New Policy On Staff Benefits For Council

The Council has agreed a policy guide on staff entitlements and benefits.

It’s been produced because the Town Hall has been told to do it as part of the Coalition Government’s transparency drive, but key facts on senior staff packages and perks have been omitted from the draft.

At a recent Council meeting, Richard McCarthy pointed out that the Town Hall has to set out policies on the remuneration of chief officers.

He told Finance Director, Peter Lawrence, who joined the Policy and Resources meeting on a webcam from his Exeter home, that the Council would be in breach of the Act without that data.

Allowances, as well as benefits in kind, should be published along with the lowest paid employees’ salary information so that the public can see the range of pay in their local Council.

The guidelines also outline the additional payments that staff who are called out to work outside regular hours will receive.

Councillor David Pearson acknowledged his view could be controversial when he said that he felt being on standby was expected as part of his salary when he worked for local Government.

The report says the Council will pay for staff to join a professional body if membership helps their career development.

That concerned Amanda Martin, who “didn’t want a verbal nod” leading to payments being made. She said she’d never seen any report on what was acceptable and wanted itemisation.

Amanda also questioned the Finance Director over mileage payments. Peter Lawrence confirmed that staff would not be reimbursed for using their own cars to travel to work on St Mary’s.

Members approved the draft report subject to changes being made and references to Cornwall being removed, although Richard McCarthy felt it appeared to have been ‘Googled’ down from the internet.

But Mrs Martin added that she wanted a legal expert to view the policy after the Council’s recent employment law issues.