Qld Councils: Are your policies up-to-date?
A code of conduct for councillors and a new procedure for selling land for overdue rates are among a raft of law reforms made last year that Councils must ensure are reflected in their policies and processes.
Significant reforms made in 2020 to the Local Government Act 2009 and Local Government Regulation 2012 included:
- an overhaul of the regime for dealing with councillor's conflicts of interest
- new register of interest provisions
- updated council meeting procedures
- a new Code of Conduct for councillors
- allowing a Council's CEO to make guidelines about administrative support to councillors
- authorising councillors to appoint councillor advisors
- abolishing the requirement for newspaper advertising when contracting
- changes to procedures for selling land for overdue rates
If they haven't already done so, Councils should check all their policies and procedures relating to these matters have been revised to ensure compliance with the current legislation. Best practice is to regularly review and update policies and procedures so they refer to, and are consistent with, current laws.
There are fewer legislative reforms on the agenda for 2021 providing some breathing space for busy Councils who haven't already taken action. Now is a good time to get that review underway. In particular, we recommend a full review of policies and procedures relating to:
- Conflicts of interest
- Registers of interests
- Councillor gifts and benefits, travel and accommodation
- Meeting procedures and standing orders for Council meetings and meetings of Council committees
- Councillor conduct
- Administrative support to councillors
- Contracting and procurement
- Selling land for overdue rates
For expertise in drafting legally compliant Council policies and procedures, please email Tim Fynes-Clinton or Sonia Smith today, or call us on (07) 3243 0000.
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