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Agenda item

Motions on Notice

Councillor A Patterson to Move

 

This Council resolves to:

 

1.            Commit to introducing a Parental Leave Policy to give all Councillors an entitlement to parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child;

 

2.            Request that Officers prepare a draft Parental Leave Policy;

 

3.            Request that the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) consider appropriate remuneration as part of the Members Allowance Scheme and make appropriate recommendations; and

 

4.            That the draft Policy and IRP recommendations are considered by Constitution Working Group prior to being presented for approval at a future meeting of the Council.

Minutes:

In accordance with a Motion on Notice it was:

 

Moved by Councillor A Patterson, Seconded by Councillor J Considine that the Council resolves to:

 

1.    Commit to introducing a Parental Leave Policy to give all Councillors an entitlement to parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child;

2.    Request that Officers prepare a draft Parental Leave Policy;

3.    Request that the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) consider appropriate remuneration as part of the Members Allowance Scheme and make appropriate recommendations; and

4.    That the draft Policy and IRP recommendations are considered by Constitution Working Group prior to being presented for approval at a future meeting of the Council.

 

In Moving her Motion, Councillor Patterson explained that the essence behind the motion was to ensure all Councillors have the entitlement to parental leave policy after giving birth or adopting. The implementation of such a policy would ensure that all Councillors regardless of their background or the political party they represented would be appropriately supported in their role. It would also encourage a wider range of people to become Councillors and support existing Councillors and parents to remain as Councillors.

 

Councillor Patterson informed the Council that research by the Fawcett Society in 2017 highlighted that only 4% of Council’s had a parental leave policy in place for Councillors. Since then many Councils across the country had adopted a policy for its Councillors, including neighbouring authorities, Newcastle and Sunderland.

 

Any such policy would include improved provisions for new parents, contribute to increase diversity of gender, experience, age and background of local authority groups. It would encompass a range of shared parental leave arrangements, adoption leave entitlement and ensure that Councillors with other caring responsibilities would be appropriately supported.

 

Councillor J Considine, seconding the motion, informed the Council that she had balanced the demands of a new-born baby with her role as a Councillor which had been a relatively good experience. Councillor Considine was concerned that other Councillors in her position may not be as fortunate and a parental leave policy would enable the Council to further develop provision for those becoming new parents or for those adopting a child. Councillor Considine felt that individuals should not be faced with one choice or another, which the introduction of such a policy would address. The policy would assist in attracting a wider range of people to the role.

 

Councillor Temple felt that the motion presented was a very good idea and supported the proposal because it looked after people who worked within the Council structure which could only be positive.

 

Councillor Temple hoped that consideration could be given to the great demands placed on residents in circumstances whereby their representation may be affected by a Councillor utilising a Parental Leave Policy, adding that it was important that any policy looked at what way the resident’s interests could be assisted in a cooperative and supportive set-up.

 

Councillor J Shuttleworth explained that the role of a Councillor was one of a public servant, an elected position without a contract of employment, whereby accessibility to the public was key and queried the legality of the proposal.

 

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services informed the Council that whilst Councillors did not have contract of employment, the Council had a duty of care to Councillors. A parental leave policy would be consistent in terms of exercising a duty of care and any proposed changes to the Members Allowances Scheme would be proposed by an Independent Remuneration Panel, therefore it was lawful to do so.

 

In closing the debate, Councillor A Patterson informed the Council that she would take all the comments raised into consideration and felt that everybody in communities should be afforded the opportunity to be able to stand as an elected member without having any barriers in place. The draft policy and any recommendations suggested by the Independent Remuneration Panel would be considered by Constitution Working Group prior to being presented and debated at a future meeting of the Council.

 

Upon a vote being taken the Motion was carried.

 

Resolved

 

That the Council:

 

1.    Commit to introducing a Parental Leave Policy to give all Councillors an entitlement to parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child;

2.    Request that Officers prepare a draft Parental Leave Policy;

3.    Request that the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) consider appropriate remuneration as part of the Members Allowance Scheme and make appropriate recommendations; and

4.    That the draft Policy and IRP recommendations are considered by Constitution Working Group prior to being presented for approval at a future meeting of the Council.

 

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