth Senedd.
· Returning Members will be able to claim the costs arising from changing the institution’s name to Senedd, from the Office and Constituent Liaison Fund.
· Enhance the support staff pension scheme by introducing a matching employer contribution, whereby the employer will match the contributions paid by the employee up to a maximum amount of three percent of the employee’s salary.
· In relation to Members’ support staff pay in the Sixth Senedd, introduce a maximum annual ASHE indexed increase of three per cent and rule out any decrease below zero per cent.
· Remove the need for additional Board guidance on the Policy, Research and Communications Fund (“PRCF”). As with all spend under the Determination, the Accounting Officer’s Rules and Guidance on the Use of Senedd Resources will apply. As a consequential amendment, the Board proposes to include in the Determination an equivalent time limit regarding policy and research under the Support for Political Parties allowance, from four months before a general election (this is currently included as a rule in the Members’ PRCF but only in guidance for the Support for Political Parties allowance).
· Members may only fund the costs of printing and signage from the Office and Constituent Liaison Fund, ... view the full minutes text for item 2