Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 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 have been made requiring councils to provide induction training and ongoing professional development for mayors and councillors.
The Office of Local Government has issued guidelines under section 23A of the Act to assist councils to develop and deliver induction training and ongoing professional development activities for their mayor and councillors in compliance with the regulations.
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.
Information about councillor participation in induction and professional development activities must be published in councils’ annual reports.
For further information, contact OLG’s Council Governance Team on (02) 4428 4100 or via email email@example.com.