Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Information requested and received from Haringey Council under the Freedom of Information Act tells us that the six councillors in the Harringay & St Ann's wards have attracted the following allowances and costs:

- Total allowances & expenses - £120.036.20.

- Total allowances & expenses - £130,662, with expenses yet to be finalised.

Good value? What do you think?

The cost per councillor averages out in this financial year at around £21,600. However, the money is not evenly divided since the four Labour councillors all have Special Responsibilities which attract higher amounts. Of the total amounts paid in each year about 53% in 2006/7 and 47% in 2007/8 were in respect of special allowances. So, another quick calculation tells us that the basic amount for a councillor is about £11,500 this year. The four councillors with special responsibilities would receive an additional average of about £15,000, making their totals an average of £26,500 per councillor.

I suppose if we feel the councillors are doing a good job on our behalf this isn't bad value for money. Are we getting that value?

I have checked this information (except the calculations) with a staff member in Haringey's Local Democracy & Member Services team. However, if any members of this site are able to correct any misunderstandings or mistakes in the information given above, their contributions are most welcome.

Tags for Forum Posts: 2010 local election, 2010 local elections, councillors' pay

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Not all councillors look for or find the 'opportunity' to get their photo taken for press coverage.

The other two (LibDem) councillors are new to the 'game' but are involved with local campaigns and meetings. I run into them all the time.
I would be interested to establish the rate at which councillors are paid
- is it hourly?
- is it by function?
- is it notional?
- is it by patronage?
which ever it is
is it value for money?
who audits the figures?
are they obliged to declare 'interests' and 'subsidies'?
The allowance is at a standard rate. If a councillor has cabinet or other responsibilities, they also receive a special allowance. The first figure is about £10.5k. The second, on top of that, for cabinet members, I've learned, is about £23k.

They are required to declare interests. You can find this for some councillors on-line at Haringey Council - Register of Councillors' Interests. Others choose to make this info available in writing only, eg: only 2 of the 6 from Harringay & St Ann's wards have chosen to make this info freely available. The remainig four have chosen to make it a little more difficult for others to see.
An update here, Hugh.

You can look-up any Haringey councillor by clicking here. Click on the photo of the person you want and then on "Register of Interests".

In May 2009, Following my suggestion to Cllr Joe Goldberg (then elected Labour Chief Whip) the few remaining Labour councillors who hadn't put their declarations online then did so.

Another suggestion of mine wasn't actioned: to ensure an accurate public record of when all councillors made their declarations.

Councillors are required to keep these details up-to-date and show changes within 28 days. But because some Declarations are undated - even on the publicly available paper files - it's not possible for anyone inspecting the Register to see when it was made. Nor the fact that in some cases, there was an ongoing breach of the rules - sometimes for several years. This lack of strictly recorded dates is a significant 'hole' in the system.
Really helpful. Thanks Alan.
In response to Justin's remark that the two Libdem councillors in Harringay ward "hardly ever do surgeries" I would like to point out that Cllr Baker and myself do a surgery on the first and third Saturday morning of every month and have done since our election in May 2006. Indeed I have a surgery this coming Saturday morning. Details of times and venue are on the Haringey Council website.

Cllr Karen Alexander
Justin Hinchcliffe's replies to this post have been deleted because they are party politicking and unproven assertions.

I'm aware that this site, rightly so, is not here for politicos like myself to score points. But this discussion is on how much local councillors cost us, as local taxpayers. I merely pointed out how much they cost us - aside from their basic allowances and rates for special responsibilities - e.g. in support and political staff (usually employing local party hacks). The answers I gave came to me from the Council in response to a question under the FoI. I provided a link a link to the original story
And you're welcome to re-post those portions Justin. The posts were deleted because of your contentious paty politicking comments about the Harringay councillors.
It's true that councillors in the so-called "cabinet" have support staff. It's completely untrue they are "usually ... local party hacks". These staff are local government officers.

They are also "politically restricted". Which means they're prevented from taking an active political role either in or outside the workplace. So they can't hold political office, or campaign in an election. Nor can they speak in public or publish something which suggests they support a political party.

I've no idea how these officers vote in an election, or even if they belong to a party. I wouldn't embarrass them by asking. Personally, I expect officers to give entirely professional advice to any councillor of whichever party.

The two political groups currently elected to the Council also have support staff: a Political Assistant; and an Admin officer. While they are in a slightly different position, to the best of my knowledge, the former are also politically restricted.

(If anyone wants to spend the weekend looking up the relevant legislation, I can email you the weblinks. And promise not to tell your imaginary friends.)

I've seen the job advertisements: they often require people who are "sympathetic" to the aims of the parties. See http://www.w4mp.org/html/personnel/jobs/list_jobs_ref.asp for examples...
It's unlawful for a local Council to have regard to a person's political activities or affiliations when appointing them. (If anyone's interested, see the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.)

Council officers - including the "cabinet" support officers - are not political appointments. They must offer neutral advice and are legally very limited in what they are allowed to do politically outside the Council. (For example, they can attend a private meeting; but can't leaflet, or canvass.)

Political Assistants to Party Groups are an exception. (Section 9 of the same Act - passed incidentally by Margaret Thatcher's Government.) The point of this exception is to have sympathetic people in these sensitive fixed-term posts. They are still politically restricted when it comes to public campaigning.

Alan Stanton - Labour councillor



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