17-39 – Consultation on the Proposed Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines
What’s new or changing
- Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 in August 2016 saw the inclusion in the prescribed role of councillors under section 232 a responsibility “to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a councillor”.
- In support of this, the amendments allow regulations to be made for induction and other professional development for mayors and councillors. The proposed regulations are described in the attachment to this circular.
- The Office of Local Government (OLG) has prepared guidelines to assist councils to develop and deliver induction and ongoing professional development activities for their mayor and councillors in compliance with the proposed regulations. These will be issued under section 23A of the Act.
- OLG has issued a consultation draft of the proposed guidelines for comment prior to their being finalised.
What this will mean for your council
- Under the guidelines, councils’ induction and professional development programs are to consist of three elements:
- Pre-election candidate sessions – these are to ensure prospective candidates are aware of what will be expected of them if elected (these are not mandatory but are encouraged)
- Induction program – this aims to equip mayors and councillors with the information they need to perform their role effectively over the first few months and has a particular focus on building positive, collaborative relationships between councillors and with staff
- Professional development program – this is to be developed in consultation with all councillors and delivered over the term of the council to build the skills, knowledge and personal attributes necessary to be an effective mayor or councillor.
- Councils will be required to report to the council on the induction and ongoing professional development activities offered to the mayor and each councillor and whether they participated in them and to make this information publicly available on their websites.
- OLG is inviting submissions from councils and other stakeholders on the consultation draft of the Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines.
- The consultation draft of the Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines is available on OLG’s website at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.
- Submissions may be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submissions should be labelled “Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines Consultation” and marked to the attention of OLG’s Council Governance Team.
- Submissions should be made by COB Friday 16 March 2018.
Where to go for further information
- For further information, contact OLG’s Council Governance Team on (02) 4428 4100.
Acting Chief Executive