3.3 DIVISIONAL ARRANGEMENTS The primary accountability of a local government and its elected representatives is to the entire community. “When performing a responsibility, a councillor must serve the overall public interest of the whole local government area” under section 12(6) of the Local Government Act 2009 . This applies regardless of whether a council has electoral divisions (like Ipswich has) or is undivided (i.e. has no councillor divisions). It is entirely reasonable for residents and ratepayers to expect that their mayor and councillors understand this and act in accordance with their legal obligations. Divisions are primarily an election tool every four years, and are not a framework for local governance and council decision-making. BEFORE ADMINISTRATION In the decade following the 2008 amalgamations of many local government authorities across Queensland, Ipswich City Council was structured into 10 divisions, with the voters in each division electing a single councillor. By 2018, boundaries of the 10 divisions evolved over time as the city’s population grew, with little apparent reference to the principle of ‘communities of interest’ outlined in the Local Government Act 2009 . Two of these 10 divisions would have been outside the 10 per cent variation of the number of voters allowable under the Act by March 2020. So, the divisional boundaries needed to be changed before the March 2020 elections to comply with the Act. In addition, the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Windage report had indicated that a high level of divisionally-focused council policies and funding and councillor conduct contributed to the poor governance arrangements of your former council. Instead of having a council focussed on the strategic direction of the entire city, Ipswich had morphed into a “tale of 10 cities”, with councillors far more focused on their patch, or division, rather than on the city as a whole. When combined with divisional-based funding programs for both infrastructure and community grants (which have both been discontinued in Ipswich), a councillor can develop a preoccupation with funding allocations for their own division rather than the priorities of the whole city.
6. Capture and Retention of Public Records – Outlines the legislated obligations for elected officials in keeping appropriate records. 7. Investigations Policy – Required by legislation, sets out the way in which incidents of inappropriate conduct referred from the Independent Assessor are investigated and reported back to council. 8. Caretaker Period – In addition to the requirements of the legislation, provides clear guidelines and standards for councillors and council officers during an election period. 9. Representation of the City at Official Functions – Provides the protocol for elected representative and officer representation at official functions. 10. Meetings Procedures Policy – Based on the model provided by the state government, provides for a transparent and efficient meeting process. 11. Meeting Conduct Policy – Based on the model, asserts a high standard of behaviour for elected representatives in council meetings. 12. Public Participation at Ordinary Council Meetings – Provides residents and ratepayers with a welcoming, respectful and safe environment to present directly to councillors, in a public forum. NOW Community members can expect that councillors will be set up for success and possess the appropriate good governance framework and policies they need to guide their behaviour, help them make the best possible decisions for the city as a whole, and comply with their legislative requirements. Council staff are expected to provide councillors with the information they require in order to make informed strategic decisions which will guide a high level of service to the community. Staff are also required to abide by the requirements of policy, procedure and legislation. The incoming mayor and councillors can expect to be provided with clear conduct requirements which outline how they should/must interact with staff, stakeholders and the community. Supporting links: