Daventry council leader won't take up £12k payment for unitary work

Councillor Chris Millar has said he intends not to take up the 12,000 payment he is now entitled to following a report from an independent panel
Councillor Chris Millar has said he intends not to take up the 12,000 payment he is now entitled to following a report from an independent panel

The leader of Daventry District Council has said he will not be taking up a £12,000 payment for work on the unitary authority proposals after an independent panel recommended he be paid the sum.

Councillors at the authority last week voted to increase their members’ allowances by 2.5 per cent.

The recommendations came from an independent remuneration panel, which also said that three senior councillors should be paid for their work on a steering group helping to set up the new West Northamptonshire unitary authority.

The panel recommended that leader Chris Millar be paid £12,000, with fellow steering group members Councillor Jo Gilford and Councillor Alan Chantler getting £6,000, with the payments being backdated to when work started.

The recommendations prompted outrage at Northampton Borough Council, where councillors have also been working on preparing for unitaries.

One of those councillors, Phil Larratt, said he ‘did not expect a single penny’ for his work.

But Councillor Millar has indicated that even though he is entitled to the payment, he won’t be pocketing it.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I won’t be taking up the offer of the payment. I believe it’s an individual decision to make, and that’s the case for all the other councillors as well.”

Councillors agreed to the panel’s recommendations to increase members’ basic allowances by £120 per year up to £4,903. The 2.5 per cent increase is in line with the Office for National Statistics’ cost of living increase for 2019/20.

Regarding the extra payments to the three councillors, the report states: “It was acknowledged that the unitary situation was unprecedented and required a great deal of work in the background.

“It was agreed to pay additional special responsibility allowances (SRAs) for three positions which were heavily involved in the work towards unitary status.

“The panel considered that the leader of the council was most heavily involved in unitary work, with regular meetings being held with other councils and government ministers. The panel therefore recommended that an additional SRA be paid to the leader. The allowances should be backdated to August 2018 when the time commitment had considerably increased.

“Two members had been appointed to serve on the Northamptonshire West Steering Group, which involved meetings on a two weekly basis. The panel recommended that these members each received an addition SRA for the work undertaken. The panel recommended that the allowances should be backdated to November 1, 2018 when the time commitment had increased.”

The members of the panel are independent of the council but were appointed through interviews with the chairman of the panel and agreed by full council.

The five members of the panel are Colin Robinson, Hazel Worrall, Alan Pollard, Robert Cave and Peter Walls.

Council voted through the recommendation at its full council meeting on February 21.