Public Question Time Policy | City of Casey
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Adopted 4 April 2017

Public Question Time Policy

Version 5.1

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for Public Question Time at Council meetings as required by Clause 42.1of Local Law No.1 (2016).

Definitions

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.

Local Law No.1(2016)

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

Ordinary Meeting

An Ordinary Meeting of the Council, as defined in Section 83 of the Local Government Act 1989.

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.

 

Scope

 This policy applies to questions submitted for consideration at Ordinary Council meetings.

Context

This policy on Public Question Time is to be read in conjunction with Clause 42.1 of Council’s Meeting Procedures and Use of the Common Seal Local Law.

Policy

5.1 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.

5.2 Public question time is not a legislative requirement and is subject to Council policy.

Roles and responsibilities

The Strategic 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 Strategic Director Corporate Services will provide recommendations to the Chairperson who in accordance with Local Law No. 1 (2016) is responsible for conducting the Council Meeting.

6.1 Questions for consideration at Council Meetings must be submitted electronically to questiontime@casey.vic.gov.au (or a specified email address if the questioner’s conduct with Council is being managed under Council’s Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Policy) or via online form.

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

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

The Upcoming Council Business Schedule is regularly updated and can be found on Council’s Website via the following link: http://www.casey.vic.gov.au/council/your-council/minutes-agendas/upcoming-council-business

6.4 A question must make sense and include the person’s name and address.

6.5 No question may exceed 50 words in length.

6.6 Questions must focus on an issue.

6.7 Questions must not name, allude to or focus on individuals.

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

6.9 The time at which questions will be dealt with will be in accordance with the agenda of the Council meeting.

6.10 In accordance with Clause 42.1 of Council’s Meeting Procedure (Local Law 1, 2016), ‘no question will be read unless the questioner is present in the public gallery’.

6.11 Where question would have otherwise been answered but for the fact that the submitter was not in the gallery, a written response will be provided.

6.12 Questions must not:

a) relate to a matter outside the duties, functions and powers of Council;

b) include content which, if it were included in a Council report, would be likely to be considered in Closed Council;

c) contain potentially defamatory material;

d) relate to trivial matters or make unsubstantiated allegations;

e) include content which a reasonable person may find to be indecent, abusive, offensive, irrelevant or objectionable;

f) 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;

g) appear to be aimed at embarrassing a Councillor or a Council officer, and/ or

h) comprise in a large part a statement or quote.

6.13 Questions which meet the requirements of this policy will be read out by a Council officer and answered by a Councillor or officer.

6.14 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.

6.15 Questions not meeting the requirements of this policy will not be read out and answered during Public Question Time.

6.16 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.

6.17 Where a question is resubmitted in accordance with clause 6.16 the question, if meeting the requirements of this Policy, will be answered at the next Public Question Time.

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.

Review

The next review of this document is scheduled for completion by 30 April 2019.

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