What is the difference between "normal" and "excessive" preparation time for a formal meeting?
In the normal course of business, commitment to meetings may fluctuate in terms of the size of the agenda or the complexity of the items considered. This may impact on the preparation time required of an office-holder.
Regardless of this fluctuation, time spent preparing for a formal meeting does not ordinarily attract a separate payment. The fee that is payable on a meeting day has already been determined to take account of the time spent preparing for a meeting.
The Part-time Office determination does provide that "Time spent by the office holder preparing for a formal meeting that the Chair considers is excessive to normal preparation time may be treated as 'authority business'". This means that only where preparation time goes well beyond what is normally required of the office holder could it be considered excessive.
The Tribunal does not envisage circumstances where this would be a regular occurrence. Where office holders do regularly spend excessive time preparing for meetings, the authority may wish to consider whether another remuneration rate, or model, may better suit the functions of the office. Any change would require a submission to the Tribunal.