Don’t expect a pay rise until at least the spring councillors told after ‘flawed’ report ditched

THE director of legal services at Cambridgeshire County Council will tell councillors that a “procedural flaw” means the earliest they can now expect a pay rise is in the spring.

Quentin Baker, who is also monitoring officer, says he was obliged to act after forming an opinion that the procedure by which councillors had voted upon a 25 per cent pay rise in October was flawed.

As monitoring officer he was duty bound to act, he will councillors on Wednesday, after forming an opinion “that there has been contravention, by the authority or any of its officers, of any enactment or rule of law.

“On this occasion the contravention arose because of a failure to observe the council’s constitutional requirements in relation to the appointment of an independent remuneration panel.”

It was the composition and setting up of the panel to consider allowances which was challenged by Editor John Elworthy- and those errors were later admitted by the council.

In his report to councillors Mr Baker agrees there was a “procedural flaw” in the panel’s appointment.

“A new review has commenced and it is intended that the process of appointing the members and of conducting the review itself will be more open and accountable,” says Mr Baker.

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“As a consequence it is envisaged that the earliest date the independent remuneration panel will be in a position to report is the spring 2012.”

Mr Baker added: “Although it is clear that the process adopted for the appointment of panel members on this occasion was flawed, the panel members themselves were entirely unaware of this procedural error and volunteered their time to undertake this task and with the assistance of Declan Hall did so assiduously”.

Dr Hall, a local government lecturer and allowances specialist, was paid around �5,000 to chair the panel.