Call for feedback on proposed amendments to Council's Governance Rules has now closed.

In 2020 following consideration of community feedback, Council adopted new Governance Rules which set out the operating rules on how Council meetings will be managed and how Council decisions will be informed. The Governance Rules also establish the requirements for Councillors and staff during election periods and when disclosing conflicts of interest.

The Merri-bek community engagement process to inform the Governance Rules was held between June 2020 and July 2020. The details of the engagement can be found here.

Since then, some minor amendments were made to the Governance Rules, and a revised version was adopted by Council in November 2021.

Council is now recommending some further amendments be made to the Governance Rules to include provisions for the conduct of its meetings via electronic means, otherwise it will no longer be able to conduct online or hybrid meetings as of 1 September 2022, due to changes being introduced into the Local Government Act 2020 that will come into effect on this date.

What amendments are proposed?

At its meeting held on 13 July 2022, Council proposed some minor amendments to its current Governance Rules to include provisions for the conduct of its meetings via electronic hybrid model of attendance at Council Meetings.

The proposed amendments to the Governance Rules are now available for feedback via submission, and are summarised below:

1. Amendment to section 2.4– Definitions (Page 9)

Council Meeting means a Meeting of the Council convened in accordance with these Governance Rules and includes scheduled and unscheduled meetings (unscheduled meetings known as Special meetings as per definition below) and meetings designated for Planning and Related Matters, whether held face to face (in person) attendance in a set location or via electronic means (virtual) or in a hybrid format that includes both in person and electronic attendance.

2. Inclusion of new section 3.2.9 – Attendance at meetings by electronic means (Page 16)

(1) Councillors and members of Delegated Committees who wish to attend a meeting via electronic means must submit a written request to the Mayor (or Chair person), by 6pm on the day of the meeting.

(2) The Mayor (or Chairperson), must grant any reasonable request from a Councillor or member to attend a meeting by electronic means.

(3) At the commencement of each meeting, the Mayor (or Chairperson), will advise the meeting of any Councillors or members that have been granted approval to attend the meeting by electronic means.

(4) It will remain the responsibility of the Councillor or member attending electronically to ensure that they have the required access and environment suitable for electronic communications. This includes ensuring that they are in a private and secure place when attending a Confidential meeting.

(5) A Councillor or member that has not sought approval to attend a meeting by electronic means in accordance with 3.2.9(1), and cannot attend the meeting in person, will be recorded as absent.

3. Inclusion new clause (2) in section of 3.4 – Quorum (Page 19)

A Councillor or member attending a meeting by electronic means of communication with the approval of the Mayor (or Chairperson), is deemed present for the purposes of a quorum.

What happens next?

Community members are invited to review the amended Governance Rules endorsed by Council. Feedback is strongly encouraged and may be provided by completing the submission form below by 5pm on Sunday 24 July 2022.