Circulars

18-25 – Status of the new Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines

What’s new or changing

  •  Amendments 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, regulations will soon be made for induction and other professional development for mayors and councillors.
  • The Office of Local Government (OLG) has prepared guidelines, in consultation with the sector, to assist councils to develop and deliver induction and ongoing professional development activities for their mayor and councillors in compliance with the proposed regulations.
  • The Minister for Local Government has released the guidelines so that councils can familiarise themselves with the new requirements before the regulations are made.
  • The guidelines are available on OLG’s website at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.

What this will mean for your council

  • OLG will provide more detailed guidance on the new requirements once the regulations are made.
  • In the meantime, there is nothing to prevent councils from implementing councillor induction and ongoing professional development programs in compliance with the guidelines prior to the making of the regulations.

Key points

  • Under the guidelines, councils’ induction and professional development programs are to consist of three elements:
    o 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)
    o Induction program – this aims to equip mayors and councillors with the information they need to perform their role effectively over the first
    Strengthening local government
    few months and has a particular focus on building positive, collaborative relationships between councillors and with staff
    o 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.

Where to go for further information

  • For more information, contact the Council Governance Team by telephone on 02 4428 4100 or by email at olg@olg.nsw.gov.au.

Tim Hurst
Chief Executive