Meeting 1 September 2020 requirements - draft Public Transparency Policy

Due to the overwhelming amount of feedback received, the working group has created a new version of the Draft Public Transparency Policy, which incorporates your suggestions. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback, and we hope that you will continue to share your thoughts on Public Transparency with us at
Draft Public Transparency Policy
MS Word (56.67 KB)

Updated 5 June 2020.

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 a Public Transparency Policy? 5 = very ready, 1 = nothing in place

Public Transparency - please rate the products to prioritise Required

1. How might we use the public transparency policy to increase public confidence in the local government sector stakeholders.

High priority
Medium priority
Low priority
Define what public transparency means to stakeholders
Development of a Policy
Framework of key decisions linked to expectations of transparency
Clear understanding and links to Freedom of Information and Information Privacy Acts requirements and any other policies
Public Transparency Required

2. How might we embed policy and practice in councils to consider the requirements of public transparency in their decision making

High priority
Medium priority
Low priority
Assistance to build understanding and maturity in approach to public transparency
Clear guidance on what is “contrary to the public interest”
Development of a support network of local government specialists
An approach to sharing of best practice
Register of decision guides to be utilised and how this information is reported or made available.

Achieving good practice in public transparency

Sections 57 and 58 of the Local Government Act 2020 sets out expectations of councils for the provision of information to the community with a requirement that councils develop a Public Transparency Policy by 1 September 2020. The new provisions are focused on ensuring that the Public Transparency Policy developed by each council meets the Public Transparency Principle published on the Local Government Victoria webpage. From the online workshops, we developed your ideas into the following themes:
  • Set of minimum requirements
  • Guidelines for decision making, particularly for councillors and non-governance staff
  • Links to FOI and Information Privacy act requirements
  • Key categories for inclusion in transparency policy, avoid double up with existing documents e.g. part 2 statement
  • Template that allows linkage to FOI and consistency with privacy act
  • Templates to help staff decide what information shouldn't be released in regard to confidentiality
  • Create and sahr a register of decision guides utilised
  • Advice on how privacy act will limit what's available
  • Understanding as to what is the difference is between this and the requirement under FOI to have a Part II statement
  • How to define decision making processes, how far does this go
  • Not everyone wants to know everything. They want enough info to have confidence they don’t need to know more or everything t have trust
  • Relationship between Policy, and website content requirements (i.e. how documents should be made available/published)
  • Information/guidance on who we consider/approach cultural change around transparency
  • How will the public interest be defined?
  • Ensure issues/details/themes outlined in the VO report into the Transparency of LG decision making report are included in model policy/guide etc
  • Guidelines regarding expectations for various applications, e.g. council meeting, council plan, annual reporting, minimum requirements
  • Restrictions around technology
  • How prescribed documents fit
  • Support on treatment of various materials at council briefing.
  • Clear guidance on what is “contrary to the public interest”
  • Clear definition around the interpretation of “guidelines”. ie. when is a guideline a clear guide to action and when is it something that can simply be ignored. Some view the 2018 VAGO report as a mere guide and not a necessity to act.
  • Governance staff
  • Non-governance staff
  • Councillors
  • Good information for our council website
  • Understanding of relationship with engagement policy, FOI requirements and Information Privacy Act
  • Engage for community development
  • How will we know our community want all this, websites are now designed with top services on the main screen
  • Recognise different audiences
  • How this interacts with community engagement
  • Acknowledge diversity
  • Good strategies for deliberative engagement, privacy strategies, how to determine conflict - avoid issues like at Casey
  • Offer of public education, so that members of the public can learn to ask good questions if they want to go down that path
  • Communication method with older members in remote communities
  • Timetable of requirements
  • Permanent mandate for all councils to livestream meetings
  • Clarity about if there is a requirement to publish/make available decisions under delegation
  • Clarify where there will be regulations.
  • Should guidance notes for officers making decisions be public?
  • Consistency across the sector
  • When will we receive guidance? We must consult with community and there isn’t much time
  • As the Personal Interest Returns of Nominated Officers are required to be included in a Summary of Personal Interests on the Council website who do you envision should be nominated Officers, will it be no less that the Senior Officers ?

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Moderation Policy

These are the people that are listening and responding to your questions.

Annette Waters

Legislation Implementation


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