Meeting 1 September 2020 requirements - draft Governance Rules

In order to provide support to councils to achieve the requirements due for implementation by 1 September 2020, Local Government Victoria, in addition to the co-design process has provided draft Governance Rules for councils to use. LGV is still working an internal review process and would welcome any feedback on the draft by email to LGAct@delwp.vic.gov.au.
Draft Governance Rules
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Our key motivation is to support the sector with the opportunity to lead the implementation and determine - through co-design processes – the products and materials that best meet your needs.

The approach of co-design was presented in the first workshops:

  • Identification of ideas - complete
  • Agreement of the product/s to be developed
  • Establish the approach to develop product/s
  • Customer testing and feedback
  • Refinement and finalisation
  • Publication

Co-design - prioritise products to be developed

We are asking for feedback on the following challenge statements. To ensure we get your input into the development of material that is scaleable, please tell us the size of your council.

We would also like to know how well you feel your council is placed to meet the expectations of the requirements for Governance Rules? 5 = very ready, 1 = nothing in place

Governance Rules

1. How might we create a community of practice for governance staff that provides councils the opportunity to build capacity, learn and share.

High priority
Medium priority
Low priority
Establishment of a platform to share experiences and practice
Development of a support network of local government specialists
An approach to sharing of best practice
Governance Rules

2. How might we embed good systems and processes in councils that supports a strong governance framework for the operation of councils.

High priority
Medium priority
Low priority
Governance compliance framework
Develop a maturity framework for good governance within councils as a self-assessment

Achieving good practice governance rules

Section 60 of the Local Government Act 2020 requires each council to adopt and apply governance rules that describe the way they will conduct council meetings and make decisions by 1 September 2020. We recognise that in the most part councils will only need to update existing governance policies to comply with this requirement. From the online workshop, we have taken your ideas from the workshop and developed the following themes:
  • Keep resource requirements within context - small rural councils may not have dedicated resources.
  • Risk and Audit Committees need to be able to assess the quality and capability of council's governance framework. A maturity assessment approach would allow council to show improvement over time
  • Keep it simple guidance notes set at a level where the new kids on the block can participate and understand.
  • The good practice guideline(s) to be issued by the Minister under section 87, otherwise will need templates so can develop & take through Council before 1 September deadline for adoption
  • Information regarding Primary and Ordinary Returns under the new legislation need good practice guides from LGV, this makes it easier for Councils to incorporate and more palatable for Councillors to adopt
  • Examples of good practice draft set of rules that could be tailored to small regional as well as large Metro case studies details of people in the sector or elsewhere who may be able to provide advice and support
  • An overarching good practice framework that includes all the templates and ensure the links to the act and regulations.
  • Clear guidelines to what can be decided at council meetings in and out of camera
  • Practical guidance on how to apply the Act's governance principles
  • Guidance on required consultation in development of the Rules, since the Engagement Policy is not required until later
  • Strengthening rules around Cr behaviour in meetings to give Chair more power to deal with issues
  • A template/sample document, or at minimum a list of recommended inclusions
  • Be able to share draft for review and feedback
  • template Rules document, so that the foundations are consistent across councils and can be built upon by individual councils who wish to add more
  • Templates tailored to small rural shires
  • Template documents that take into account best practice as developed by VAGO, LG VIC, the Inspectorate, MAV, Good Governance Guides - a complete approach
  • Direction from the State regarding minimum standards and consistency
  • Ability to include sanctions / penalty for breach of Governance Rules
  • Model rules that undergo public consultation in their preparation.Councils may enhance model rules to suit their own needs but only need to consult on those rules that are not included in the model rules. Need to remove the ability for individual councillors to move amendments to governance rules that may benefit specific councillor interests. Need consistency and standards
  • Enforceable rules vs principles and impacts for non-compliance
  • quality management principles of being able to assess the maturity of your governance using a capability maturity model approach
  • Min standards for declaration of conflicts of interest by Crs and staff
  • What base standards are essential and which might be variable and to what degree. What does best practice look like?
  • Rules still need to cover behaviour of Community Members. Insufficient time for other local laws to be updated.
  • Regulations to interpret legislative expectations to enable models to be developed and discussions started
  • Consultation requirements and link to engagement policy?
  • Advice to manage related documents which reference different stages of the Act e.g. role of Councillors (stage 1), role of CEO (stage 4) in Cr-Staff Interaction protocol
  • summary of governance requirements in LGA89 not in LGA2020- gap analysis
  • Keep the rules simple - some Councils are too complicated.
  • What the consultation/ community engagement expectations are? Is it just online?
  • How joint meetings provisions are included in the rules
  • Question and answer so that staff in the sector don’t have to ask the same question over and over and answers can be built on over time as experience develops
  • Cheat sheet of sections of Act that obligate Council to have appropriate governance measures in place and brief sentence on what is required
  • Guidance on consultation prior to community engagement policies
  • consistency (where possible) for the sector makes us all look like on the same page
  • A framework for good governance by councils.
  • Framework that provides standardised approaches to both legislative governance requirements but also strategic governance activities such as policy development, proactive enforcement and compliance models.
  • Some sort of hierarchy in your documentation. What we must follow. What we can follow and what might be useful.
  • Allow 2 stages , current to Start in September, updated to start from the election. Confusion will reign if Councillors have to change how they operate for such a short time.
  • streamlined and not data heavy easy to reference and use and consistent throughout the sector

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