If you have any problem or query relating to your work as a councillor. If there is anything you think would make the job easier. If there is any help or support we could give you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House Jubilee Road Newtownards BT23 4YH
Action on the Code of Conduct The NAC has a number of serious concerns about the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and we are working to progress a review to include the changes that Councillors want to see made to the code. Responses received from government departments that we wrote to during 2018 have stated that this is a matter for the Assembly when it is operational, and a Minister is appointed. We are currently coordinating a formal protest, as requested by our members, to voice their concerns on this matter to Council Chief Executives, the Department for Communities and the office of the Northern Ireland Government Commissioner for Standards.
Reimbursement of GDPR Fees Prior to elected members becoming exempt from payment of Data Collection fees from the 1st April 2019, the NAC attempted to get all councils to reimburse GDPR fees that had been paid by their councillors. This campaign started in 2018 when we surveyed all councillors, at that time there were nine councils not reimbursing fees. Following letters sent by the NAC, the number of councils not reimbursing fees was reduced to five. Work on this campaign ceased when the new legislation came into force.
Councillor Equality We are actively working to try to bring Councillors’ allowances and benefits closer to those received by other public representatives such as MLAs and MPs. We would like to close this gap and have been lobbying for reviews in relation to Councillors’ remuneration, severance pay, pension, office facilities and equipment. We feel that the current political situation is creating a bigger workload for Councillors as the public deem this to be their first port of call for connecting with government, and that the additional responsibilities that Councillors’ have taken on over recent years should to be given recognition by local government.
Councillor Training NAC delegates are involved in meetings that relate to a review process which is being carried out for the evolvement of the Local Government Training Group. We hope to have input on how training budgets will be used going forward so that Councillors can benefit by participating in courses and workshops relevant to the work they are carrying out and also update their knowledge and skills.
As a result of Councillors acting collectively for their common interests, we have managed to achieve major improvements to councillors’ pay and conditions, such as: Increases in Councillors’ allowances and faster payments Implementation of a pension scheme for Councillors Arranged for Councillors’ travel expenses to be exempt from Tax and National Insurance Represented Councillors’ interests during the local government reorganisation by the formation of an Independent Remuneration Panel with increased councillors’ allowances for the new councils Achieved severance payments for Councillors
Code of Conduct Insurance Following lobbying by the National Association of Councillors, all eleven councils have now arranged Code of Conduct insurance for councillors. This means the councils will pay any legal costs incurred in contesting Code of Conduct complaints, provided the councillor is subsequently found not to have breached the Code. If a breach is confirmed however, the councillor will have to reimburse the council.
Tax exemption on travel expenses Tax exemption for councillors’ travel expenses came into effect from April 2016. The exemption applies to both income tax and national insurance contributions. Please check with your Finance Department if you think the exemption is not being applied.
DCA carers – widened eligibility
The Department for Communities has agreed on a broader definition of eligibility for paid carers under the Dependants’ Carers’ Allowance. Previous guidelines stated that no family member is eligible to be a paid carer. New guidelines permit as paid carer any family member who does not normally live in the household and is not a parent/guardian of the dependent child. This means siblings, grandparents, non-resident children and other family members are now eligible. This change follows lobbying by the National Association of Councillors.
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS
ACHIEVEMENTS
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region
If you have any problem or query relating to your work as a councillor, if there is anything you think would make the job easier, if there is any help or support we could give you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House Jubilee Road Newtownards BT23 4YH
Action on the Code of Conduct The NAC has a number of serious concerns about the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and we are working to progress a review to include the changes that Councillors want to see made to the code. Responses received from government departments that we wrote to during 2018 have stated that this is a matter for the Assembly when it is operational, and a Minister is appointed. We are currently coordinating a formal protest, as requested by our members, to voice their concerns on this matter to Council Chief Executives, the Department for Communities and the office of the Northern Ireland Government Commissioner for Standards.
Reimbursement of GDPR Fees Prior to elected members becoming exempt from payment of Data Collection fees from the 1st April 2019, the NAC attempted to get all councils to reimburse GDPR fees that had been paid by their councillors. This campaign started in 2018 when we surveyed all councillors, at that time there were nine councils not reimbursing fees. Following letters sent by the NAC, the number of councils not reimbursing fees was reduced to five. Work on this campaign ceased when the new legislation came into force.
Councillor Equality We are actively working to try to bring Councillors’ allowances and benefits closer to those received by other public representatives such as MLAs and MPs. We would like to close this gap and have been lobbying for reviews in relation to Councillors’ remuneration, severance pay, pension, office facilities and equipment. We feel that the current political situation is creating a bigger workload for Councillors as the public deem this to be their first port of call for connecting with government, and that the additional responsibilities that Councillors’ have taken on over recent years should to be given recognition by local government.
Councillor Training NAC delegates are involved in meetings that relate to a review process which is being carried out for the evolvement of the Local Government Training Group. We hope to have input on how training budgets will be used going forward so that Councillors can benefit by participating in courses and workshops relevant to the work they are carrying out and also update their knowledge and skills.
As a result of Councillors acting collectively for their common interests, we have managed to achieve major improvements to councillors’ pay and conditions, such as: Increases in Councillors’ allowances and faster payments Implementation of a pension scheme for Councillors Arranged for Councillors’ travel expenses to be exempt from Tax and National Insurance Represented Councillors’ interests during the local government reorganisation by the formation of an Independent Remuneration Panel with increased councillors’ allowances for the new councils Achieved severance payments for Councillors
Code of Conduct Insurance Following lobbying by the National Association of Councillors, all eleven councils have now arranged Code of Conduct insurance for councillors. This means the councils will pay any legal costs incurred in contesting Code of Conduct complaints, provided the councillor is subsequently found not to have breached the Code. If a breach is confirmed however, the councillor will have to reimburse the council.
Tax exemption on travel expenses Tax exemption for councillors’ travel expenses came into effect from April 2016. The exemption applies to both income tax and national insurance contributions. Please check with your Finance Department if you think the exemption is not being applied.
DCA carers – widened eligibility
The Department for Communities has agreed on a broader definition of eligibility for paid carers under the Dependants’ Carers’ Allowance. Previous guidelines stated that no family member is eligible to be a paid carer. New guidelines permit as paid carer any family member who does not normally live in the household and is not a parent/guardian of the dependent child. This means siblings, grandparents, non-resident children and other family members are now eligible. This change follows lobbying by the National Association of Councillors.
ACHIEVEMENTS
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS