Council Meetings Policy | City of Casey
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Adopted 21 May 2019

Council Meetings Policy

Version 1.2

Purpose and Intent

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for items which provide input to Council Meetings held in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989. Council meetings facilitate the decision making of Council.

Scope

This policy applies to ordinary council meetings held by the City of Casey in accordance with section 83 of the Local Government Act 1989.

 

 Definitions

 

Key term

Definition

CEO

means Chief Executive Officer

Council

means Casey City Council, being a body corporate constituted as a municipal Council under the Local Government Act 1989

Councillors

means the individuals holding the office of a member of Casey City Council

Council officer

means the Chief Executive Officer and staff of Council appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

E-Petitions

means a digital or electronic petition

Local Law No.1 (2016)

means Meeting Procedures and Use of the Common Seal Local Law (Local Law No.1 2016)

Ordinary Meeting

an Ordinary Meeting of the Council, is defined in Section 83 of the Local Government Act 1989

Petition

means a request made of Council by five or more signatories using the correct form outlined in this policy

Public Question Time

a section of the Agenda of an Ordinary Meeting of Council conducted pursuant to clause 42.1 of Local Law No. 1 2016

 

Policy

Public Question Time

Public Question Time is a section of the Agenda of an Ordinary Council Meeting during which Council may answer questions submitted by members of the public.

It is not designed to take the place of contacting a Councillor or Councillors directly to discuss an issue, or to replace contacting Council’s Customer Services for assistance. Rather, it is designed to allow for clarification of issues of public interest. Public question time is not a legislative requirement and is subject to Council policy.

 Submissions for inclusion in Public Question Time

The deadline for receipt of questions to be considered is 10 am on the first business day prior to the next Ordinary Meeting.

Questions for consideration at Council Meetings must be submitted electronically to questiontime@casey.vic.gov.au or via the Council Website’s online form.

If the questioner’s conduct with Council is being managed under Council’s Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Policy, please submit the question via the notified communication channel.

Persons without access to a computer should contact Council’s Governance department in advance if they wish to submit questions in hardcopy format.

Requirements for a valid submission for public question time

No person may submit more than two questions at any one meeting.

The time at which questions will be dealt with will be in accordance with the agenda of the Council meeting. Questions which meet the requirements of this policy will be read out by a Council officer and answered by a Councillor or officer if the questioner is present in the public gallery.

Questions must:

  1. make sense and include the person’s name and address
  2. not exceed 50 words in length
  3. must focus on an issue

Questions must not:

  1. relate to a matter outside the duties, functions and powers of Council;
  2. include content which, if it were included in a Council report, would be likely to be considered in Closed Council;
  3. contain potentially defamatory material;
  4. relate to trivial matters or make unsubstantiated allegations;
  5. not name, allude to or focus on individuals, be vexatious or aim to embarrass or offend
  6. include content which a reasonable person may find to be indecent, abusive, offensive, irrelevant or objectionable; deal with a subject matter already answered at a previous Public Question Time; If such questions are received, the question will be answered at the Chairperson’s discretion;
  7. appear to be aimed at embarrassing a Councillor or a Council officer, and/ or
  8. comprise in a large part a statement or quote.

Submissions for Public Question Time Not Meeting the Requirements

Where a question does not meet the requirements of this policy, reasonable efforts will be made to contact the submitter prior to the Council meeting to provide the opportunity to amend their question or else advise that the question will not be read out and answered during Public Question Time.

The question and a summary of the answer provided will be included in the minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting. This will include the questioners full name and suburb.

Where a question is resubmitted, the question, if meeting the requirements of this Policy, will be answered at the next Public Question Time.

Petitions

Petitions are requests made by five or more signatories. Petitions can only be presented at an Ordinary Meeting.

The ability for residents to petition Council to act on a request is a fundamental and important part of local democracy. To facilitate this, Council sets out policy by which petitions may be presented and provides information to the community on how petitions will be handled and acted upon in a consistent and procedurally fair manner. This ensures that the rights of the community to lobby local government are met.

This policy also addresses the aspect of privacy in the provision of personal details at the point of collection, and outlines Council’s responsibility to be open and transparent in making material (including petitions) available to the general public on request.

Requirements of a valid petition

A petition will be presented at an Ordinary Meeting only if it meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Although initial copies of petitions can be conveyed by email, the original document must be sighted and received by Council in a hardcopy format.
  2. The petition must be legible and in permanent writing (i.e. no pencil).
  3. The petition must be addressed to the CEO, the Mayor, or a Councillor, containing a request for action to be taken by Council.
  4. Each page of the petition must repeat the full wording of the petition as contained on the first page of the petition.
  5. Any signature appearing upon a page which does not bear the whole of the petition or request will not be considered by Council.
  6. In addition to the signatures of the petitioners, the names and residential addresses of all persons who signed the petition must be provided.
  7. All signatures must be original signatures, not photocopied or scanned copies.
  8. The petition should not be indecent, abusive or objectionable in language or content.
  9. The petition should not relate to a Town Planning Application (a separate process exists for these, see Clause 5 below), and every page of a petition, including signatories to the petition must be on an original piece of paper and not pasted, stapled, or otherwise affixed to any other piece of paper.

At the discretion of Councillors E-Petitions may be accepted. E-Petitions should include the names and residential addresses of all persons who signed the petition and meet all other requirements listed in this policy.

Petitions relating to a Planning Permit are treated as a formal objection.

Formal objections to a planning permit can be submitted via the form on Council’s website. These objections must comply with section 57 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).

A template petition is found in Attachment A of this policy.

  1.  

Submitting a Petition to Council
Members of the community are able to submit a petition to Council via two methods:

        1. To a sitting Councillor
        2. Directly in writing to the CEO

 

Petitions should be forwarded by mail to:

City of Casey via at PO Box 1000,Narre Warren Vic 3805

or delivered in person to any sitting Councillor or Customer Service Centre.

Submitting a petition to a Councillor

A petition submitted to a Councillor may be tabled at an Ordinary Council Meeting for consideration.

If a petition with notice is addressed to a specific Councillor, that Councillor may read the petition out at an Ordinary Meeting without debate.

Council staff will deal with the head petitioner or other nominated person as appropriate to clarify any of the issues raised in the petition.

The head petitioner will be advised on receipt of the petition and will be provided with the outcome of the request contained in the petition within a reasonable timeframe.

 

Submitting a petition to the Chief Executive Officer

A petition received by the CEO will be read out by the CEO at the Ordinary Council Meeting.

A response may be provided by the CEO at that time, however if not, the petition is forwarded by the CEO to the appropriate Director for action.

Council staff will deal with the head petitioner or other nominated person as appropriate to clarify any of the issues raised in the petition.

The head petitioner will be advised on receipt of the petition and will be provided with the outcome of the request contained in the petition within a reasonable timeframe.

Petitions and Your Privacy

To comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), personal information provided as part of the petition will only be used for the primary purpose for which it was provided – that is, to consider the petition.

  Any petitions tabled at Council will be included in the minutes of the Council meeting and will show the subject of the petition, the number of signatures and the head petition’s name.

The agenda and minutes are printed and available for the general public and appear on Council’s website.

As part of Council’s operations, any document incorporated into a Council agenda must be made publicly available, including any petitions which are tabled. To view a petition tabled a Council please contact Council’s Governance Department. Council will not provide copies of any petitions to protect the privacy of signatories.

This means that any personal details, including names, addresses and signatories will be publicly available.

On request Council will provide the contact details of the head petitioner to the media or members of parliament.

Responsibilities

 

Who

What

Director Corporate Services

(or appropriate officer in the case of a potential conflict)

Will be responsible for compliance with, and enforcement of this policy and may be asked to clarify the interpretation of this policy if an aspect of the policy is unclear or in dispute. The Director Corporate Services will provide recommendations to the Chairperson.

Chairperson

In accordance with Local Law No. 1 (2016) is responsible for conducting the Council Meeting.

 

Breaches

NIL

 Relevant Forms

Title

Link

Submit a question

https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/submit-public-question

 Document History 

Date approved

Change Type

Version

Next Review Date

22 May 2019

Administration Review: addition of endorsed date and ECM ID.

1.1

31 May 2023

21 May 2019

Document Initiation: merged Petitions and Public Question Time Policies.

1.0

31 May 2023