What is a Standing Order?
Standing Orders provide rules and guidelines which apply to the conduct of meetings of the Council and its committees and to meetings of electors.
All meetings are to be conducted in accordance with the Act, the Regulations and Standing Orders.
Standing Orders are intended to result in:
(a) better decision-making by the Council and committees;
(b) the orderly conduct of meetings dealing with Council business;
(c) better understanding of the process of conducting meetings; and
(d) the more efficient and effective use of time at meetings.
What has been amended in the Standing Orders Local Law 2007?
This review has focussed on the provisions and framework for public question time and alternative motions:
Public Question Time
The consultants are of the view that the City’s existing provisions in the Local Law and public question time practices are sound, but their effect is dependent on the presiding member applying them properly when dealing with public question time during meetings in particular. To assist the presiding member, a minor change is recommended to the City’s Standing Orders Local Law. It is recommended that the Standing Orders Local Law be amended to introduce a 3 minute time limit for members of the public to ask questions, which would then allow for as many members of the community the opportunity to ask a question.
To provide greater transparency and accountability to the community, it is also recommended that the Standing Orders Local Law be amended to require Elected Members to provide in writing any alternative motions to the Chief Executive Officer by 12pm on the day before the Council Meeting. The City’s new website becomes operational in September 2016 and will include a section for alternative motions, and it is proposed that these be made available to the public by 5pm prior to the day of the Council meeting.
Correction to Minor Error
There is also a minor amendment to correct a minor error in a clause of the Standing Orders Local Law.
What is the purpose and effect of the proposed Local Law?
The purpose and effect of the proposed City's Standing Orders Local Law 2007 is:
To amend the City of South Standing Orders Local Law 2007 to change provisions relating to Public Question Time, to change a minor error, and to require Elected Members to submit in writing Alternative Motions to the Chief Executive Officer, with supporting reasons, by 12pm on the day before the Council Meeting.
The local law is amended so that provisions relating to Public Question Time, a minor error, and to ensure that all Elected Members and members of the public are given the opportunity to view and consider Alternative Recommendations prior to the Council meeting that it will be considered, are changed.
Who has the City consulted about the proposed Local Law?
Section 3.12(3) of the Local Government Act 1995 requires a local government to give State-wide and local public notice stating that it proposes to make a local law, the purpose and effect of which is summarised in the notice for a period of 6 weeks after it first appears. Feedback from this consultation must be considered by Council before it resolves to make the local law.
Section 3.12 of the Local Government Act 1995 and Regulation 3 of the Local Government (Functions & General) Regulations 1996 set out the procedural requirements to amend a local law, which are the same as that required for the making of a local law.
The Local Government Act 1995 requires the person presiding at a Council meeting to give notice of the purpose and effect of the proposed local law by ensuring that the purpose and effect is included in the agenda for the meeting, and that the minutes of the meeting include the purpose and effect of the proposed local law.
How often is the Standing Orders Local Law reviewed?
Whilst there is a statutory requirement to undertake a formal review of a local law once every eight years, it is good governance to periodically review local laws to ensure they reflect contemporary best practice standards.
The City’s Standing Orders Local Law was made in 2007 and most recently reviewed in 2012. A major review was undertaken by commissioned management consultants specialising in Local Government in 2011.
A further review has now been undertaken by the same consultants in conjunction with senior management to recommend any best practice improvements, as well as benchmark it against other metropolitan local governments. The most recent review concluded that the City’s Standing Orders Local Law is very good, and similar in standard to a number of metropolitan local governments.