In 2020 following consideration of community feedback, Council adopted new Governance Rules. These rules set out 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.

Since then, some minor amendments have been made to the Governance Rules. Revised versions were adopted by Council in November 2021, and again in August 2022.

In February 2023, Council decided to undertake a further review of the Governance Rules. Minor amendments to the Governance Rules are proposed to ensure that Council decision-making and meeting processes are clear and fair for the benefit of both the community and Councillors.

The proposed Governance Rules include feedback from Councillors, Council officers as well as benchmarking against other metropolitan councils.

Now we want to know what the community thinks of the draft amendments.

Proposed amendments

To mean an unscheduled Meeting of the Council to consider a matter that cannot be effectively dealt with in the schedule of Council Meetings and/or is convened for a particular purpose such as the Election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Where the Governance Rules do not provide a procedure for the meeting, the Chairperson may determine the procedure to be followed in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer and relevant Governance officer.

The Mayor, or at least three Councillors may by written notice to the Chief Executive Officer call a Special Meeting. A written notice to call a Special Meeting must:

a) Specify the preferred date and time and the business to be transacted;

b) be delivered to the Chief Executive Officer or Delegate in sufficient time to enable notice to be given in accordance with Sub-Rule 3.3.4.

If a quorum cannot be achieved or maintained repeatedly (3 or more times) due to the absence of Councillors, the Chief Executive Officer may require all Councillors to attend a Call of the Council Meeting.

A notice of a Meeting, that is not a Special Meeting, incorporating or accompanied by an Agenda of the business to be dealt with, must be sent electronically to every Councillor for all Council Meetings, at least six days before the Meeting. A period of less than six days may be justified if exceptional circumstances exist. If exceptional circumstances exist as to why a notice of the meeting cannot be given in accordance with this rule, the exceptional circumstances must be set out/explained in the agenda.

An Agenda for a Special Meeting must be made available electronically to every Councillor at least 48 hours before the Meeting. A period of less than 48 hours may be justified if exceptional circumstances exist.

An Agenda for a Special Meeting will be made available on Council’s website no less than 24 hours before the Council Meeting.

The order of business must be determined by the Chief Executive Officer to facilitate and maintain open, efficient and effective processes of government. Generally, the order of business of any scheduled Council Meeting will be as follows:

Unless Council resolves differently, there must be a time provided for questions of Council and Community Statements at every Council Meeting not designated for Planning and Related Matters to enable members of the public to submit questions to Council.

Prior to questions of Council and Community Statements, councillors are to be informed by the Mayor of the total number of questions received for the council meeting.

A copy of all questions received before 12noon on the day of the Council Meeting, will be distributed to Councillors as soon as reasonably practicable.

Questions that are submitted in writing but not asked, will be taken On Notice.

The Chairperson may elect to answer the question themselves or nominate one appropriate Councillor to answer each question. Prior to responding, the Chairperson may seek contextual information from the person submitting the question.

The Chairperson, may at their discretion refer the question to the Chief Executive Officer, who may refer it to a member of Council staff.

A member of the community may make a statement, for up to 3 minutes, in relation to any matter listed on the Agenda for the Council Meeting that the statement is to be made.

Community Statements must not be directed at individual Councillors or members of Council staff.

Where a petition has been signed by less than 10 people, or does not otherwise conform to the requirements contained in rule 3.6.5(1), it will be treated as a joint letter and forwarded directly to the appropriate member of Council staff for action as an operational item.

Unless worn for worn for either medical, health, cultural or religious purposes, a person must not wear a facemask or head covering that disguises their identity.

In the event of a tied vote, the Chairperson must, unless the Act provides otherwise, exercise a Second vote (casting vote).

After the seconder has spoken to the Motion (or after the mover has spoken to the Motion if the seconder reserves their right to speak to the Motion), the Chairperson must call on any Councillor who wishes to speak against the Motion, then on any Councillor who wishes to speak for the Motion, after waiting until all Councillors wishing to speak to the Motion have spoken; and

If the mover or seconder of a motion indicates that he or she wishes to withdraw from moving or seconding the motion, the Chairperson may seek another mover or seconder (as the case requires), but if no Councillor indicates his or her willingness to be the substitute mover or seconder, the motion lapses.

Council reviews its policies to ensure they are current and continue to reflect community expectations and the position held by Council.

Any other matter, which the Chief Executive Officer or Delegate thinks should be recorded to clarify the intention of the Meeting or assist in the reading of the Minutes and at the request of any Councillor; and

Standing Orders are the Rules made to govern the procedure at Council Meetings as contained in these Governance Rules. The Standing Orders cover a range of matters including the order of business, Rules of debate, Procedural Motions and election procedures. Standing Orders can be suspended to facilitate the business of a Meeting but should not be used purely to dispense with the processes and protocol of the government of Council.

If a lot is conducted, the Chief Executive Officer will conduct the lot and the following provisions will apply:

A quorum for a Hearing Committee will be half of the Councillors appointed to the Hearing Committee.

Meeting records and reports of conflicts of interest will be presented to Council for noting and inclusion on the public record.

Council resources must not be used by any Councillor or candidate in any way that supports an election campaign or in a way that is intended or likely to influence voting in any election.

Council resources must not be used by any Councillor or candidate in any way that supports an election campaign or in a way that is intended or likely to influence voting in any election.

Council resources must not be used by any Councillor or candidate in any way that supports an election campaign or in a way that is intended or likely to influence voting in any election.

To be deleted.

What happens next?

Community members are invited to review the proposed Governance Rules endorsed by Council. Feedback is strongly encouraged and may be provided by completing the submission form below.

Submissions close 5pm, Monday 11 September 2023.

Council will consider the review and proposed changes of the Governance Rules at its October 2023, Council Meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Coburg Civic Centre and members of the public are invited to observe proceedings from the public gallery. The meeting will also be live streamed on Councils website and social media platforms.

Make a submission