Councillors Ward Forums Policy | City of Casey
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19 February 2019

Councillors Ward Forums Policy

Version 2.2

1. Purpose

This Policy provides a framework for the provision of Ward forums to ensure they are conducted in an equitable and productive manner that benefits both the Ward Councillors and the community.

2. Definitions

Election period A period of time determined by the State Government immediately prior to a Local Government Election where the current Council have restricted decision making powers.

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.

3. Scope

Ward Forums are not Council meetings and no official decisions can be made.

Ward Forums provide the opportunity to engage with the community, including sports clubs and community groups. Ward Forums will not be held during the Election period.

4. Context

Local Government is the closest and most accessible sphere of government to the community. Ward forums help to promote open communication and consultation with the community which assists to develop partnerships and build better relationships. Councillors benefit from their constituents having the opportunity to interact with their elected representatives and help shape the community in which they live.

Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at www.casey.vic.gov.au/policiesstrategies to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.

5. Policy

5.1 Forum Formats

Ward Forums will be held at community or Council-owned facilities within the Ward and can be in any of the following formats:

Traditional or Formal Ward Forum held in a community facility or centrally in the Civic Centre. People seated in an audience style with Councillors and Council officers seated in a panel style with microphones. Brief presentations/welcome followed by questions from the floor. Light refreshments available on request, e.g. Sandwiches, BBQ etc.

Informal Forum held in a community meeting space or park as an opportunity for people to meet with and talk to Councillors on a one-to-one basis. This would likely be a standing event. Light refreshments available on request, e.g. Sandwiches, BBQ etc.

Street Stall style Forum held in a busy shopping centre or strip during a busy period in a highly visible spot. • Forum as part of Event – a forum which utilises an existing community event, e.g. The Berwick Show.

5.2 Frequency

Council officers will provide support at one Ward Forum in each ward during a financial year.

5.3 Advertising and Invitations

Council Officers will advertise the date of the Ward Forums two weeks in advance in the local papers, Casey Community News, City News (if deadline allows), and on Council’s website and social media pages.

An invitation to the Ward Forum will be sent to all local community organisations and sporting clubs involved in the Ward.

5.4 Officer Support

The Councillor Support Officer or an alternate officer will be in attendance at the Forum to assist Councillors, should the need arise. Ward Forums should be planned in conjunction with Councils advocacy strategy to maximise effect of Council’s communications.

5.5 Signage and promotional material

Officers will arrange an A-frame sign to be placed outside the Forum on the day to indicate that Ward Councillors are available. Council information brochures, relevant to the forum will also be provided.

Councillors are responsible for any personal advertising or promotional material they wish to distribute. The Council logo should not be used unless approval has been sought from the Communications department.

5.6 Post Forum

Officers will prepare a summary of the forum to be sent to the Council for information.

6. Administrative Updates

It is recognised that, from time to time, circumstances may change leading to the need for minor administrative changes to this document. Where an update does not materially alter this document, such a change may be made administratively. Examples include a change to the name of a Council department, a change to the name of a Federal or State Government department, and a minor update to legislation which does not have a material impact. However, any change or update which materially alters this document must be by resolution of Council.

7. Review

The next biennial review of this document is scheduled for completion by 1 February 2022.