Public Transparency Policy

City of Whittlesea residents are invited to view Council’s draft Public Transparency Policy, which outlines Council’s commitment to open and transparent decision-making and informs the community on the type of Council information that will be made publicly available.

The current Policy was endorsed in September 2020 and is due to be updated. Changes made within the draft Policy reflect the updates in the current ways of working and alignment to Whittlesea 2040.

To highlight the importance of open and transparent governance, the following key Policy amendments were made:

  • Definition of ‘What is Public Transparency’ in the local government context.
  • Inclusion of Public Transparency Principles as defined in s 58 of the Local Government Act 2020.
  • Expansion of the Decision Making at Council Meetings section to include information on when a meeting is closed or partially closed to the public and where Council decisions are unable to be made public.
  • Inclusion of Council’s commitment to proactive and informal release of information to minimise the requirement for community members lodging Freedom of Information requests.
  • Inclusion of availability and accessibility of Council information.
  • Inclusion of the Public Interest Test and how Council will apply it when assessing whether to make certain information publicly available.

The updated Policy will be formally endorsed at the September Council Meeting.

Governance Rules and Election Period Policy

In accordance with s 60 (3) of the Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) Council may amend its Governance Rules in line with Councils Community Engagement Policy.

In preparation for the return of an elected Council in October 2024, it is timely to review the Governance Rules which incorporates Council’s Election Period Policy, a requirement of s 69 of the Act.

The amendments made to the Governance Rules focus on continuous improvements while also taking into consideration recommendations from the recent IBAC ‘Operation Sandon’ report.

Governance Rules

The key amendments to the Governance Rules:

  • Time limits for meetings.
  • Speaking times against each agenda item.
  • Strengthening requirements for the lodgement of Notice of Motions and the ground by which the CEO may reject a Notice of Motion.
  • Recording in the meeting minutes the names of Councillors who voted for and against each motion without the need to call for a division.
  • Recording in the meeting minutes the names of Councillors who spoke on each agenda item.
  • Requirement to consider each agenda item and not move agenda items en bloc.
  • Strengthen reasons why the CEO may disallow a public question, petition or joint letter.

Election Period Policy

The key amendments to the Election Period Policy:

  • Allows for the CEO to publicly correct inaccurate information or statements made by candidates.
  • Strengthen the use of Council resources during the caretaker period.
  • Extended the Policy to cover also both Federal and State elections.
  • Access to information and candidate information to align with Council’s Public Transparency Policy.
  • Inclusion of section relating to staff member obligations should they wish to stand as a candidate.
  • Expansion of the definition section to provide greater clarity.