Council, at its July 2020 Ordinary meeting, adopted a Public Transparency Policy as required by Section 57 of the Local Government Act 2020. The Policy documents Council’s decision making processes and articulates the publicly available Council information to provide greater awareness to the community. This policy supports Council in its ongoing drive for good governance and the importance of open and accountable conduct.
The policy applies to Council, Councillors, Delegated Committee and Council employees.
The following guiding principles drive transparency of Council’s decisions as set out in section 58 of the Local Government Act 2020:
Council decision making processes must be transparent except when the Council is dealing with information that is confidential by virtue of the Local Government Act 2020, or any other Act.
Council information must be publicly available unless -
1) the information is confidential by virtue of the Act or any other Act; or
2) public availability of the information would be contrary to the public interest
Council information must be understandable and accessible to members of the municipal community
public awareness of the availability of Council information must be facilitated.
What will Council be transparent with?
Decision Making at Council Meetings
will be undertaken in accordance with the Act and the Governance Rules
will be conducted in an open and transparent forum, publicly accessibly in person or via Council’s website unless in accordance with the provisions in the Act and Governance Rules
will be informed through community engagement, in accordance with the Community and Stakeholder Engagement Principles and the Community and Stakeholder Engagement Policy
will be made fairly and on the merits, and where any person whose rights will be directly affected by a decision of the Council, that person will be entitled to communicate their views and have their interests considered within the Governance Rules/meeting procedures in place.
This information includes, but is not limited to:
Documents such as:
- plans and reports adopted by Council
- project plans
- grant applications
- service agreements, contracts, leases and licences
- Council leases, permits and notices of building and occupancy
- relevant technical reports and / or research that informs decision making.
Process information such as:
- practice notes and operating procedures
- application processes for approvals, permits, grants, access to Council services
- community engagement processes
- complaints handling processes.
Council records will, at a minimum, be available on Council’s website:
- Council meeting and delegated committee agendas and minutes
- reporting from advisory committees to Council through reporting to Council
- Audit and Risk Committee performance reporting
- terms of reference or charters for advisory committees
- register of gifts, benefits and hospitality offered to Councillors or Council staff
- register of travel undertaken by Councillors or Council staff
- submissions made by Council
- register of donations and grants made by Council
- lease register as of 07/11/22
- register of delegations
- register of authorised officers
- register of election campaign donations
- any other registers or records required by legislation or determined to be in the public interest.
Consistent with the Part II Statement of the Freedom of Information Act, Council will make available submissions received under section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989 until its repeal or received through a community engagement process undertaken by Council.
A detailed listed of documents to be made available to the public as prescribed from a range of legislation is contained in Appendix 1 to Council's Public Transparency Policy.
Access to information
Information will be made available on the Council website or at the Corporate Centre, or by request and:
- members of the public can make different kinds of information requests to the council (e.g. informal requests for documents and information or formal FOI requests).
- consideration will be given to accessibility and cultural requirements in accordance with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
- consideration will be given to confidentiality in accordance with the Act and public interest test where appropriate.
- Council will respond to requests for information in alignment with the Act including the Public Transparency Principles, and Transparency Policy.
- in accordance with Part II statement made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Information not available
Some Council information may not be made publicly available. This will only occur if the information is confidential information or if its release would be contrary to the public interest or not in compliance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. “Confidential information” is defined in section 3 of the Local Government Act 2020. It includes the types of information listed in the following table:
|Council business information
|Information that would prejudice the Council's position in commercial negotiations if prematurely released.
|Information that is likely to endanger the security of Council property or the safety of any person if released.
|Land use planning information
|Information that is likely to encourage speculation in land values if prematurely released.
|Law enforcement information
|Information which would be reasonably likely to prejudice the investigation into an alleged breach of the law or the fair trial or hearing of any person if released.
|Legal privileged information
|Information to which legal professional privilege or client legal privilege applies.
|Information which would result in the unreasonable disclosure of information about any person or their personal affairs if released.
|Private commercial information
|Information provided by a business, commercial or financial undertaking that relates to trade secrets or that would unreasonably expose the business, commercial or financial undertaking to disadvantage if released.
|Confidential meeting information
|Records of a Council and delegated committee meetings that are closed to the public to consider confidential information
|Internal arbitration information
|Confidential information relating internal arbitration about an alleged breach of the councillor code of conduct.
|Councillor Conduct Panel confidential information
|Confidential information relating to a Councillor Conduct Panel matte
|Confidential information under the 1989 Act
|Information that was confidential information for the purposes of section 77 of the Local Government Act 1989
Where information is not confidential and not already available, Council will apply the principles of a public interest test in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020, with consideration also of the resources required to respond to the request. For more information on public information, please refer to Council's Transparency Policy.