Have your say on councillor allowances

THE newly appointed independent panel set up to review allowances given to Cambridgeshire County Councillors wants to hear your views.

Councils have a legal duty to review their allowances. This will be carried out by the independent panel, taking into account the views of communities as well as councillors.

The panel, which was appointed after a rigorous interview process, includes people from different part of the county who have experience of both the public and private sector. They include:

* Chairman – David Sales, a director of First Ascent, a Cambridge based leadership development consultancy. He is also Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Cambridgeshire. He studied Natural Science at Churchill College, Cambridge and an MBA at Warwick. Prior to First Ascent, David was a Director at BT. He lives at Cambourne.

* Vice Chairman – Professor Helen Valentine, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University where she is responsible for the HR aspects of the university (which employs around 2000 people) and for the Student Experience of the 30,000 students at ARU. Professor Valentine joined Anglia Ruskin University in 2002 from the University of the West of England where she had been the Dean of the Business School and then Assistant Vice Chancellor. Before moving into Higher Education she worked in industry for 10 years in a variety of Production Management and Marketing roles including a period as a General Manager of a food production factory. She lives in Cambridge and is a Governor/Trustee of two Cambridgeshire Schools.

* Robert Smith, a resident of Wisbech who worked in the Civil Service and the NHS for over 30 years. His most recent post was as the Director of the NHS Computer Programme for NE London. In previous roles he worked as the Manager of the Health Survey for England and as head of NHS Counter Fraud operations in East London and the City. A graduate of Queen Mary’s, London he also holds an MA from Brunel and a post graduate certificate in Health Informatics from University College London.

* Yolanda Warwick, who after reading Management and Chemistry at the University of Manchester worked in brand management and communications for leading corporations such as L’Oreal and Leo Burnett both locally and internationally. She is currently living in central Cambridge with her family and works part-time for Bio Communications Infrastructure Consultancy.

* Dr Sam Weller, formerly Kodak’s European Research Director based in Cambridge. Since retiring, he has been Chair of the Greater Cambridge International Relations Forum. He is a Trustee of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, which matches donors to local charities and voluntary groups in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

They are now looking for people’s views on allowance which are given to Councillors who have to manage the authority’s £852 million budget (including schools). Councillors are responsible for services and duties such as highways, child protection, education, adult social care, Trading Standards, libraries, planning major developments and waste management.

People can have their say in three ways.

* They can fill in an online survey by visiting www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk and following the links from the front of the web site.

* Send written comments to Jim Milne, Cambridgeshire County Council, Box No. Res 1109, Shire Hall, Cambridge, CB3 0AP or email him at jim.milne@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

* Attend a public meeting on February 27 at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge from 6.30pm.

Quentin Baker, Director of Legal Services for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The Council has a legal duty to regularly review the allowances system. The review will be carried out by an independent panel and they want to hear the views of our communities and residents. Once the panel’s report has been published, it will be reviewed by Full Council. There are a number of ways for people to have their say from filling our online survey, to writing to us or attending a public meeting on February 27 at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.”

The public consultation runs from 14th to 27th February.