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Members allowances

This is the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority Members’ Allowance Scheme, covering the allowances which can be claimed by Members (including Co-opted Members) of Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority.

  1. Section 1: The scheme and summary of allowances payable
    1. The Scheme
      1. This is the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority Members’ Allowance Scheme [“the Scheme”] for the payment of Members’ Allowances. The Scheme is based on the provisions contained in the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 as may be amended from time to time [“the Regulations”]. It also has regard to relevant Government guidance. At a meeting on 19 December 2003 the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority [“the Authority”] approved the Scheme to take effect on and from 1 April 2004. This scheme has subsequently been amended by the Fire and Rescue Authority on 24th March 2006 and 23rd February 2007.
      2. The Scheme shall have effect without time limit and may be amended or revoked in accordance with the Regulations.
      3. The Scheme shall have effect and be construed in accordance with the Regulations. In the event of any inconsistencies between the Scheme and the Regulations, the Regulations shall prevail.
      4. Any procedures or requirements of the Regulations which are not expressly incorporated in the Scheme are hereby deemed to have been so incorporated.
      5. A reference herein to a Schedule shall be deemed to be a reference to a Schedule in the Scheme unless there appears to be a contrary intention. A reference to a Member or a Co-optee shall be to a Member or Co-optee of the Authority.
      6. A year, for the purposes of the Scheme, starts on 1 April and ends on 31 March.
      7. Section 6 of the Scheme provides for an annual Co-optees Allowance. Eligible for this are Co-optees such as the independent persons appointed by the Authority to serve on the Standards Committee of the Authority
    2. Summary of allowances payable and amendments to the scheme
      1. Section 2 of the Scheme provides for the payment of an annual Basic Allowance for each Member of the Authority.
      2. Section 3 of the Scheme provides for an annual Special Responsibility Allowance for those Members who have special duties and/or hold particular posts
      3. Sections 4 and 5 of the Scheme provide for Travelling and Subsistence Allowances for all Members and Co-opted Members of the Authority and explain how claims should be made.
      4. Section 6 of the Scheme provides for an annual Co-optees Allowance. Eligible for this are Co-optees such as the independent persons appointed by the Authority to serve on the Standards Committee of the Authority.
      5. Where an amendment is to be made by the Authority to the Scheme which affects an Allowance payable in the year in which the amendment is made, the Authority may decide that the entitlement to that Allowance is to apply with effect from the beginning of the year in which the amendment is made, i.e. to backdate the amendment to that extent.
      6. The Authority will review the levels of allowances on an annual basis.
    3. Tax and National Insurance
      1. Section 7 of the Scheme mentions liability to Income Tax and the national insurance arrangements for Members and Co-optees of the Authority. These sections do not deal with entitlements under the Scheme and are only brief summaries for information. The Authority does not guarantee that they are necessarily accurate or appropriate for individual Members or Co-optees. It is for Members and Co-optees to satisfy themselves personally that their tax and national insurance arrangements are in order and they should consult their own advisers as they think fit about these matters.
    4. Responsibility to submit accurate claims
      1. It is important that Members and Co-optees are aware of their responsibility to submit accurate claims and to be able to demonstrate that they did incur any expenditure for which they are claiming.
    5. Public record of payments and availability of the scheme
      1. The Authority maintains a record showing payments made to Members and Co-optees in accordance with the Scheme. The record is kept available for public inspection during normal office opening hours at the Authority’s principal office (Fire HQ, Bestwood Lodge, Arnold, Nottingham). The record may be inspected free of charge by any local government elector for the areas Nottinghamshire and the City of Nottingham, these being the areas within which the Authority exercises its functions. A copy of the record will be supplied to any person who so requests and who pays the Authority’s reasonable fee as determined by the Authority.
      2. Copies of the Scheme are made available for inspection by the public at the Authority’s principal office (Fire HQ, Bestwood Lodge, Arnold, Nottingham) during normal office opening hours. A copy will be supplied to any person who so requests and who pays the Authority’s reasonable fee as determined by the Authority. A copy is also posted on the Authority’s website.
      3. Any person wishing to inspect the record of payments, or the Scheme should contact the Head of Finance and Resources at Fire Headquarters.
    6. Forgoing entitlement to allowances
      1. A Member or Co-optee may elect to forgo entitlement or any part of his/her entitlement to allowances under the Scheme, by notifying the Chief Fire Officer in writing. In practice this relates to the Basic Allowance, Special Responsibility Allowance and Co-optees Allowance, which are the allowances which will otherwise be paid automatically.
    7. Advice & Queries
      1. Any Member or Co-optee requiring advice about how best to maintain records to authenticate claims or with any other queries about the Scheme should contact the Head of Finance and Resources.
  1. Section 2: Basic allowance
    1. The Basic Allowance is paid to all Members of the Authority at the same rate. It is intended to recognise the time commitment of all members, including such inevitable calls on their time as meetings with officers and constituents and attendance at political group meetings.
    2. The amount and payment of the Basic Allowance are as stated in Schedule 1. Part Year entitlement will be assessed in accordance with Schedule 2.
    3. Co-optees are not eligible for the Basic Allowance.
    4. Where a Member is suspended or partially suspended from his/her responsibilities or duties as a Member of the Authority in accordance with part III of the Local Government Act 2000 or regulations made thereunder, the part of the Basic Allowance payable to him/her in respect of the period for which he/she is suspended or partially suspended may be withheld by the Authority for that period of suspension or partial suspension. The Standards Committee of the Authority shall determine whether or not to withhold the Basic Allowance in such circumstances.
    5. The Basic Allowance is subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (see Section 7).
  1. Section 3: Special Responsibility allowance
    1. Special Responsibility Allowances enable payments to be made to Members who have special duties and/or hold particular posts and can be of different amounts. The categories of special responsibilities are set out in the Regulations.
    2. The amounts and payment of Special Responsibility Allowances are as stated in Schedule 1. Part Year entitlement will be assessed in accordance with Schedule 2.
    3. Co-optees are not eligible for Special Responsibility Allowance.
    4. Only one Special Responsibility Allowance is payable per Member. If more than one such allowance appears to be payable, the Member may elect which allowance shall be paid, but in the event of failure to elect, s/he will be deemed to have elected to receive the Special Responsibility Allowance which is the greatest.
    5. Where a Member is suspended or partially suspended from his/her responsibilities or duties as a Member of the Authority in accordance with part III of the Local Government Act 2000 or regulations made thereunder, the part of any Special Responsibility Allowance payable to him/her in respect of the responsibilities or duties from which he/she is suspended or partially suspended may be withheld by the Authority for that period of suspension or partial suspension. The Standards Committee of the Authority shall determine whether or not to withhold Special Responsibility Allowance in such circumstances.
    6. Special Responsibility Allowance is subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (see Section 7).
  1. Section 4: Travelling and subsistence allowance
    1. Travel allowances
      1. Members, including Co-optees, may claim travelling expenses for travel undertaken in connection with Approved Duties. Details of the Travelling Allowances which may be claimed are set out in Schedule 3. The duties which are Approved Duties for which a claim may be made are set out in Schedule 4.
      2. Please note that proper VAT receipts are required for expenses including parking fees in order for the Authority to validate claims and to reclaim VAT. Members should ask for/keep these, wherever possible, and attach them to claim forms.
      3. When travelling by train Members should obtain rail tickets from Headquarters in order that the Authority can take advantage of preferential rates. In the first instance please contact the Secretary to the Chief Fire Officer to organise rail tickets. Tickets for air travel can also be obtained from Headquarters in the same way.
      4. Claims for Travel Allowances are not subject to deductions for Income Tax and National Insurance (see Section 7)
    2. Subsistence allowances
      1. Members, including Co-optees, may claim subsistence for costs of refreshments and accommodation, necessarily incurred, when undertaking Approved Duties. Details of the Subsistence Allowances which may be claimed are set out in Schedule 3. The duties which are Approved Duties for which a claim may be made are set out in Schedule 4.
      2. Members are not entitled to claim subsistence allowances where suitable refreshments are provided for them while they are undertaking the approved duty. In 6 calculating the length of time it has taken to perform an approved duty, such as a meeting, Members are entitled to include reasonable travelling time in getting to and from the meeting place.
      3. Members are not entitled to claim subsistence where suitable accommodation is provided for them while they are undertaking the approved duty. Normally accommodation will be booked for Members and the Authority will pay direct. Members should always get in touch with the Secretary to the Chief Fire Officer prior to arranging and paying for accommodation themselves.
      4. Please note that proper VAT receipts are needed in order for the Authority to validate claims and to reclaim VAT. Wherever possible Members should ask for/keep these and attach them to claim forms.
    3. Foreign travel
      1. Members may travel outside the UK only with the express permission of the Fire Authority. If there are cases of extreme urgency which require prior approval this may be given by the Chairman and the Chief Fire Officer but must be ratified subsequently by the Fire and Rescue Authority.
      2. All arrangements for travel outside the UK must be made by the Personal Assistant to the Chief Fire Officer who will confirm that the necessary approvals have been obtained before making any arrangements.
      3. The Head of Finance and Resources will maintain a record of all travel outside the UK, which will be available for public inspection. The record will include information in respect of cost, destination and Members attending.
      4. Consideration will be given in each case to the most cost effective and convenient method of travel, taking into account any health or disability issues.
      5. Economy Class travel will be used wherever possible for flights within the EU, with flights outside the EU considered on their individual merit.
      6. All accommodation will be booked through the Personal Assistant to the Chief Fire Officer and will be in good standard mid range hotels with appropriate business facilities and in safe areas with reasonable access to the venues to be visited. Where all inclusive packages are available for conferences the advantages of these offers will be evaluated.
      7. Subsistence will be paid on the basis of a daily rate for each 24 hour period. Subsistence is to cover all expenses when outside the UK including travel, laundry, telephone calls and all meals. The rate of subsistence will be £75.00 per 24 hour period.
      8. Where meals are provided as part of the conference or visit a deduction of 20% will be made for each meal provided irrespective of whether meals are actually taken, unless there are sound reasons for not doing so.
      9. Receipts should be obtained wherever possible.
  1. Section 5: How to claim travel and subsistence allowance
    1. In this section “Members” includes Co-optees.
    2. Claims for Travelling and/or Subsistence Allowance must be submitted on the standard form.
    3. The form includes the following declaration which must be completed:-

      “I declare I have incurred expenditure on travelling and/or subsistence for the purpose of enabling me to perform approved duties as a Member or Co-opted Member of Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority and that the rates are in accordance with those determined by the Authority. I declare that the statements in my claim are correct. I have not made and will not make any other claim under any enactment for the same travelling and/or subsistence.”

    4. Claim forms are kept by the Finance and Resources Section from whom additional forms may also be obtained.
    5. There is no formal deadline for processing claims for travel and subsistence and these will be paid as quickly as possible. Payments of other allowances will be made monthly. All payments will be made by BACS.
    6. All claims should be submitted no later than 3 months after the date of the duty attended.
    7. Members should note that it is their responsibility to ensure that any claims submitted are accurate, and that they can demonstrate that they attended meetings for which they are claiming allowances etc. It is suggested that this can best be done by Members maintaining diary records of meetings attended, showing the dates of the meetings and duration. Where there is an attendance book at the meeting, the Members must sign the attendance book.
    8. Members should also note that, as mentioned in Section 1 above, the Authority has to maintain a record showing payments made to Members which is open to public inspection.
  1. Section 6: Co-optees' allowance
    1. Co-optees’ Allowance enables payments to be made to Co-optees in respect of attendance at conferences and meetings and can be of different amounts for different Co-optees.
    2. The amounts and payment of Co-optees Allowance are as stated in Schedule 1. Part Year entitlement will be assessed in accordance with Schedule 2. These amounts are in addition to any Travelling or Subsistence Allowance which may be claimed by Co-optees under sections 4 and 5 of the Scheme.
    3. Where a Co-optee is suspended or partially suspended from his/her responsibilities or duties as a Co-optee of the Authority in accordance with part III of the Local Government Act 2000 or regulations made thereunder, any Co-optees Allowance payable to him/her in respect of the responsibilities or duties from which he/she is suspended or partially suspended may be withheld by the Authority for that period of suspension or partial suspension. The Standards Committee of the Authority shall determine whether or not to withhold Co-optees’ Allowance in such circumstances.
    4. Co-optees’ Allowance is subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (see Section 7).
  1. Section 7: Income tax & welfare benefits
    1. Income tax
      1. Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances are subject to Income Tax as they are payments made in respect of the duties of an office. Travelling and Subsistence Allowance is not normally subject to Income Tax if it is paid in respect of actual costs necessarily incurred in connection with the Approved Duty. Appropriate records should be kept to satisfy the Tax Office. Subsistence Allowance where no receipt is provided is subject to Income Tax.
      2. The Inland Revenue is notified of the names and addresses of all Members who claim taxable allowances. Tax is deducted at basic rate until the Inland Revenue notify the Authority of the appropriate tax code for each Member.
      3. Some expenses incurred by Members in the course of Authority duties as Members may be deductible against tax. Any member who believes that some of his/her expenses as a Member may be tax deductible, should contact his/her Tax Office.
      4. The Authority’s Tax Office is
        Inland Revenue
        Nottingham 1 TSO
        Castle Meadow
        Castle Meadow Road
        Nottingham
        NG2 1AB
        Tax Reference Number: 507/588999
        Tel: 0300 200 3300
    2. National Insurance Contributions
      1. Basic and Special Responsibility Allowance payments will attract National Insurance (NI) contributions at levels which vary depending on the total earnings of Members.
      2. Some Members may not be liable to any NI Contributions on Allowances if they fulfil any of the following criteria:
        1. Their total earnings are less than the specified minimum limits set out by the Inland Revenue
        2. They are men aged 65 or over
        3. They are women aged 60 or over
      3. There is no NI liability if total earnings are less than the specified minimum.
      4. Some Members, who are married women or widows who have elected to pay reduced rate contributions for NI, may also need to have their NI Contributions on allowances calculated at a reduced rate.
      5. Members who are self-employed may also be subject to different levels of NI Contributions.
      6. Members who believe that they fall into any of the above categories should contact the Department of Social Security (DSS) to obtain the appropriate certificates.
    3. Statutory sick pay
      1. Provided certain requirements are satisfied, Members may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay from the Authority.
    4. Social security benefits
      1. The receipt of allowances may affect Members who are receiving Social Security Benefits. All allowances should be declared to the DSS who will be able to advise Members about the way in which allowances affect benefits such as Income Support.
      2. Members should note that failure to disclose any allowances to the DSS may result in prosecution.
  1. Section 8: Dependant carers allowance
    1. Councillors may claim up to £6.50 per hour for child care and up to £11.58 per hour for other dependants in respect of expenses for the care of their children or other dependants when attending meetings of the Fire and Rescue Authority or other approved duties as described in Schedule 4 below.
    2. Only one weekly payment of Dependants' Carers' Allowance may be claimed in respect of the household of each Councillor, except in special circumstances approved by the Authority’s Standards Committee.
    3. Payments, which will not be payable to a member of the claimant's own household, will be made only when supported by a receipt.
  1. Schedule 1
    1. Payments
      1. Payments shall be made, in respect of Basic and Special Responsibility and Co-optees Allowances, in arrears in instalments of one-twelfth of the amount specified in the Scheme on the last working day of each month (unless otherwise notified).
    2. Rates of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances
      Effective date
      Allowance Amount
      Basic £3,963.81 pa
      Special Responsibility: -
      (a) Chair of the Authority £23,637.96 pa
      (b) Vice Chair of the Authority £16,883.31 pa
      (c) Leader of minority Groups £2,642.77 pa

      (d) Major Committee Chairs

      Community Safety Committee

      Finance and Resources Committee

      Human Resources Committee

      Policy and Strategy Committee

      £2,642.77 pa
  1. Schedule 2
    1. Part-Year Entitlement
      1. The following will apply if in the course of a year
        1. the scheme is amended or
        2. a Member (excluding any Co-optee) becomes, or ceases to be a Member, or
        3. a Member (excluding any Co-optee) accepts or relinquishes a special responsibility in respect of which a Special Responsibility Allowance is payable or
        4. a Co-optee becomes, or ceases to be a Co-optee.
    2. Amendments to the Scheme
      1. If one or more amendments to the Scheme are made which take effect after 1 April for the year in question and change the amount(s) of any Allowance to which Members are entitled, the effect on Members’ entitlement will be as follows.
      2. If the amendment is backdated to the start of the year, Members’ entitlement shall be adjusted accordingly.
      3. Otherwise the Members’ entitlement shall reflect the changes in the rate of Allowance and the period(s) during which each rate was in force.
    3. Members for part Year only
      1. Where the term of office of a Member begins or ends otherwise than at the beginning or end of a year, his/her entitlement to Basic Allowance shall be to the payment of the appropriate proportion of the Basic Allowance:
        1. for the number of days during which his/her term of office as a Member subsists and
        2. at the rate or rates applicable to that Allowance while his/her term of office as a Member subsists.
    4. Members performing Special Responsibilities for part Year only
      1. Where a Member carries out any special responsibility such as entitles him/her to a Special Responsibility Allowance during part only of a year, his/her entitlement shall be to payment of the appropriate proportion of the Special Responsibility Allowance
        1. for the number of days during which that Member has such special responsibility and
        2. at the rate or rates applicable to that Allowance while the Member had such special responsibility.
    5. Co-optees for part Year only
      1. Where the appointment of a Co-optee begins or ends otherwise than at the beginning or end of a year, his/her entitlement to Co-optees’ Allowance shall be to the payment of the appropriate proportion of the Co-optees’ Allowance.
        1. for the number of days during which his/her appointment as a Co-optee subsists and
        2. at the rate or rates applicable to him/her as a Co-optee while his/her appointment as a Co-optee subsists.
  1. Schedule 3: Travelling Subsistence Rates
    1. Public Transport
      1. The Authority will reimburse actual cost of coach travel or first class rail fares. When travelling by train Members should obtain rail tickets from Headquarters. In the first instance please contact the Secretary to the Chief Fire Officer as soon as travel arrangements have been confirmed and s/he will arrange for tickets to be issued. If Members/Co-optees need to purchase their own tickets they should submit their receipt or ticket when claiming reimbursement.
      2. Long distance travel by public transport is encouraged but may be undertaken by private car and if so the Authority will pay Members/Co-optees the appropriate car mileage allowance shown below.
      3. For local travel Members may choose either:
        1. (a) the appropriate car or cycle mileage allowance shown below or
        2. (b) to buy a bus ticket and claim later
      4. Taxi fares may be claimed but only (a) in cases of urgency or (b) for meetings outside normal working hours (8.30 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.) and, in either case, where there is no suitable public transport available. Receipts should be produced.
    2. Car Mileage Allowances
      1. Capacity
        The rate payable for travelling from home to HQ shall be: 45p per mile
        The rate payable for all other NFRS business shall be: 65p per mile
      2. Supplement for Passengers
        An additional 2.6p per mile for each passenger carried may be claimed. The distance claimed for mileage should be the shortest most reasonable journey by road from the point of departure to the point at which the duty is performed, and similarly from the duty point to the place of return.
        Cycle Allowance 20.1 per mile
        Day Subsistence
        The amounts below are the maximum which can be claimed.
        Eligibility is based on the time of day meals are taken and time away from home, as follows: -
        Allowance Rate Conditions
        Breakfast allowance £5.57 It is necessary to leave home before 0700 hours
        Lunch allowance £7.70 Absence from the usual place of duty must last for a period of two hours or more, including the lunch hour (1200 to 1400 hours)
        Tea allowance £3.04 Absence
        Evening Meal Allowance £9.54 Absence from the usual place of duty must last for a minimum period of 2.5 hours up to and including 2030 hours
        Out of pocket expenses £4.89 Per night
        £19.57 Per week
    3. Overnight Subsistence
      1. Where a Member attends a UK meeting or event which involves an overnight stay, hotel accommodation will be booked and paid for by the Fire and Rescue Authority unless otherwise agreed by the Chief Fire Officer in consultation with the Chairman.
      2. Where an overnight stay is required, overnight subsistence may be claimed up to a maximum of £115.00
      3. Receipts should be produced for all subsistence claimed.
      4. Any rate paid in respect of overnight allowances shall be deemed to cover a continuous period of 24 hours.
  1. Schedule 4: Approved Duties
    1. Approved Duties for the claim of Travelling and Subsistence Allowances
      1. Members of the Fire and Rescue Authority may claim both travelling and subsistence allowances for a range of “approved” duties as follows:
        1. Any attendance as an appointed Member at meetings of the Fire and Rescue Authority or any working party, panel or consultative group convened by the authority to which members of at least two political parties have been invited.
        2. An attendance at a meeting of any other body to which the member has been appointed by the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        3. Seminars or training sessions organised by the Fire and Rescue Authority where attendance is open to members of more than one political group.
        4. Any attendance at a meeting of a group called by the Chief Fire Officer expressly for the purpose of discussing Fire and Rescue Authority business.
        5. Pre Agenda meetings of the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        6. Formal visits approved by the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        7. Group Management meetings if applicable.
        8. Meetings with representatives of the constituent authorities, District Councils in Nottinghamshire and other Fire and Rescue Authority Members within the region.
        9. Visits and duties outside the County area but within Great Britain for a period not exceeding 72 hours in connection with the discharge of the functions of the Fire and Rescue Authority made by the Chairman or Minority Party spokesperson(s).
        10. Attendance at seminars etc. to address non-political bodies at national and regional level on subjects related to the Fire and Rescue Authority by the Chair or Minority Party spokesperson(s).
        11. Attendance at seminars and conferences as approved by the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        12. Any attendance upon land or premises within the County area for the purposes of, or in connection with the discharge of the functions of the Fire and Rescue Authority, such duties to include:
        13. Consultation with Officers
        14. Visits to Fire and Rescue Authority premises to acquaint themselves with conditions there when formally arranged with the Chief Fire Officer.
        15. Organised visits to exhibitions relating to the functions of the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        16. Organised visits to sites and premises associated with actual or proposed projects of the Fire and Rescue Authority.
        17. Visits to Fire H.Q to deal with essential correspondence, paperwork etc. relating to the Fire and Rescue Authority.
      2. Members may not claim either travelling or subsistence allowances for the following responsibilities:
        1. Disciplinary matters within a Group
        2. Correspondence relating to Group policy
        3. Matters relating to the internal organisation of a Group
        4. Taking up a constituent's grievance with anyone other than the Combined Fire and Rescue Authority.
        5. Attendance at a local function to present awards or cheques
        6. Social engagements.
    2. Approved Duties (Travelling Allowance only)
      1. Approved duties for the payment of travelling allowance only are as follows:-
        • Attendance by formal invitation at any Fire and Rescue Authority organised hospitality function.
        • Attendance as a representative of the Fire and Rescue Authority at a local function to present an award or cheque.
        • Attendance by invitation at a County Council, District Council, City Council or Parish Council meeting to participate in the discussion of a Fire and Rescue Authority function (subject to prior approval of the Chief Fire Officer).