The draft Governance Rules are a new policy required by section 60 of the Act and must include:
(a) the conduct of Council meetings;
(b) the conduct of meetings of delegated committees;
(c) the form and availability of meeting records;
(d) the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor;
(d.a) the appointment of an Acting Mayor;
(e) an election period policy in accordance with section 69;
(f) the procedures for the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a Councillor or a member of a delegated committee under section 130;
(g) the procedure for the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a Councillor under section 131;
(h) the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a member of Council staff when providing information in respect of a matter within the meaning of section 126(1);
(i) any other matters prescribed by the regulations.
About the Governance Rules
The draft Governance Rules include the meeting procedures sections drawn from Local Law No. 2 of 2019, which includes the conduct of Council meetings and meetings of delegated committees, the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and appointment of an Acting Mayor. This ensures that meeting procedures currently undertaken remain in place except where adjustment was required to comply with the new legislation. This includes amendments made to sections relating to closing a meeting to the public and voting processes so as to comply with the Act. The meeting procedures have also undergone minor wording amendments for clarity and to adopt non-gendered language to align with our gender equity commitments and the Charter of Human Rights, and a re-ordering of some sections was undertaken to reflect Council’s current order of business and procedures.
One change between the 1989 and 2020 Acts is the definition and disclosure of conflicts of interest. Included in the draft Governance Rules are procedures for the disclosure of a conflict of interest made in accordance with section 130 by a Councillor, a member of a delegated committee, or by a Council officer acting under a delegated power or statutory function. Although a section regarding conflicts of interest was included in the Local Law No. 2 of 2019, the draft Governance Rules now has a Chapter dedicated to conflicts of interest and sets out in detail the requirements for declaring conflicts and the subsequent removal from decision making processes.
The draft Governance Rules also include the Surf Coast Election Period Policy as is required under section 60. This policy, which was already in place, has been amended slightly to reflect specific requirements set out in the Act for inclusion in the Election Period Policy. The policy has retained all existing clauses, therefore there are no major changes to the processes to be undertaken during the caretaker period prior to the Local Government general elections.
These draft Governance Rules are designed to be clear, instructive and provide transparency to the decision making processes of Council.
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