Governance documents required by the Local Government Act 2020

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The new Local Government Act2020 (the Act) marks the first comprehensive overhaul of this key piece of local government legislation in Victoria for over 30 years.

The new Act has a number of requirements across four stages. The first stage of the implementation of the Act introduces a series of Overarching Governance Principles and supporting principles addressing community engagement, public transparency, strategic planning, financial management and service performance.

A key element of the Act that is required to be adopted by Councils by 1 September 2020 is the Governance Rules. At its meeting on 29 June, Council endorsed for the Draft Governance Rules 2020 to be available for public consultation. In addition, Council also considered and endorsed the following draft governance policies and guidelines that are required by the Act, to be available for community feedback:

·Draft Councillor Support and Expenses Policy

·Draft Public Transparency Policy

·Draft Audit & Risk Charter

·Draft Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO, and

·Draft Delegated Committees (Planning Committee )

We are currently reviewing the feedback received for the the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and governance policies and the final policies and documents will be considered for adoption by Council in July.


What’s happened so far?

Draft Governance Rules 2020

Council adopted its Meeting Procedures Local Law in February 2020. During the making of this local law, a significant range of internal and external engagement was undertaken, including a formal public submission period of 28 days.

Council also developed and adopted its Election Period Policy in November 2019, which details the requirements, restrictions and procedures for Councillors, Candidates and Council Officers during an election period.

Both the Meeting Procedure and the Election Period sections are direct translations into the Governance Rules with appropriate legislative changes and minor changes that are not substantive but assist clarity and consistency of approach.

Draft governance policies and guidelines

The following draft governance policies and guidelines have been developed in consultation with relevant Council officers; Local Government Victoria; regional working groups / forums; members of Council’s Audit Committee; external Governance consultants, and legal advice.

These governance documents are largely policy neutral procedural changes and incorporate best practice approaches and standards.


What’s happening now?

You can still view the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and draft governance policies and guidelines.

Draft Governance Rules 2020
Draft Councillor Support and Expenses Policy
Draft Public Transparency Policy
Draft Audit & Risk Charter
Draft Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO
Draft Delegated Committees (Planning Committee)


Information about the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and the governance policies and guidelines

The Act requires Council to develop, adopt and keep in force Governance Rules with respect to the:-

·Conduct of Council meetings and meetings of Delegated Committees.

·Election Period policy.

·Form and availability of meeting records.

·Election of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the appointment of an Acting Mayor.

·Procedures for the disclosure of a Conflict of Interest by a Councillor or a member of a Delegated Committee and by a member of Council staff.

·The draft Governance Rules address all of these matters

The Act also requires Council to develop and implement additional governance policies and guidelines.


Councillor Support and Expenses Policy
This policy is generally consistent with the existing Councillor Support and Expenses Policy. However, the proposed policy introduces a principles-based approach, based on Council Integrity, encouraging Diversity in Participation, Equity and Access, Accountability and Transparency, Reasonableness and Appropriateness and Separation.

Public Transparency Policy
This new policy specifies the information (including policies, plans and reports) that will be publicly available, describes how this information will be made publicly available, and gives effect to several legislated public transparency principles:

Audit & Risk Charter

The Audit and Risk Committee Charter specifies the functions and responsibilities of the Committee, including:

·Monitoring compliance of Council policies and procedures with relevant requirements

·Monitoring Council’s financial and performance reporting

·Providing advice on risk management and fraud prevention systems and controls.

·Overseeing internal and external audit functions.

Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO
The Act requires that Council review and update the instruments of delegation to the Chief Executive Officer. Councillors resolved in March 2020 to amend the CEO delegation (both financial and authority) in anticipation of possible circumstances created by the COVID19 pandemic, i.e. the inability of the Council to meet. To date, this delegation has not been exercised, however it is recommended that these Emergency Powers be maintained. It is also proposed to permanently increase the CEO financial delegation from $500,000 to $1 million, as the current financial delegation to the CEO of $500,000 has been in place for at least 15 years.

Delegated Committees (Planning Committee)

·In addition to the power to delegate authority to natural persons, the Act continues the practice of delegation of some powers to ‘Delegated Committees’.

·Council has two existing committees that fall within the scope of Delegated Committees under the Act – the Planning Committee and the Hearing of Submissions Committee.

·The Act provides that Council must adopt new Instruments of Delegation in relation to these two committees, if they are to remain operational beyond 1st September 2020.

·At this time, only the Planning Committee is to be re-established as a Delegated Committee, and the Hearing of Submissions Committee will be reviewed during the coming months in the context of preparation of the Community Engagement Policy that the Act requires be adopted by 1 March 2021.

The new Local Government Act2020 (the Act) marks the first comprehensive overhaul of this key piece of local government legislation in Victoria for over 30 years.

The new Act has a number of requirements across four stages. The first stage of the implementation of the Act introduces a series of Overarching Governance Principles and supporting principles addressing community engagement, public transparency, strategic planning, financial management and service performance.

A key element of the Act that is required to be adopted by Councils by 1 September 2020 is the Governance Rules. At its meeting on 29 June, Council endorsed for the Draft Governance Rules 2020 to be available for public consultation. In addition, Council also considered and endorsed the following draft governance policies and guidelines that are required by the Act, to be available for community feedback:

·Draft Councillor Support and Expenses Policy

·Draft Public Transparency Policy

·Draft Audit & Risk Charter

·Draft Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO, and

·Draft Delegated Committees (Planning Committee )

We are currently reviewing the feedback received for the the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and governance policies and the final policies and documents will be considered for adoption by Council in July.


What’s happened so far?

Draft Governance Rules 2020

Council adopted its Meeting Procedures Local Law in February 2020. During the making of this local law, a significant range of internal and external engagement was undertaken, including a formal public submission period of 28 days.

Council also developed and adopted its Election Period Policy in November 2019, which details the requirements, restrictions and procedures for Councillors, Candidates and Council Officers during an election period.

Both the Meeting Procedure and the Election Period sections are direct translations into the Governance Rules with appropriate legislative changes and minor changes that are not substantive but assist clarity and consistency of approach.

Draft governance policies and guidelines

The following draft governance policies and guidelines have been developed in consultation with relevant Council officers; Local Government Victoria; regional working groups / forums; members of Council’s Audit Committee; external Governance consultants, and legal advice.

These governance documents are largely policy neutral procedural changes and incorporate best practice approaches and standards.


What’s happening now?

You can still view the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and draft governance policies and guidelines.

Draft Governance Rules 2020
Draft Councillor Support and Expenses Policy
Draft Public Transparency Policy
Draft Audit & Risk Charter
Draft Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO
Draft Delegated Committees (Planning Committee)


Information about the Draft Governance Rules 2020 and the governance policies and guidelines

The Act requires Council to develop, adopt and keep in force Governance Rules with respect to the:-

·Conduct of Council meetings and meetings of Delegated Committees.

·Election Period policy.

·Form and availability of meeting records.

·Election of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the appointment of an Acting Mayor.

·Procedures for the disclosure of a Conflict of Interest by a Councillor or a member of a Delegated Committee and by a member of Council staff.

·The draft Governance Rules address all of these matters

The Act also requires Council to develop and implement additional governance policies and guidelines.


Councillor Support and Expenses Policy
This policy is generally consistent with the existing Councillor Support and Expenses Policy. However, the proposed policy introduces a principles-based approach, based on Council Integrity, encouraging Diversity in Participation, Equity and Access, Accountability and Transparency, Reasonableness and Appropriateness and Separation.

Public Transparency Policy
This new policy specifies the information (including policies, plans and reports) that will be publicly available, describes how this information will be made publicly available, and gives effect to several legislated public transparency principles:

Audit & Risk Charter

The Audit and Risk Committee Charter specifies the functions and responsibilities of the Committee, including:

·Monitoring compliance of Council policies and procedures with relevant requirements

·Monitoring Council’s financial and performance reporting

·Providing advice on risk management and fraud prevention systems and controls.

·Overseeing internal and external audit functions.

Instrument of Delegation – Council to the CEO
The Act requires that Council review and update the instruments of delegation to the Chief Executive Officer. Councillors resolved in March 2020 to amend the CEO delegation (both financial and authority) in anticipation of possible circumstances created by the COVID19 pandemic, i.e. the inability of the Council to meet. To date, this delegation has not been exercised, however it is recommended that these Emergency Powers be maintained. It is also proposed to permanently increase the CEO financial delegation from $500,000 to $1 million, as the current financial delegation to the CEO of $500,000 has been in place for at least 15 years.

Delegated Committees (Planning Committee)

·In addition to the power to delegate authority to natural persons, the Act continues the practice of delegation of some powers to ‘Delegated Committees’.

·Council has two existing committees that fall within the scope of Delegated Committees under the Act – the Planning Committee and the Hearing of Submissions Committee.

·The Act provides that Council must adopt new Instruments of Delegation in relation to these two committees, if they are to remain operational beyond 1st September 2020.

·At this time, only the Planning Committee is to be re-established as a Delegated Committee, and the Hearing of Submissions Committee will be reviewed during the coming months in the context of preparation of the Community Engagement Policy that the Act requires be adopted by 1 March 2021.