The City of Ballarat has placed its new Governance Rules and Public Transparency Policy on the agenda for consideration and adoption at the next council meeting on Wednesday night.
The policy is designed to foster public trust in how the council conducts its business and decisions 'in the best interest of the Ballarat community; fairly and on the merits of the matter; and in a way that ensures any person whose rights will be directly affected by a decision will be entitled to communicate their views and have their interests considered.'
The policy will also affect the election of the mayor and deputy mayor, the conduct of council meetings and committees, deal with conflicts of interest and ensure community engagement is maintained.
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As part of the new state government Local Government Act 2020, the council is required to have its policy in place by September 1.
The principles apply to council information, documents and publications, procedural information, records, data. Council has said previously that transparency will be 'a driving principle that will guide the work that we do, the decisions we make and the information we share - in everything that we do.'
The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) has been involved in the design and development of regulations and policies for the new Act, alongside local governments, says VLGA CEO Kathryn Arndt.
"The Act has moved more towards a principles-based legislation that needs to be supported by these and other policies," Ms Arndt said.
"The VLGA supports any framework that improves and make very clear the level of governance, the level of transparency, the expectations of councillor conduct... making sure conflicts of interest are declared, and the factors that influence their decision making."
The City of Ballarat has made a small number of changes to the policy following community engagement.
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