Councillors Reimbursement of Expenses Policy | City of Casey
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Councillors Reimbursement of Expenses Policy

2.0

Councillor Training

Councillors are involved in decision making across a number of complex areas. In recognition of this, Councillors are allocated an annual training & education budget which supports them for decision making and in their roles as leaders. Training expenditure is reported annually in the City of Casey’s Annual report however a list of all completed training is provided here for transparency.

Councillor

Training Undertaken

Date

All Councillors

Emergency Training

19 December 2017

Security & Safety Training

30 January 2018

Emergency Awareness Training

13 February 2018

Susan Serey

Financial Analysis for Officers & Directors

7 March 2017

Amanda Stapledon

Councillor Development Weekend

28 July 2017

Media Training

20 December 2017

Presentation Training for Live Streaming

30 October 2017

Timothy Jackson

Company Directors Course

19 – 23 February 2018

 Purpose and Intent

This policy outlines the resources / support to be provided by Council to Councillors and eligible expenditure that may be reimbursed in performing their duties as elected representatives of the community as prescribed in Section 75 of the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act).

Scope

This Policy applies to all Councillors in relation to resources / support provided by the organisation and reimbursement of expenditure. Overseas travel is explicitly excluded from this policy.

The Recognition and Support - The Victorian Government’s Policy Statement on Local Government Mayoral and Councillor Allowances and Resources – April 2008 describes the minimum support to be provided to Councillors and the Mayor.

Definitions

Key term

Definition

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.

Expenses

costs incurred by Councillors in performing their duties as a Councillor

Formal Study

training and education provided by a recognised training or tertiary education provider that leads to a formal qualification.

 

Policy

This policy is a specific requirement of Section 75B (1) of the Act and also serves to provide clear expectations in relation to support and reimbursement of expenses available to Councillors in the performance of their duties.

Councillor resources, facilities and communication equipment

Each Councillor is entitled to the following:

  • 1 x Laptop
  • 1 x mobile phone
  • 1 x internet connection
  • 1x data allowance
  • Stationery

Communication costs

Council will meet the reasonable purchase, installation, maintenance and service connection, subscription, rental and usage costs (data/calls/text) for all Council provided communications equipment.

Where a councillor elects to use their own equipment, reimbursement for communication costs incurred in the conduct of their duties as a Councillor will be declared and approved by the CEO, in line with costs which would have been incurred if the equipment was provided by Council.

 Councillor Resource Room

Councillors have access to a Councillor resource room including computers, lockers, and desk space from which to support their duties as a Councillors whilst at the Council Offices.

Resources/Facilities Support for the Mayor

A fully equipped office and reasonable administrative support will be provided to assist the Mayor to undertake the role effectively. The level of support is determined by the CEO in conjunction with the Mayor.

A mayoral vehicle is provided for Council purposes and also for the personal use of the Mayor. The Mayor may elect to use their own vehicle for their duties as the Mayor and be reimbursed for these bona fide expenses on a monthly basis at an annualised rate determined by the CEO. The rate will be determined on a case by case basis dependent on the type of vehicle to be used and will not exceed the cost which would otherwise be incurred by supplying a Mayoral vehicle.

Costs of Use of Council Communication Equipment

Mobile devices and associated data allowances are provided to Councillors to conduct Council business. Personal calls/texts and data usage should be minimised and where significant personal use has occurred, costs must be reimbursed to Council. Private international use of mobile devices should not occur without prior arrangements made.

Where a Councillor has elected to use their own mobile phone or device with a declaration in regards to eligible use and reimbursement the account can be forwarded to Council for payment, in accordance with the rates agreed and approved by the CEO under 4.3.

Training and Education expenses Annual Budget Limits

An annual budget is set for each Councillor and Mayor from which Council will pay for or reimburse Councillors for costs incurred for relevant training and education expenses. This covers attendance at conferences, seminars, study tours, formal study and memberships. Individual budget allocations are not transferable between Councillors or for other purposes.

The training and education should provide a professional development opportunity which will enhance the Councillors’ performance and/or provide a direct return on investment to the City of Casey by the Councillor being exposed to information and insights which will assist in the enhancement of Council’s policies, services, facilities or programs.

The total cost for a Councillor per annum is not to exceed the budgeted amount unless Council resolves to fund the gap or the Councillor agrees to fund the gap.

Any unspent funds at the end of the financial year are to be preserved for each Councillor to access, subject to this policy, during the following financial year. Unspent funds may only be rolled over once, which will require that the current year allocation is fully expended, before the prior year roll over amount can be accessed. Only unspent funds from the current year allocation can be rolled over at the end of the financial year.

No training or educational funds budgeted or accumulated prior to an election will be available for a Councillor following his or her re-election.

A Councillor is to repay any over expenditure and advice will be provided to the Councillor if such an over expenditure becomes apparent so that the amount can be repaid under an arrangement with the Chief Executive Officer.

Conferences, seminars, events and study tours

Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses incurred, or have Council pay directly where attending conferences, seminars, events and study tours relevant to their role or providing a significant professional development opportunity.

Where the conference, seminar, event or study tour requires interstate travel, a maximum of two councillors will be approved for attendance at the same interstate conference, seminar, event or study tour, on a “first come, first served” basis. Any additional requests to attend the same event will require a resolution of Council. Councillors are required to prepare a report for Council by the third Council meeting after their return from travel outlining: purpose of conference, seminar, event or study tour, learning outcomes, applicable benefits to Casey, issues for consideration of Council, conclusion and recommendation.

The CEO will arrange booking and payment for Councillor accommodation at the conference hotel or appropriate nearby venue, if the cost is less than those promoted by the conference organiser. Prior approval of the CEO is required for use of a hire car.

Meals (including drinks consumed with a meal) and daily expenses for incidentals will be reimbursed at a maximum rate established under annual Australian Taxation Office determinations for reasonable travel expenses subject to the production of receipts. Incidentals includes such expenses as laundry; taxi fares, other than those incurred in travelling to and from the airport, and other reasonable out of pocket expenses related to the business of the conference.

Formal study

Where relevant to the role of a Councillor, and subject to annual budget limits, Council will reimburse Councillors for costs incurred for formal study. Up to two formal residential sessions per semester will be funded. Councillors will be reimbursed the tuition fees after producing evidence to show successful completion of each unit

By resolution of Council, Council may elect to pay upfront the eligible study costs of a Councillor, meeting the requirements of this clause, but such payment is required to be refunded back to Council in the event the Councillor does not successfully complete the unit.

Memberships

The membership must provide access to training, seminars and/or networking relevant to the role of the Councillor and be an organisation operating within Victoria.

In circumstances where a membership extends beyond the current term of the Councillor, membership fees will only be funded in proportion to the remainder of the term.

Ticketed Functions

Council will pay the costs of ticketed functions which relate to Council business for the Mayor and guest, or a Councillor attending as the Mayor’s delegate.

In addition, Council will pay the cost of ticketed functions in accordance with Council resolutions.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Travel expenses can be reimbursed where incurred representing Council at meetings, events and functions as an official delegate or representative of the Mayor , or in attending Council, Committee or Portfolio meetings, functions or formal briefings of the entire Council called by the Mayor or Chief Executive Officer, or where a Councillor is invited by an external organisation to attend a meeting or function and that event is also attended by a Council Officer in his/her official capacity.

Councillors travelling on Council business and required to fly or use any other means of regular public transport will be eligible for economy class travel only.

Councillors are entitled to use a taxi from their home to the airport and return, and from the airport to the conference/event venue and return.

For travel by car, an expense allowance will be paid based on the rate set out in the Casey City Council Enterprise Agreement.

Reimbursement of Carer Expenses

Childcare and care of frail aged and/or people with a disability can be claimed where the expense is incurred due to attendance at Council meetings, civic functions, committee meetings, functions or formal briefings and when representing Council on Council business as an official delegate or representative and:

  • The child or person resides in the Councillor’s household and the Councillor is the primary carer or;
  • Where the Councillor is in receipt of a Commonwealth Carers Allowance or;
  • Where the Councillor’s partner is the primary carer and he/she is accompanying the Councillor to a civic function.

The care must not be provided by someone who normally lives at the Councillor’s residence.

Informal care will be reimbursed a maximum rate of $15.00 per hour.

In the case of care provided through an approved program or by a registered provider, the amount on the official tax invoice will be paid by Council.

Costs of Use of Council Communication equipment

Mobile devices and associated data allowances are provided to Councillors to conduct Council business. Personal calls/texts and data usage should be minimised and where significant personal use has occurred, costs must be reimbursed to Council. Private international use of mobile devices should not occur without prior arrangements made.

Where a Councillor has elected to use their own mobile phone or device with a declaration in regards to eligible use and reimbursement the account can be forwarded to Council for payment, in accordance with the rates agreed and approved by the CEO under 4.3.

Reimbursement for Election Campaigns

Reimbursement of Councillor’s out-of-pocket expenses will only apply to costs that have been incurred in the performance of normal Council duties, and not for expenses that support or are connected with a candidate’s election campaigning.

Claiming Expenses

All expenses are to be claimed within twelve months of being incurred or upon return from the conference, event or study tour, whichever is the later date.

All expenses need to be accompanied by documentation including the relevant expense claim form and any proof of expenditure, including receipts.

Expense claim forms should be forwarded to the Councillor Support Officer, for approval by the CEO. Minor claims of petty cash may be approved by the Manager Governance or Chief of Staff in accordance with adopted policy.

Expenses will not be reimbursed when related to any travel where a daily allowance has been paid through a calculation made under the Taxation Determination table by the Australian Taxation Office.

Late claims will only be reimbursed subject to a resolution of Council.

Departure of Councillors

The CEO will make arrangements for the collection of any equipment provided within the scope of this policy from a Councillor departing Council. All Councillors are required to surrender their equipment one week prior to a general local government election. In the case of a by election or countback, the retiring Councillor must return equipment no later than one week prior to the day of the by election or countback.

Responsibilities

Who

What

Manager Governance, Chief of Staff

Responsible for approval and verification of petty cash claims.

Responsible for reporting incurred expense details in Annual Report.

CEO

Responsible for approval and verification of travel and care expense claims

Breaches

  • Councillors Code of Conduct
  • Section 76B of the Local Government Act 1989
  • Section 76BA of the Local Government Act 1989
  • Section 76D of the Local Government Act 1989

 Relevant Forms

NA

 Document History

Date approved

Change Type

Version

Next Review Date

16 July 2019

Major amendments: small changes to the content and transfer to new template.

2.0

31 July 2023