Ballarat City Council last night adopted new and comprehensive Governance Rules and a Public Transparency Policy.
Both will come into effect on Tuesday 1 September and are mandated as part of the Local Government Act 2020 requirements.
The Governance Rules will cover a wide range of governance issues, including:
• Conduct of Council and Delegated Committee meetings
• Meeting records form and availability
• Mayor and Deputy Mayor election, along with the appointment of an Acting Mayor
• Election Period Policy
• Conflict of Interest disclosure by a Councillor or Delegated Committee member
• Conflict of interest disclosure by a staff member
The Public Transparency Policy relates to principles such as:
• Transparent Council decision making processes except when dealing with confidential information
• Publicly available Council information unless dealing with confidential information or releasing it would be contrary to public interest
• Understandable and accessible Council information
• Public awareness of Council information availability
The Governance Rules and the Public Transparency Policy were presented to Council on 8 July before being put out for community consultation.
A key theme from submissions on Council’s mySay website was a commitment to transparency and accountability and engaging with the community in decision making.
The 1 September start date will ensure changes in processes and information can be carried out.
The Governance Rules were drafted based on Local Government Victoria guidance, as well as the existing Council Meeting Procedure Local Law 2018.
The Public Transparency Policy was prepared drawing on Local Government Victoria’s best practice model and understanding of Council’s existing practices.
Council also adopted the Common Seal and Meeting Conduct Local Law that regulates the use of Council’s common seal, regulates conduct at meetings and creates offences.
It replaces the current City of Ballarat Meeting Procedure Local Law 2018 and was prepared using the State Government Guidelines for Local Laws and a review of Victorian best practice approaches.