Policy 101 Governance of Council Advisory and Working Groups

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Policy number Policy 101
Policy title Governance of Council Advisory and Working Groups 
Strategic outcomes supported

CL2 – A community that is authentically engaged and informed in a timely manner.

CL8 – Visionary civic leadership with sound and accountable governance that reflects objective decision making.

CL9 – Appropriate devolution of decision-making and service provision to an empowered community.

 

Policy objective:

To provide for the governance of Council’s advisory and working groups, inclusive of requirements for establishment, appointment, remuneration, operation and reporting. 

Policy scope:

This policy applies to all Council-established working and advisory groups comprised of community members, staff and elected members. 

Definitions:

Advisory group is a group established by resolution of Council, which may consist of elected members, community members and officers, for the provision of strategic advice on a matter.

Working group is a group established by resolution of Council, which may consist of elected members, community members and officers, for the purpose of delivering strategic outcomes. 

Policy statement: 

1. The Town recognises the importance of engaging meaningfully with its community and ensuring that its citizens are able to participate and influence the decision-making process. While there are many methods in which the Town promotes public participation and engages with its community, the establishment of advisory groups are intended to give community members a formal avenue to advise Council on a specific matter, whilst working groups are intended to empower and support the community in delivering strategic outcomes in partnership with the Town. The creation of an advisory or working group shall align with Policy 103 - Communications and Engagement. 

Establishment

2. To establish an advisory or working group, Council must resolve to:

a. Create that group for the purposes outlined in clause 3 and 4 of this policy
b. Set the purpose and objective of the group in line with clause 3 and 4 of this policy
c. Determine the length of the group’s term and any extensions in line with clause 5 of this policy
d. Endorse the criteria for membership and composition of the group
e. Give public notice relating to the establishment of the group and its community vacancies

3. An advisory group may be established to provide advice on a specific matter, which contributes to achieving strategic outcomes within the Strategy Community Plan, as determined by Council.

4. A working group may be established to develop a policy and/ or a strategic document for the Town to be adopted by Council in the future, or to deliver a strategic outcome for the Town through the implementation of a Council-adopted strategy or plan.

5. To ensure that groups are meaningfully engaged, Council will determine the length of the group’s term. In making this determination, Council is to consider the group’s purpose and objective, and the scope in which they will operate. Council may authorise the Chief Executive Officer to extend the group’s term for a set time period.

6. Members of advisory and working groups may include elected members, community members and staff members. The number of positions available, as well as the composition of the group, is to be determined by Council as stipulated in clause 2(c) of this policy.

7. Council must also determine the criteria in which candidates are to be assessed against before being formally appointed to the group. The criteria can include skills, education or experience relevant to the set purpose and objective of the group.

8. Advisory and working groups established by Council, pursuant to this policy are not, and are not intended to be, committees established under Section 5.8 of the Local Government Act 1995.

9. An example recommendation to meet the establishment requirement in this policy is included in Schedule A. 

Membership and appointment

10. There are three types of members that may be appointed to advisory and working groups, which are: community members, elected members and officers. Each type of member has different appointment requirements and voting provisions.

Elected members

11. The number of elected members in an advisory or working group shall not exceed one-third of the total number of elected members holding office. Appointment of elected members will be by resolution of Council. 

12. Elected members formally appointed by Council to an advisory or working group are to be participating members of that group.

Community members

13. Once Council has resolved to establish a group, inclusive of endorsing its composition and criteria for membership, the Chief Executive Officer is to publicly advertise the community vacancies for a period of at least two weeks.

14. At the close of the application period, the Chief Executive Officer is to assess the applications based on the criteria for membership set by Council, as stipulated in clause 2(d) of this policy. Where required, the Chief Executive Officer may choose to interview applicants as part of the application process.

15. Appointments of community members to an established group will be upon recommendation of the Chief Executive Officer and by resolution of Council.

16. Community members formally appointed by Council to an advisory or working group are to be participating members of that group.

17. Should any community member be unable to fulfil their role on an advisory or working group at any point in time they may apply in writing to the Chief Executive Officer to be released from the group. The Chief Executive Officer will then reappoint their replacement from those previous applicants in order of merit until a replacement has been filled. The Chief Executive Officer may choose for the community member position to remain vacant depending on the nature of the groups’ terms of reference and / or length of time remaining for the group’s term.

Officers

18. The Chief Executive Officer is to appoint relevant officers to the group as follows: 

a. To provide professional advice and conduct research in line with the group’s purpose and objective
b. To provide administrative and governance support, inclusive of ensuring adherence to the group’s terms of reference as adopted by Council, and to the reporting requirements in this policy

19. Although appointment of officers will be at the discretion of the Chief Executive Officer and is not to be resolved upon by Council, the Chief Executive Officer is to advise Council of the appointments once made.

20. Officers formally appointed by the Chief Executive Officer to an advisory or working group are only advisory and/or secretarial members of that group.

21. An example recommendation to meet the appointment requirement in this policy is included in Schedule A. 

Remuneration and expenses

22. Members appointed to a Council-established group are not entitled to a sitting fee, or any such type of remuneration, unless otherwise considered and resolved by Council.

23. Should Council resolve to provide remuneration to members of a Council-established group, the amount  must be determined by Council and be in line with the adopted budget. 

24. Elected members and officers that are members of an advisory or working group are not to be remunerated under any circumstance.

25. Members appointed to an advisory or working group, excluding elected members and officers, that are unable to drive a motor vehicle or whose primary mode of transportation is by public means, may be reimbursed for the cost of the incurred fare to and from meetings.

26. The reimbursement of expenses for elected members is dealt with in Policy 021 – Elected member fees, expenses and allowances.  

27. To be eligible for reimbursement, a community member must seek approval from the Chief Executive Officer who will process the reimbursement.

Operation

Terms of reference

28. Each group is responsible for drafting its own terms of reference, inclusive of:

a. Purpose
b. Objective
c. 
Membership including roles and composition
d. 
Meeting procedures including, but not limited to, its general conduct, meeting frequency, administration and other such requirements

29. Within three months of establishment, the Chief Executive Officer, with agreement from members of that group, is required to present a group’s proposed terms of reference to Council for adoption. 

30. Upon adoption by Council, the group’s terms of reference, including its membership, must be made publicly available on the Town’s website.

31. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for ensuring that each established group has appropriate administrative and professional support.

32. A sample recommendation to meet the terms of reference requirement is included in Appendix A, and a Terms of Reference Template is included in Schedule B.

Delegation

33. A group shall have no delegated authority to make any decisions for or on behalf of Council and no group, or individual member thereof, shall, in particular:

a. Expend, or authorise the expenditure of, any Town funds
b. Correspond with any party
c. 
Speak for or on behalf of the Town or Council
d. 
Issue any press release
e. 
Issue any instruction to Town staff

34. A group may make decisions relating to the conduct and operation of its meetings, and any other decisions, within its scope, that will allow it to deliver its objectives as set by Council.

Reporting

35. Being formally established and appointed by Council, each advisory and working group is required to publish its agenda and minutes on the Town’s website in the prescribed form.

36. The minutes of each group must be presented to Council for receiving at the next relevant Ordinary Council Meeting.

37. Council may, at any time, request that the Chief Executive Officer to present a report on the progress of each group.

38. Where appropriate, Council may also request a group, or members thereof, to make a presentation at an informal Council meeting, including an elected member workshop or Concept Forum.

Related documents:

Nil.

Policy manager Manager Governance and Strategy
Responsible officers Coordinator Governance and Strategy
Approval authority Council
Next evaluation date  

 

Revision history

Version Approved, Amended, Rescinded Date Authority Resolution number Key changes/notes
1 Approved 19/05/2020 Council 413/2020 Item 15.1
2 Reviewed and amended  20/04/2021  Council  78/2021  Item 15.4 
3 Reviewed and amended 12/04/2022 Council 73/2022 Item 15.5

 

Schedule A

Sample recommendation for the establishment of an advisory or working group

That Council:

1. Establishes [name of advisory or working group] for the purpose of [including purpose as per clause 2 and 3 of this policy] with the objective of [include objective and/or final deliverable of the group]

2. Endorses membership of the group to include the following:

a. [Number of elected members]
b. [Number of community members]

3. Advertises the establishment of the [insert name] group, its [insert number] community member vacancies and seeks applications from candidates that meet the following criteria:

a. [Insert criteria in bullet point format]

4. Requests that the Chief Executive Officer presents a further report back to Council by [insert date] with a recommendation on community member appointments in line with point 3 above

Sample recommendation for the appointment of members to an advisory or working group

That Council:

1. Appoints [insert number of elected member vacancies] to the [insert name of group]

2. Appoints the following persons to the [insert number] available community member positions:

a. [Insert name of person and type of membership fulfilled, if applicable]
b. [Insert name of person and type of membership fulfilled, if applicable]

3. Notes that the following officers have been appointed to the group:

a. [Insert officer position]

4. Requests that the Chief Executive Officer, with agreement from the group, presents a further report back to Council by [insert date being within a 3-month period] with its proposed terms of reference

Sample recommendation for the adoption of a group’s terms of reference

That Council endorses the terms of reference for the [insert group name] as included in attachment [insert number]. 

Schedule B

[Name of group]

Terms of reference

Purpose and objective

For advisory group

1. The purpose of the [name of group] (the group) is to provide strategic advice to Council on [outline specific matter and objective]. This advice is related to the following strategic outcomes:

a. [Include strategic outcomes]
b. [Include strategic outcomes]

For working group

1. The purpose of the [name of group] (the group) is to deliver [name objective –i.e. policy/strategic document/strategy or plan] for Council consideration. This [policy/document/strategy/plan] is related to the following strategic outcomes:

a. [Include strategic outcomes]
b. [Include strategic outcomes]

Term

2. These terms of reference are effective upon endorsement by Council and continues until the [insert expected date of completion of the group as set by Council].

Membership

3. The group shall be comprised of:

a. [number] elected members
b. [number] community members
c. [number] officers

4. All memberships expire at the end of the group’s term.

Roles and responsibilities

5. Each member of the group is responsible for attending meetings, reviewing relevant material to enable informed discussion, and making timely decisions/actions to progress the objectives of the group.

6. Each member is expected to abide by the Town’s Code of Conduct, to have open and honest discussions and to treat each member with due courtesy and respect.

7. In addition to these, the specific roles for each membership type are as follows:

a. Elected members are responsible for ensuring that the group adheres to the direction set by Council, contributing from a Town-wide perspective, and ensures that delivery of the group’s objective – [to be altered depending on agreement  from group]
b. Community members are responsible for contributing to the delivery of the group’s objectives within the scope of their skills, knowledge and capabilities – [to be altered depending on agreement  from group]
c. Officers are responsible for conducting necessary research as required by the group, providing professional advice, and for administering its meetings. 

Meeting procedures

8. The group will elect a presiding member and deputy presiding member at its first meeting. The presiding member will be the person consulted on the day-to-day operations of the group and its required preparations, including the agenda, for its next meeting.

9. The group will meet [include timeframe] or the group will meet as required, upon the calling of the meeting by the presiding member.

10. A meeting quorum will be at least 50% of the participating members of the group. Decisions are to be made by consensus (i.e. members are satisfied with the decision even though it may not be their first choice). If not possible, the presiding member can make the final decision.

11. If a member is unable to attend the meeting, they must advise the presiding member as soon as reasonably practicable.

12. The agenda and minutes of the meeting are to be prepared by the Town, as follows:

a. The agenda will be distributed no later than three working days before the meeting on the Town’s website.
b. The minutes will be distributed no later than five working days after the meeting on the Town’s website.
c. 
Both the agenda and minutes are to be developed in the prescribed form.

Reporting

13. The group is expected to report to Council, in accordance with Policy 101 Governance of Council Advisory and Working Groups.