Agenda and minutes
Contact: Clerk of the Remuneration Board
(9:30 – 9:45)
1.1 The Chair welcomed Board members to the
1.2 The Board agreed the minutes of the meeting
on 24 March 2016.
1.3 Board members conveyed their thanks to
Gwion Evans who had moved from his role as Clerk of the Board to support the
1.4 The Board also wished John Chick well on
his career break for 12 months.
1.5 The Board agreed to consider the update
from MBS as its first item on the agenda for today’s meeting.
(9:45 – 10:00)
Introduction to the Independent Chair of the Pension Board
(10:00 – 10:15)
Update and consideration of the Board's work programme
The Board considered a paper outlining the work scheduled to be undertaken and
forthcoming key decision required. The Board considered the work plan for the
spring/summer term 2016.
Board member provided their views on the drop-in session held during the
Plenary session on 6 July. The Board agreed that it was a useful exercise and
that it should be repeated in the future to enhance relations with Assembly
The Board discussed the implications of the Enterprise Act 2016 . The Act imposes restrictions on “exit
payments” to, among others, Assembly Members and members of the Welsh
Government. At its previous meeting, the Board agreed to monitor discussions on
how the arrangements under the Act will work in practice and to receive regular
Subject to the response to matters raised by the Presiding Officer with the UK
and Welsh Government, the Board agreed to write to the Secretary of State for
Business, Innovation and Skills to raise concerns about provision in Part 9 of
the Act , which conflict with the remit of the Remuneration Board and other
remuneration panels in the UK.
The Board agreed that protection of the independence of the Board was a
requirement of the legislation which
established the Board.
The Board noted that the final pension scheme rules, including the contribution
rate agreed by the Board, have been approved by HM Treasury.
The content of the new pension scheme rules have been communicated to Assembly
Members via the document ‘The new Pension Scheme – what you need to know’.
The Board agreed to consider dates for meetings after March 2017. The
Secretariat to propose dates to Board members in May, July, September and
November in 2017 and January and March 2018.
(10:15 – 10:45)
Item for decision: Consideration of draft Remuneration Board Annual Report 2015-16
Subject to previous Board members approving the budget expenditure, the Board
agreed its annual report 2015-16, which would be published before the summer
(11:00 – 11:15)
Item for decision: Appointment of Pension Board
The Board formally appointed the membership of the Pension Board for the
Assembly Member Pension Scheme:
• Jill Youds (Independent Chair) – from
the start of the fifth Assembly
• Gareth Jones (Former Plaid Cymru Assembly
Member) – from the start of the fifth Assembly
• Mike Hedges (Labour Assembly Member) –
from the start of the fifth Assembly
• Suzy Davies (Conservative Assembly
Member and Assembly Commissioner)
• Director of Finance, Assembly Commission
(currently vacant, to be appointed).
The Board had some reservations regarding the appointment of an Assembly
Commission employee on the Pension Board, in particular if there is a scenario
where they have to make individual decisions about Assembly Members. The Board
agreed to seek assurances from the Commission about this approach.
• Head of Pensions to formally notify the
Assembly Commission of the Board’s appointment.
• The Board agreed to write to the
Assembly Commission Chief Executive and Clerk regarding the Assembly
Commission’s representation on the Board.
(11:15 – 12:00)
Item for decision: AM pensions: Consideration of roles and responsibilities relating to the Pension Scheme and Memorandum of Understanding with the Pension Board
The Board considered and agreed the roles and responsibilities as set out in
the Memorandum of Understanding between the Board and the Pension Board
The Board noted that the new Pension Board would consider the document at its
first meeting on 11 July. The document will also be counter-signed by the Chief
Executive of the Assembly as Accounting Officer.
The Board agreed the demographic assumptions which will be used to set the
employer cost cap for the Assembly Members’ pension scheme. The new Pension
Board will consider the assumptions at its meeting on 11 July.
(13:00 – 13:45)
Consideration of latest issues raised with Members' Business Support
The Board considered a paper outlining the impact of the new Determination and
other matters that have arisen since the start of the Fifth Assembly. The Board
made these decisions based on the remit and responsibilities set out in the Remuneration
The Board noted that the Determination does not provide Members whose main home
is not within Wales with the same support as is available to other Members to
exercise the office to which they have been elected by the people of Wales.
The Board noted that neither Welsh Legislation or electoral law identify any
residential qualification to stand for election as an Assembly Member.
The Board agreed that it should ensure that all Assembly Members have
appropriate and reasonable resource in place to represent their constituents to
the very best of their ability.
The Board considered its approach to consultation. The Board agreed to consult
Assembly Members and the public.
The Board agreed to consider the responses to the consultation and make a
decision outside Board meetings in order for a decision to be implemented as
close as possible to the beginning of the autumn term 2016.
The Board noted that New Members are entitled to make a one-off
requisition for office furniture to equip their new office, to a maximum cost
Members’ Business Support have had representations to expand this definition
beyond furnishings to cover items not payable by the landlord but admissible
within the office costs budget that improve the working environment for staff
Board members agreed that MBS should have additional flexibility in
interpreting the definition of the furniture allowance for Members in this way.
Security in constituency and
The Board noted that, following the tragic death of Jo Cox MP, the Assembly
Commission had requested a briefing paper on the current security provisions
for Assembly Members, particularly the support available when they are away
from the Assembly estate. The Board noted that many simple precautions could be
made to ensure the safety and security of Assembly Members.
Board Members indicated that they would prioritise any security matters
highlighted by the Assembly Commission which were within the Board’s remit.
Individual Business Cases
The Board considered individual Business Cases from Members’ in response to
their exceptional circumstances.
would be sent to those affected by the Board’s decisions. Members Business
Support to feed back the Board’s decisions to the Assembly Members who made
(13:45 – 14:45)
Item for decision: Determination: Review of the remuneration of Committee Chairs
The Board considered a paper
setting out the new committee structure, their remits and the roles of the
The Board noted the new committee
structure and agreed to consult that the proposed salary level for the two
different Committee Chair roles should be retained. The Board agreed that it
would seek the views of Assembly Members on the whether the two tier system of
remuneration of Chairs remained appropriate.
The Board agreed to consult
Members on these proposals, with the aim of reaching a decision by September.
The Board agreed that the salary
should be backdated to the date of the appointment. As with all Office Holder
salaries the Chairs salaries would be subject to the annual indexation.
Secretariat to issue consultation
on the Board’s proposals for the remuneration of Committee Chairs.
(14:45 – 15:30)
Item for decision: Proposals for Remuneration Board strategic away day
Board considered a paper with proposals for the Board’s strategy day in
September which would take place in Colwyn Bay.
The Board agreed that it should
explore methods and principles of effective engagement and consultation. The
Board would also explore the potential to invite a facilitator to the meeting
to steer the Board through strategic discussions.
The Board agreed to visit constituency
offices in North Wales to engage with AMs and AMSS.
Papers to note:
The Board noted the Northern Ireland Assembly Independent Financial Review
Panel annual report 2015-16 and the appointment letter from the Presiding Officer
to the new Assembly Commissioners.