National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region
Campaigns
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House Jubilee Road Newtownards BT23 4YH t: 028 9181 9413 e: naoc@btconnect.com
t: 028 9181 9413
I f   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.
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.
Items of concern for Northern Ireland’s Councillors are discussed at regular meetings by our Members and Executive Committee.   Decisions taken and unanimously agreed actions are then carried out by us on behalf of our Members.  Current campaigns that we are working on include:
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 October and November 2018 have stated that this is a matter for the Assembly when it is operational, and a Minister is appointed.
Reimbursement of GDPR Fees In our work to attempt to get all Councils to reimburse GDPR fees paid by Councillors, we surveyed all Councillors earlier this year.  At that time there were nine Councils not paying and following letters sent by NAC this has now reduced to five not paying. The six Councils that have agreed to reimburse Councillors GDPR fees to date are Antrim & Newtownabbey, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon, Belfast City, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Mid & East Antrim and Newry, Mourne & Down.
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.
Achievements
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 See further details below: 
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.
naoc@btconnect.com
Campaigns 
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH Phone/fax: 028 9181 9413 Email: naoc@btconnect.com
028 9181 9413
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.
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 October and November 2018 have stated that this is a matter for the Assembly when it is operational, and a Minister is appointed.  
Reimbursement of GDPR Fees In our work to attempt to get all Councils to reimburse GDPR fees paid by Councillors, we surveyed all Councillors earlier this year.  At that time there were nine Councils not paying and following letters sent by NAC this has now reduced to five not paying. The six Councils that have agreed to reimburse Councillors GDPR fees to date are Antrim & Newtownabbey, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon, Belfast City, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Mid & East Antrim and Newry, Mourne & Down.
Achievements
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.
Items of concern for Northern Ireland’s Councillors are discussed at regular meetings by our Members and Executive Committee.   Decisions taken and unanimously agreed actions are then carried out by us on behalf of our Members.  Current campaigns that we are working on include:
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.
Achievements
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                         See further details below: