Council Governance

Guide to councils

The Guide to councils contains information about how councils work, how they make and spend money and how they are elected. It also provides details about how you can become involved with your local council.

Special Committees - Section 86

Councils may establish special committees with authority to exercise certain Council powers. Special committees must operate in accordance with Section 86 of the Local Government Act and comply with the limits imposed by the Council's instrument of delegation.

Legitimacy of Local Government and Councils' rating powers

Feedback has been received from a number of municipalities that certain individuals and groups are seeking to challenge the power of Councils to impose rates and charges. 

There appear to be two arguments being used: firstly, that local government is unconstitutional, and secondly, that local government does not have the legal power to declare rates and charges.

Local Government Victoria has produced a fact sheet setting out the key 'myths and facts' which provides guidance and information on these and related issues. 

Ensuring unbiased democratic Council decision making

The decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Winky Pop Pty Ltd & Anor v Hobsons Bay City Council, 2007) has important ramifications to all councillors in highlighting their obligations to observe and comply with the common law rule of bias when making decisions affecting people's rights, interests and legitimate expectations.

Local Government Victoria, with the assistance of the Municipal Association of Victoria, has produced a booklet to assist councillors in understanding the rule of bias as it relates to their role as decision makers. The guide also provides advice on how to ensure that councillors' actions are free from bias, and offers suggestions on steps to take if bias may be relevant to a proposed decision.

Good Governance Guide

Local Government Victoria in collaboration with the Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Local Governance Association and Local Government Professionals, have launched the revised Good Governance Guide on a dedicated website.

The Guide is designed as a resource for local governments, councillors and officers, to better understand, promote and enhance the practice of good governance. It can also be used as a resource for communities. 

Conflict of Interest Guides

Councils are given a wide range of powers and duties so they can serve the best interests of their communities. Councillors, Council staff members and people who sit on Council committees are required to disclose all conflicts of interest so that it is clear to everyone that they are not using their positions to serve their own interests or the interests of people close to them.

Concise Conflict of Interest Guides have been published by Local Government Victoria for: 

Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012

The proposed Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012 (PDF, 75.2 KB, 19 pp.) or (DOC, 111.5 KB, 19 pp.) and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 433.2 KB, 62 pp.) or (DOC, 379.5 KB, 62 pp.) are now available.

Council Staff Codes of Conduct Framework

The Framework for the Development and Review of Council Staff Codes of Conduct (PDF, 352.5 KB, 28 pp.) or (DOC, 906.0 KB, 28 pp.) has been produced by Local Government Victoria, in association with the Reference Group on Council (Staff and Others) Codes of Conduct.

This framework aims to support Council Chief Executive Officers in fulfilling their responsibilities to develop and implement staff codes of conduct under the Local Government Act 1989. It has been designed as a resource for those Council officers across Victoria involved in governance, human resources and risk management that have a lead role in assisting the CEO in developing the code.

Mayor and Councillor Entitlements

The Mayor and Councillor Entitlements Information Guide (DOC, 138.5 KB, 16 pp.) is to assist Councils, Council staff and community understand the entitlements of Mayors and Councillors with respect to expenses reimbursement and the provision of facilities and resources support. The guide contains information on supporting awareness, policy and legislative requirements, principles and approval arrangements.

Councillor Remuneration Review

The Victorian Government appointed a Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel to advise on remuneration of Victoria's locally elected leaders through a review of current allowances and to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister on allowances and guidelines on the appropriate reimbursement of expenses and provision of resources support for the mayoral and councillor role.

In April 2008 a new policy was announced.

Recognition and Support: the Victorian Government's Policy Statement on Local Government Mayoral and Councillor Allowances and Resources (PDF 142.2 KB).

Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report (PDF 273.8 KB) was completed on 25 January 2008.

Government's Response to recommendations of the Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report (PDF 53.5 KB).

The new package and policy took effect immediately after the November 2008 Local Government general elections.

Moving On: Women and Retirement from Local Government (October 2004)

The Victorian Local Governance Association and the Municipal Association of Victoria were funded by the Office of Women's Policy, Department of Planning and Community Development, to undertake a research project Attrition Among Women Councillors in Victoria. Moving On sets out the qualitative findings of this research project.

Moving On: Women and Retirement from Local Government (PDF, 354.4 KB, 56 pp.)

Glossary of Terms

The glossary of terms relates to local government functions and roles. This page is an extract from the Local Government Act 1989; more terms and information are contained in the Act.

Glossary of Local Government Terms (PDF, 18.1 KB, 1 p.)

Page last reviewed on 1 July 2016

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