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18-44 Commencement of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and Procedures

Date: Tuesday 18th December 2018
Category: Council Circular

Circular Details

Circular No 18-44 / 18 December 2018 / A621282

Previous Circular

 18-24 Status of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and Procedures

Who should read this

Mayors / Councillors / General Managers / Joint Organisation Executive Officers / Complaints Coordinators / Conduct Reviewers

Contact

Council Governance Team – (02) 4428 4100 / olg@olg.nsw.gov.au

Action required

Council to Implement

PDF Version of Circular

 18-44 Commencement of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and Procedures

Attachment/s

 Frequently asked questions

 

What’s new or changing

  • The new 2018 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code of Conduct) and Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (Procedures) have now been prescribed under the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. The new prescribed Model Code of Conduct and Procedures are available on OLG’s website.
  • Provisions governing the use of social media (clause 8.21) in the previously released version of the Model Code of Conduct issued on 5 September 2018 have been removed. However, it remains open to councils to adopt this provision as a supplementary provision of their code of conduct, should they choose to do so.

 

What this will mean for your council

  • Councils have six months from the date of prescription, (14 December 2018 – 14 June 2019) to adopt a code of conduct and procedures based on the prescribed Model Code of Conduct and Procedures. The transitional arrangements for the new Model Code of Conduct and Procedures are set out below.
  • Councils’ complaints coordinators should bring this circular and the attached FAQ to the attention of their council’s conduct reviewers. Complaints coordinators should also inform conduct reviewers when the council has adopted a new code of conduct and procedures and provide copies.
  • Councils should review their existing panels of conduct reviewers and determine to appoint a new panel using the expression of interest process prescribed under the Procedures if they have not done so in the past four years. Councils may appoint shared panels with other councils including through a joint organisation or another regional body associated with the councils.

 

Key points

  • Councils’ existing adopted codes of conduct and procedures will remain in force until such time as councils adopt a new code of conduct and procedures based on the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures prescribed under the Regulation.
  • If a council fails to adopt a new code of conduct and procedures based on the new Model Code of Conduct and Procedures within six months of their prescription, the provisions of the new Model Code of Conduct and Procedures will automatically override any provisions of a council’s adopted code of conduct and procedures that are inconsistent with those contained in the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures through the operation of sections 440(4) and 440AA(4) of the Local Government Act 1993 (unless the inconsistent provisions of a council’s adopted code of conduct are more onerous than those contained in the Model Code of Conduct).
  • In adopting a new code of conduct and procedures, councils may include provisions that are supplementary to those contained in the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures. Councils may also impose more onerous requirements under their adopted codes of conduct than those prescribed under the Model Code of Conduct. However, councils must not dilute the standards prescribed under the Model Code of Conduct in their adopted codes of conduct.
  • Some councils indicated in their feedback on the consultation draft of the Model Code of Conduct a preference for adopting separate codes of conduct for councillors, staff and delegates and committee members instead of a single code of conduct that applies to all council officials. To assist councils to do this, OLG has prepared bespoke versions of the Model Code of Conduct for councillors, staff and delegates and committee members for adoption, instead of a single code of conduct, should councils wish to do so.
  • Code of conduct complaints must be assessed against the standards prescribed under the version of the council’s code of conduct that was in force at the time the conduct the subject of the complaint is alleged to have occurred.
  • Code of conduct complaints must be dealt with in accordance with the version of the council’s procedures that were in force at the time the complaint was made.

 

Where to go for further information

  • Further information is provided in the FAQ attached to this circular.
  • The new Model Code of Conduct and Procedures and other associated documents are available on OLG’s website at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.
  • OLG will be providing further guidance and assistance to councils to support implementation of the new Model Code of Conduct and Procedures during the six month transitional timeframe.
  • 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

 

 

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