Richard Ronan, MHK for Castletown and Political Member with responsibility for Local Authorities has announced that his Department is to issue further guidance on the application of a new Order regarding claiming of attendance allowances by Local Authority members.
Mr Ronan stated:
'Following approval of the Order by Tynwald in November, several Local Authorities had expressed concern about how to interpret and apply the new Order. In particular, I was concerned that several authorities had not understood the new flexibility that the order now provides to compensate members for attendance at day time meetings'.
Mr Ronan attended a meeting with Douglas Borough Council where the application of the Order was discussed. Following the meeting, Mr Ronan gave a commitment to issue further guidance to all Local Authorities which he hoped would help address the ongoing concerns about application of the Order including giving more guidance on payment for 'approved duties'.
Councillor David Christian, MBE, JP, Leader of Douglas Borough Council said:
‘I have made it clear that while the Council has serious reservations about the detail of the Order it is, however, largely in agreement with the purpose of the Order which seeks to introduce a new flexibility that will see Members properly compensated for the time they put in to working for Local Government.
‘Neither I nor my fellow Members joined the Council to profit from our efforts. We do believe, however, that we and our opposite numbers across the Island should be realistically recompensed for the time we devote to serving our constituents, our communities and the Isle of Man.’
Councillor Christian added that the Council would be prepared to try to work with the new Order over the next 12 months. He said a report to Members was being prepared, setting out the procedures for how it would be applied. Once approved those procedures would be incorporated into the Council’s Constitution.
Mr Ronan acknowledged that some authorities may still have issues regarding the new Order, therefore he has confirmed that the Department will undertake a review in 12 months’ time which will allow Local Authorities to submit comments on the effectiveness of the new Order. The Department will then consider whether any amendments are required.