Local Government Reform Act 2014

53.

Members’ expenses, remuneration, etc. including training and attendance at conferences, etc.

53. (1) Section 141 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following after subsection (1):

“(1A) A member of a local authority who is elected, appointed or nominated by that authority to another body in accordance with subsection (1), shall, within 15 working days of the end of each 3 monthly period to 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December in each year notify the local authority concerned of all attendances by the member at meetings of the body concerned and any payments made by or on behalf of that body (including details of distances travelled where payments are in respect of the use of a private vehicle) to the member during the period.

(1B) Subsection (1A) shall also apply to a former member of a local authority or to a period after the holding of local elections in respect of any payments while a member of the authority but received after he or she ceases to be a member of the authority or after the holding of local elections.”.

(2) Section 142 of the Principal Act is amended—

(a) in subsection (1) by substituting the following for paragraphs (a) and (b):

“(a) attendance at meetings of—

(i) the local authority,

(ii) municipal district members of that authority,

(iii) a committee of that authority, or

(iv) a joint committee or joint body involving that authority;

(b) attendance at conferences, seminars, training or other events to which subsection (5) or (5A) applies;”,

(b) in subsection (4) by inserting the following after paragraph (g):

“(ga) a public register of all attendances and payments to which section 141 relates;”,

(c) in subsection (5) by deleting “, training” in paragraph (a) and substituting the following for paragraphs (f) and (g):

“(f) Where a member of an elected council attends a conference, seminar or other meeting or event held by virtue of an authorisation under this section, he or she shall, within 15 working days of such attendance, submit to the Cathaoirleach a written report, which shall indicate the nature of the meeting and contain a summary of the proceedings, and the Cathaoirleach shall submit the report to the next ordinary meeting of the local authority.

(fa) A report prepared for the purposes of paragraph (f) shall be made available free of charge by the local authority to any member of the public who so requests and for that purpose may be made available by that authority on its internet website.

(g) Without prejudice to paragraphs (a) to (fa), the Minister may issue general guidelines for the purposes of this subsection, including guidelines as to expenditure in relation to attendance at conferences, seminars or other meetings or events.”,

(d) by inserting the following after subsection (5):

“(5A) (a) This subsection applies to training regarding or connected with any matter that is of concern to the local authority in relation to the performance of its functions and is relevant to its administrative area and to the local community.

(b) An elected council may authorise one or more of its members to avail of training or attend training events to which this subsection applies and such authorisation may, subject to regulations under this section, be given in an individual case or as regards such attendances generally during a particular year.

(c) A local authority may provide in its budget an amount to meet expenditure for the purposes of this subsection.

(d) An elected council shall not authorise under this subsection unless, having had regard to the following matters, it is satisfied that the authorisation is justified having particular regard to any training referred to in guidelines issued in accordance with paragraph (f)and having regard to—

(i) the benefits likely to accrue,

(ii) the general interests of its administrative area and the local community, and

(iii) the total cost involved.

(e) An authorisation under this subsection is a reserved function and such authorisations shall not exceed the amount provided for in accordance with paragraph (c).

(f) Without prejudice to paragraphs (a) to (e), the Minister may issue general guidelines for the purposes of this subsection, including guidelines as to the syllabus of a training programme, the development of a training programme, the nomination of training by specified bodies, either generally or in respect of specified courses, as suitable for inclusion in a training programme and expenditure in relation to attendance at specified training events.

(g) The Minister may make regulations—

(i) requiring attendance within a specified period by members of local authorities, or any class of such members, at training or development courses (otherwise than at his or her own expense) of a type necessary or appropriate for the members to attend so as to enable each such member to discharge his or her duties as a member of the local authority, joint board, committee of a local authority or member of another body to which section 141(1) relates, as the case may be,

(ii) providing for a reduction in remuneration or any allowances for expenses (including the amount of such reduction expressed as a percentage of specified remuneration or allowances for expenses, as the case may be) which would otherwise be payable to a member of a local authority by virtue of regulations under this section where such member fails to attend training or development courses which he or she is required to attend under regulations to which subparagraph (i) relates, and

(iii) providing for exceptional or compassionate grounds (either generally or by reference to specified types of circumstances) where a reduction to which subparagraph (ii) relates would not apply.”,

and

(e) by substituting the following for subsection (6):

“(6) A local authority shall comply with any guidelines issued under subsections (5) (g) and (5A)(f).”.