Election Period Operational Guidelines | City of Casey
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13 September 2016

Election Period Operational Guidelines

1.3

Definitions

Certification Committee

Manager Communications, Manager Governance, Councillor Support Officer, Governance Officer, CEO’s Executive Assistant

The Act

The Local Government Act 1989

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.

21 September – 22 October 2016

Electoral Matter

Material which is printed, published or otherwise communicated which addresses issues connected to the election, a candidate or which is likely or intended to affect voting in the election.

Event or Function

A gathering of internal and/or external stakeholders to discuss, review, acknowledge, communicate, celebrate or promote a program, strategy or issue which is of relevance to the Council and its community and may take the form of conferences, workshops, forums, launches, promotional activities, social occasions such as dinners, receptions and balls.

Major Policy Decision

  • The appointment or dismissal of a CEO, or the remuneration of a CEO;
  • Approval of contracts with a total value exceeding $1.863 million (this is 1% of Council’s total revenue from rates and charges under s.158 in the preceding financial year); and
  • The exercise of any entrepreneurial power under s.193.
Publication Council newsletters, advertisements, job advertisements, public notices, media releases, leaflets, brochures, emails and mail outs to multiple addresses, web-based content (e.g. social media)
Public Consultation              Process which invites individuals, groups, organisations or the community to comment on an issue, proposed action or policy.
VEC Victorian Electoral Commission

Scope

This policy covers:

      1. decisions that are made by Council, a special committee of the Council, or a delegate of the Council;
      2. any material that is published by the Council;
      3. attendance and participation in functions and events;
      4. the use of Council resources;
      5. access to Council information; and
      6. media services

Context

During the Election Period, the City of Casey as an organisation and individual council officers will be under increased public scrutiny. It is a legislated requirement that all publications and printed materials during this period are certified by the CEO to ensure council does not illicit any electoral materials.

 

Decision Making

Throughout the Election Period, s. 93A of the Act prohibits Council, Special Committees or a person under Council’s delegation from making major policy decisions.

During the Election Period, officers must give consideration to s.93A of the Act when preparing Council or Special Committee reports.

Council officers will not during the election period submit reports to Council which seek a recommendation on a major policy decision.

Certification of publications

Any publication distributed during the election period must be submitted for certification by the CEO. All documents must first be approved by Communications and the relevant Manager.

To increase efficiency, each day the Certification Committee will meet to review publications for CEO certification.

To be considered for certification, a document must be received by the Governance department by 10.00 am. Documents are to be submitted via email to elections@casey.vic.gov.au

Documents will be reviewed and submitted to the CEO for certification the same day – once certified, Governance will advise responsible officers.

Each day, Governance will upload to ECM the CEO’s certification and certified documents. The following naming convention will apply and will provide consistency to enable easy search and retrieval of documents.

Naming Convention: “Certified Publication – (insert name of publication) – (date).”

Standard text to accompany Corporate Governance email to CEO:

“This material has been checked and does not contain any electoral or electoral related matter to the best of my knowledge. In accordance with the requirements of s.55D (1) of the Local Government Act 1989 can you please certify in writing that you authorise for this material to be printed, published or distributed.”

Standard certification to be used by the CEO as part of “corporate signature” for certification emails:

“I certify that the attached material is suitable for printing, publishing or distributing on behalf of City of Casey".

Information request register

During the election period Governance will maintain an Information Request Register, recording all requests for information regarding electoral matters and non-routine requests received from a current Councillor or candidate.

A list of candidates and election issues will be maintained by Governance and available for reference on BORIS.

Officers receiving requests from candidates or Councillors must inform Governance of such requests.

A digital process for documenting requests received will be finalised closer to the date and communicated to all staff.

Media enquiries

During the Election Period, all media enquiries will be referred by the Communications department to the CEO. A response and quotes where appropriate will be attributed to the CEO.

Social Media

At the commencement of Election Period, Council will post on its social media platforms advising residents it has entered the Election Period which will result in reduced social media activity.

Information published on social media by Council, including posts/replies must be certified by the CEO during the Election Period.

Officers that are responsible for maintaining Council’s social media accounts are responsible for arranging certification of all posts/replies made during the Election Period.

Each officer responsible for maintenance of a social media account on behalf of Council is also responsible for deleting any comments made by subscribers which contain electoral matter.

Activities to cease during election period

Public Consultation

Where possible, public consultation and advocacy/lobbying should be avoided during the Election Period.

Any public consultation advertised or held during the Election Period must be approved by the CEO in writing.

Requests for public consultations should be submitted via Governance to the Certification Committee who will arrange certification and record management of certification.

Regular Publications

During the election period, distribution of new resident kits will cease and instead be distributed following the conclusion of the Election Period. Council will also cease publishing City News.

Council’s Customer Service digital displays and on-hold telephone messages will continue during Election Period however will be subject to CEO certification.

Review

The next biennial review of this document is scheduled for completion by 30 June 2020.

 

 

Appendix 2 - Staff Communication Plan

Disclaimer

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.

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