Consultation draft of the new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW
Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) in August last year by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 provide for a model code of meeting practice to be prescribed by regulation.
The Office of Local Government (OLG) is consulting with councils and other stakeholders on the new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW (Model Meeting Code). Once this is finalised, it will replace the meeting rules currently prescribed in the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (the Regulation).
The Model Meeting Code has two elements:
- It contains mandatory provisions (indicated in black font) that reflect the existing meetings provisions of the Act and adapt those currently contained in the Regulation. The existing meetings provisions of the Regulation have been updated and supplemented to reflect contemporary meetings practice by councils and to address ambiguities and areas of confusion in the existing provisions based on feedback from councils.
- It contains non-mandatory provisions (indicated in red font) that cover areas of meetings practice that are common to most councils but where there may be a need for some variation in practice between councils based on local circumstances. The non-mandatory provisions will also operate to set a benchmark based on what OLG sees as being best practice for the relevant area of practice.
The Model Meeting Code has been designed to achieve a range of outcomes, namely:
- promoting, as the principal object of meetings, the making of decisions by the governing bodies of councils that are in the best interests of the council and the community as a whole
- promoting more accessible, orderly, effective and efficient meetings and to provide councils with the tools to achieve these outcomes
- prescribing principles to inform the way in which meetings are conducted and to prescribe meeting rules that are consistent with these principles
- codifying areas of common practice across councils in a way that is clear, efficient, leads to better informed and more effective decision making and that is consistent with the requirements of the Act
- promoting greater consistency between councils across the state in key areas of meetings practice without losing the ability to allow some variation in practice to meet local needs or expectations
- allowing greater flexibility in the conduct of meetings to accommodate a range of potential scenarios that are not addressed by the current meeting rules
- simplifying the language currently used to make the prescribed meeting rules more accessible and easier to understand
- modernising the rules to accommodate current and emerging technologies (e.g. electronic notice, electronic voting systems and webcasting).
Links to the consultation draft of the Model Meeting Code can be found on the ‘Related Downloads’ section on this webpage.
Submissions can be made by email to email@example.com. Submissions should be labelled “Model Meeting Code Consultation” and marked to the attention of OLG’s Council Governance Team.
Submissions should be made by COB Friday 16 March 2018.
For further information, contact OLG’s Council Governance Team on (02) 4428 4100 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All submissions are a matter of public record and will be made available for public inspection upon request. Submissions may contain information that is defined as ‘personal information’ under the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Submissions will be handled in accordance with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act, 1998 and the requirements of the Act will be followed for the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information contained in the submissions. The Office reserves the right to withhold submissions which it considerers to be defamatory, offensive or otherwise not in the public interest to release.