Presentation on theme: "YOUR ROLE AS A COUNCILLOR And achieving good governance"— Presentation transcript:
1 YOUR ROLE AS A COUNCILLOR And achieving good governance Local Government DivisionApril 17YOUR ROLE AS A COUNCILLOR And achieving good governanceLocal Government DivisionPresentation at LGAT Pre-election Workshops June 2014
2 Local Government Division April 17WHAT I will COVERA brief introduction to the Local Government DivisionYour role as a councillorWorking with your general managerGood meeting proceduresA brief introduction to complying with the Local Government Act, including the role of the Director of Local GovernmentSome key messages
3 The local government division Supports the State - local government relationshipFramework for CollaborationThe Premier’s Local Government CouncilThe Local Government BoardLocal Government Act 1993, Dog Control Act 2000, Burial and Cremation Act 2002Guidance and assistance to councils, councillors and the general public
4 the mayor and deputy mayor The mayor as leader of the communitychairperson and spokespersonliaison with the general manageroversee councillors in their functions and powersThe deputy mayor to act when the mayor absentexercise the mayor’s powers and functions
5 Your role as a councillor As individual councillors and collectively (as part of the team)As an individual councillor torepresent the community and act in the community’s best interestsfacilitate communications between the council and the communityparticipate in council activitiescarry out duties and responsibilities authorised by the councilaccurately represent the council’s policies and decisions
6 Your role as a councillor Councillors collectively tomake decisionsdevelop and monitor implementation of plans and budgetsdetermine and monitor application of policies, plans and programs for services, asset management and treatment of council staff (OH&S)facilitate planning and development in the community's interestsmonitor the general manager’s performancedetermine and review resource allocation and expendituremonitor service provision
7 Your role as a councillor Local Government DivisionApril 17Your role as a councillorIndividual councillors must not:direct council employees in relation to the discharge of their duties; orperform any function of the mayor without the mayor’s approval.This is from s28(3) of the Act. In relation to performing any function of the mayor, this is particularly relevant in relation to the mayor’s role as spokesperson of the council. If an individual councillor wishes to speak on an issue they must make it clear that they are speaking as an individual, not on behalf of the council.
8 Working with the general manager Important for the effective functioning of your councilThe general manager as council chief executive is responsible for the day-to-day operations of councilsCouncillors collectively appoint (for up to 5 years) and monitor the performance of the general managerMayor liaises with the general manager on council activities and performanceGeneral manager to implement policies and decisions, provide advice and support the council
9 Local Government Division April 17GOOD GOVERNANCEGood governance means:Impartial and fair decision-makingCouncillors act – and are seen to act – in the best interests of their communitiesProtect the reputation of local governmentBehave in a professional and ethical mannerMaintain public trust and confidence
10 The Director of local government Local Government DivisionApril 17The Director of local governmentThe Director of Local Government is a statutory appointment made by the Minister for Local Government under the Local Government Act 1993The functions of the Director are to undertake the general administration of the Act subject to the direction of the Minister, and to undertake any other function the Minister may determine.The Director has the power to do anything necessary or convenient to perform these functions.The Director also has roles under the Dog Control, Burial and Cremation and Local Government (Highways) Acts.The Director of Local Government is a statutory appointment made by the Minister for Local Government under the LGAThe functions of the Director are to undertake the general administration of the Act subject to the direction of the Minister, and to undertake any other function the Minister may determine.In practice, this means investigating failures to comply with or possible offences under the Act and associated Regulations.The Director has the power to do anything necessary or convenient to perform these functions.In practice, this includes the acquisition of council documents including closed council minutes.The Director also has roles under the Dog Control, Burial and Cremation and Local Government (Highways) Acts.
11 Good meeting procedures Local Government DivisionApril 17Good meeting proceduresLocal Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2005Council meetings and workshopsChairpersonNotices of meetingsClosed meetingsMotions and amendmentsVotingIt is the councillor’s responsibility to become familiar with the content of the RegulationsThe Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 1993 (the Meeting Regulations) provide a uniform and comprehensive set of rules for the conduct of council meetings. Looks at:Types of meetings (ordinary, special and committee meetings)Chairperson of each type of meetingsThe general manager who gives councillors written notice of a meetingOpen versus closes meetingsAgendasMotions and amendments to motionsDebatingVotingCouncil workshopsMeetings can only be closed under section 15(2) of the Regs for certain reasons – not just because something is controversial and the council wishes to discuss it in private: (a) personnel matters, including complaints against an employee of the council;(b) industrial matters relating to a person;(c) contracts for the supply and purchase of goods or services;(d) the security of property of the council;(e) proposals for the council to acquire land or an interest in the land or for the disposal of land;(f) information provided to the council on the condition it is kept confidential;(g) trade secrets of private bodies;(h) matters relating to actual or possible litigation taken by or involving the council or an employee of the council;(i) applications by councillors for leave of absence;(j) the personal affairs of any person.
12 Local Government Division April 17Code of conductAll councils to have a code of conduct which must cover:Conflicts of interestUse of office of mayor, deputy mayor and councillorsUse of council resourcesUse of council informationGiving and receiving of gifts and benefitsRelationships with the community, other councillors and staffRepresentation of the council
13 Local Government Division April 17Code of conductA code of conduct must be reviewed within 12 months of each ordinary election.Codes of conduct sit below the Local Government Act to deal with less serious issues.They aim to deal with behaviours that, while undesirable, do not amount to a breach of the LGA.The Division is currently reviewing the code of conduct provisions of the ActThe provisions of the Act and Regulations relating to codes of conduct are currently under review. Information will be provided in due course and councils will be consulted on any changes.
14 The act - some key sections Local Government DivisionApril 17The act - some key sectionsPecuniary interest – section 48Disclosure of information – section 338AImproper use of information – section 339Misuse of office – section 339APecuniary interest – see next slideDisclosure of information –A council is to furnish to the Minister, the Treasurer, the Director or the Board –(a) any information requested in relation to its activities; and(b) any documents or records as requested.Improper use of information –(1) A councillor or a member must not make improper use of any information acquired as a councillor or member.(2) An employee of a council, single authority or joint authority must not make improper use of any information acquired as such an employee.(3) Improper use of information includes using the information –(a) to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage or to avoid, directly or indirectly, a disadvantage for oneself, a member of one's family or a close associate; or(b) to cause any loss or damage to any council, controlling authority, single authority, joint authority or person.Misuse of office - (1) A councillor, an employee or a member must not procure the doing or not doing of anything by the council to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage or to avoid, directly or indirectly, a disadvantage for –(a) the councillor, employee or member; or(b) a close associate of the councillor, employee or member; or(c) a member of the councillor's, employee's or member's family.
15 Complaints under The act Local Government DivisionApril 17Complaints under The actAnyone can make a complaint to the Director, under s339E, about a failure to comply or a possible offence under the Act. This includes councillors, council staff and the GM, and members of the public.The Director can also investigate even if no complaint is received. If there is enough proof, a matter may be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecution.There is a 2 year limit on offences under the Act (s252A)Possible consequences of a breach are fines up to 50 penalty units (currently up to $6 500), dismissal from office, and being barred from nominating as a candidate for up to 7 years339E. Complaints against non-compliance or offence (1) A person may make a complaint to the Director –(a) that a council, councillor or general manager has failed to comply with requirements under this or any other Act; or(b) that a councillor, general manager or employee of a council may have committed an offence under this Act. (2) A complaint must –(a) be in writing; and(b) identify the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is made; and(c) give particulars of the grounds of the complaint; and(d) be verified by statutory declaration; and(e) be lodged with the Director. (3) The Director may require a complainant to give further particulars of the complaint supported by a statutory declaration. (4) The Director may carry out an investigation without receiving a complaint specified in subsection (1). (5) The Director may determine the procedure for handling complaints or investigating matters.
16 Local Government Division April 17Pecuniary interestAn offence to participate in any meeting or vote on any matter where a councillor has a pecuniary interest or should be aware that a close associate has a pecuniary interest include:Financial advantage or disadvantageBusiness profits, land value, employment benefitsRegister of interests (kept by the GM)If in doubt, seek advice from the GM, LGD, or a lawyerIt is your responsibility51. Close associateFor the purposes of this Part, a person is a close associate of a councillor or member if that person is–(a) a body corporate of which the councillor or member is a director or a member of the governing body; or(b) a proprietary company in which the councillor or member is a shareholder; or(c) a public company in which the councillor or member is directly or indirectly a substantial shareholder; or(d) a beneficiary under a trust or an object of a discretionary trust of which the councillor or member is a trustee; or(e) a business partner of the councillor or member; or(f) the employer or an employee of the councillor or member; or(g) a person from whom the councillor or member has received, or might reasonably be expected to receive, a fee, commission or other reward for providing professional or other services in relation to a matter being dealt with or to be dealt with by the council, council committee, special committee, controlling authority, single authority or joint authority; or(h) the spouse or partner of the councillor, member, councillor's son or daughter or member's son or daughter; or(i) the son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father of the councillor or member or of their spouse or partner.
17 Some examples of pecuniary interest Local Government DivisionApril 17Some examples of pecuniary interestA councillor votes on an application for funding submitted by an organisation of which the councillor is a committee member, even if it is a not-for-profit community organisationA councillor votes on a development application alleged to benefit a close family member by creating improved road access to the family member’s propertyA councillor votes on a development application alleged to benefit or cause detriment to the councillor’s businessNote that it is always subjective and depends on the facts and circumstances of each particular case. That is why it is always important to seek advice if in doubt.There is a process for declaring an interest:48. Declaration of interest by councillor (1) A councillor must not participate at any meeting of a council, council committee, special committee, controlling authority, single authority or joint authority in any discussion, nor vote on any matter, in respect of which the councillor–(a) has an interest; or(b) is aware or ought to be aware that a close associate has an interest.Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units. (2) A councillor must declare any interest in a matter before any discussion on that matter commences.Penalty: Fine not exceeding 50 penalty units. (3) On declaring an interest, the councillor is to leave the room in which the meeting is being held.Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units. (4) The councillor, by notice in writing, is to advise the general manager of the details of any interest declared under this section within 7 days of so declaring.Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units. (5) The general manager is to –(a) ensure that the declaration of interest is recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which it is made; and(b) record the details of any interest declared in the register of interests kept under section 54. (6) In addition to any penalty imposed under this section, a court may make an order –(a) barring the councillor from nominating as a candidate at any election for a period not exceeding 7 years; and(b) dismissing the councillor from office.
18 When elected – Some key messages Ensure you understand your responsibilitiesStrive for high ethical standards and good governanceAct in the best interests of your communityBe open, accountable and transparentSeek advice if you are unsure about anythingVisit the Local Government Division website:Telephone: or