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Councillors and Delegated Committee Members Expenses, Resources and Support Policy

Adopted by Council on 1 March 2021

1. Background 

The Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) requires that Councils adopt and maintain a policy in relation to reimbursement of expenses for Councillors and members of delegated committees. The Policy is in response to that requirement.

2. Objectives

The Policy is to support Councillors and members of delegated committees to enable them to effectively undertake their duties and functions in those roles by:

  • providing for reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred by Councillors and members of delegated committees in undertaking the duties and functions of their roles;
  • describing the resources and support that will be provided to Councillors and the conditions and limits on the use of the resources provided to them; 
  • providing training and resources for Councillors’ professional development; and
  • providing for mutual accountability and transparency as between Councillors, as between members of delegated committees and for appropriate accountability to the community.

3. Scope

The Policy applies to:

  • the Mayor and Councillors of Latrobe City Council; and
  • members of delegated committees established by Latrobe City Council.

4. Principles of Management

The Policy identifies the types of expenses that are considered to be reasonable out of pocket expenses that may be reimbursed.

The Policy also identifies the support and resources considered reasonable to enable Councillors to carry out their duties and functions as efficiently and effectively as possible.

4.1 Reimbursement of expenses

  1. The Mayor, Councillors and members of delegated committees are to be reimbursed for expenses they incur in carrying out the duties and functions of those roles provided the requirements of section 40(1) of the Act are satisfied and the procedure for applying for reimbursement set out in the Policy is complied with. Reimbursement of such expenses to the Mayor and Councillors is to be provided in addition to their receipt of an allowance under section 39 of the Act.
  2. The expenses that may be reimbursed are subject to any specific requirements and limitations in the Policy.
  3. Allowances will be paid to Councillors each month (and no more than a month in advance), but if a Councillor ceases to hold office because he or she is suspended or because of an election, payment will be withheld until such time as the Councillor is elected or reinstated.
  4. Council will ensure that an amount equivalent to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution is paid to Councillors with the Councillor allowance and if requested by a Councillor, the amount may be paid directly to the Councillor’s nominated superannuation fund.

4.2 Carer expenses

  1. Necessary expenses incurred by a Councillor or a member of a delegated committee for child care will be reimbursed if the expenses are incurred while the Councillor or member of a delegated committee is undertaking his or her duties or functions.
  2. Necessary expenses incurred by a Councillor for care of:
    • a person with whom the Councillor is a carer in a care relationship within the meaning of section 4 of the Carers Recognition Act 2012; or
    • any other elderly, disabled or sick immediate family member or dependent who resides with the Councillor; will be reimbursed if the expenses are incurred while a Councillor is undertaking his or her duties or functions.
  3. The hourly rate of reimbursement for child care expenses will be limited to a maximum equivalent to the current Council fees applicable in the Council budget (listed under Children’s Services) on a per child basis. 
  4. The hourly rate of reimbursement for other carer expenses will be limited to a maximum equivalent to the current Council fees applicable in the Council budget (listed under Direct Care). 
  5. Reimbursement of carer expenses will be made:
    • (a) subject to the provision of tax invoices together with receipts submitted; and 
    • (b) in the case of informal arrangements, a statement of hours, costs, dates, times and purposes for which the care was provided; and
    • (c) a statement by the Councillor or delegated committee member making the claim as to why the care was needed on each occasion. The statement may be made annually if the care is ongoing for the same immediate family member or dependent.
  6. Carer expenses are not eligible for reimbursement if they are paid to a person who:
    • (a) is immediate family (e.g. partner, mother/father, sister/brother or sister in-law/brother in law, relatives and/or children); or 
    • (b) who normally or regularly lives with the Councillor or delegated committee member, except where a live-in (professional) helper such as a nanny is required to work extra time at extra expense because of the Councillor’s duties or functions.
  7. Reimbursement of expenses will be made if the Councillor or delegated committee member attaches to the claim:
    • (a) the tax invoices and the receipt provided; or 
    • (b) in the case of informal arrangements, a statement of hours, costs, dates, times and purposes for which the care was provided; and
    • (c) an explanation as to why the care was needed on each occasion or annually if the care is ongoing for the same immediate family member or dependent. 

4.3 Travel expenses

  1. Subject to clause 5, Councillors and members of delegated committees may be reimbursed for expenses incurred when they use their private vehicle for Council business including travel to and from the Councillor or delegated committee member’s notified residential address to Council meetings, delegated committee meetings, briefings or other activities directly related to Council business.
  2. The rate of reimbursement for private vehicle expenses will be based on the rate specified (as applicable to employees) in Council’s Enterprise Agreement that is in operation at such time that the travel occurred. 
  3. A Councillor’s travel expenses may include the cost of purchasing a local sim card used for accessing wi-fi while overseas.
  4. Travel expenses will not be reimbursed to a Councillor or member of a delegated committee member for:
    • travel from work or other locations where the kilometres claimed are greater than what would be claimed from the notified residential address; and
    • meetings arranged outside the municipality that would not form part of a Councillor or delegated committee member’s normal role.

4.4 Access to pool vehicles by Councillors

  1. Where there is no other reasonable transport option available, a Councillor may have access to a car pool vehicle to undertake Council business, subject to availability and on the same conditions as pool vehicles are available for use to staff under the current Motor Vehicle (Operational) Policy which includes requirements about:
    • currency of the user’s licence
    • the use of log books;
    • overnight use approval;
    • care and cleanliness of vehicles;
    • service and maintenance;
    • use of vehicles by other authorised drivers;
    • accidents and vehicle damage; and
    • compliance with traffic laws, fines and infringements.
  2. Notwithstanding the terms of the current Motor Vehicle (Operational) Policy where overnight or weekend usage is required a Councillor does not require permission to make such a booking but must notify the Chief Executive Officer. Only the Councillor, another Councillor or employee of Council may drive the vehicle in such circumstances.

4.5 Use of public transport by Councillors

  1. Councillors may request a Myki card for Council business travel on public transport within and outside the municipality. 
  2. Councillors using personal Myki cards may submit a claim for specific trips undertaken for Council business. A valid receipt must be provided with the claim for reimbursement.

4.6 Use of taxis by Councillors

  1. Councillors may request Cabcharge vouchers for use in Council business travel. 
  2. Cabcharge vouchers must only be used by the Councillor who obtained it and must not be provided to any other individual for use.
  3. When a Cabcharge voucher is used, the receipt must be retained for reconciliation.   
  4. Councillors who incur taxi costs without the use of a Cabcharge voucher may make a claim for reimbursement. A valid receipt must be provided with the claim for reimbursement. 
  5. Councillors should retain receipts and submit any other information that will assist in verifying the nature of Council business, date, time and cost of transactions. 

4.7 Interstate and overseas travel of Councillors for council business

  1. A Councillor proposing to travel overseas for Council business requires a formal resolution of Council prior to departure.  
  2. A Councillor proposing to travel interstate for Council business requires the prior approval of the Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer. 
  3. A ‘Request to travel interstate or overseas’ form must be completed and approved by the Mayor or Chief Executive Officer prior to departure.
  4. All interstate travel proposed to be undertaken by the Mayor for Council business is to be approved by the Chief Executive Officer prior to departure. 
  5. When Councillors are required to travel interstate, travel will be by air or if the intended destination town does not have a co-located airport and it is more practicable to do so, by car or any other means of transport as may be approved by the Chief Executive Officer prior to departure. Air travel will be in economy class and any upgrades will be paid for personally by the Councillor or if there is no cost, the matter is disclosed as a gift in accordance with the current Gifts Benefits and Hospitality Policy. If a Councillor wants to use their own vehicle for interstate travel then the Chief Executive Officer must be notified prior to departure.
  6. Councillors travelling overseas are responsible for ensuring that they have a current passport and obtain any required visas. The costs of the visa will be paid by Council or reimbursed to the Councillor.

4.8 Councillors attending external meetings, conferences and functions

  1. Councillors attending or participating in conferences, functions, seminars and similar activities, including in their capacity as Council’s appointed delegate, substitute delegate, designated committee member or representative are entitled to have the costs of attendance or participation met subject to the following provisions. 
  2. Appointed Council Delegate to External Organisations, Committees, Meetings and Conferences
    Council will meet the costs of attendance or participation and any necessary reasonable costs incurred in attending regular or ad hoc meetings or special events held by an organisation or committee that the Councillor has been appointed to, (such as an annual conference of an organisation) if the Councillor is required to attend on behalf of Council.
  3. Presenter at a conference
    Council will meet the costs of attendance or participation of a Councillor invited to speak at a conference in their capacity as a Councillor. In some cases, conference organisers may waive or cover registration fees for participation, in which case, no claim for reimbursement of registration fees can be made from Council. 
  4. Community, Charity or Civic Functions and Events
    • (a) Council will meet the cost of a Councillor attending community, charity or civic functions and events, if the cost does not exceed $200. If the cost of a function or event exceeds $200, the Councillor must obtain the prior consent of the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer or in the case of the Mayor, the prior consent of the Chief Executive Officer.
    • (b) Where a Councillor and his/her partner have been invited to attend a community, charity or civic function and event at a cost to attend, in the circumstances where the Councillor will attend, Council will meet the cost of the partner’s attendance with prior notification to the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer.
    • (c) When Council is hosting a function where Councillors are invited to attend, the Mayor may extend an invitation to partners of Councillors.
    • (d) In circumstances where the Mayor has been invited to a function or event and is unable to attend, the Mayor may delegate to another Councillor. 
  5. Political functions
    Where a Councillor attends a political party fundraising event for which payment is required, the cost will be paid for personally by the individual Councillor.  

4.9 Councillor accommodation and meals when travelling

  1. Councillors can stay in reasonable accommodation appropriate to the area travelled to, the nature of the visit and the reasonable requirements of the Councillor. 
  2. Standard rooms will be used for accommodation but Councillors may accept room upgrades provided that the cost is borne personally by the Councillor, or if there is no cost, the matter is disclosed as a gift in accordance with the current Gifts Benefits and Hospitality Policy.
  3. If a leader of a delegation comprising more than one other Councillor or Council employee is a Councillor, the Councillor will be entitled to a suite in the accommodation (if available) rather than a standard room. 
  4. Where a Councillor is attending Council business that requires them to be away from home during normal meal times or for an extended period, and the Councillor incurs expenses for meals and refreshments. Council will reimburse reasonable expenses provided that the tax invoice is submitted with the claim.

5. Responsibility and Accountability 

5.1 Process for reimbursement of expenses 

  1. Claims for reimbursement of expenses must be received within sixty days of the expense being incurred. 
  2. All claims for reimbursement must:
    • be made on the relevant form;
    • completed by the Councillor or delegated committee member making the claim which includes a signed confirmation of the expenses claimed; and
    • accompanied by the original receipts and tax invoices (credit card receipts will not be accepted). 
  3. Only those expenses specifically covered in this Policy will be reimbursed. 
  4. Reimbursements will be paid by electronic funds transfer within 30 days of a correctly completed claim form being received.  
  5. All claims for reimbursement of expenses by Councillors must be finalised at least one month prior to a Council election. A two month grace will be given post-election for Councillors seeking re-election who are not successful. At the expiry of the two month grace period claims will no longer be accepted. 

5.2 Advance payment requirements

Any advance payment made for the cost of a service associated with a civic duty must be reconciled within one month of receiving such payment and receipts supplied as verification.

5.3 Reimbursement of non-council related expenditure

Any reimbursement required to be paid to Council for non-Council related expenditure incurred or claimed in accordance with this Policy must be made within sixty days of the cost being incurred or account being received by the Councillor or delegated committee member.

5.4 Reporting Councillor expenses to the public

  1. A summary of Councillor Expenses as at the end of each financial year will be published on the Council’s website. 
  2. Council will also publish details of expenses and entitlements in its Annual Report in accordance with current requirements under the Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2014 or any such requirement in amended or replacement regulations made pursuant to the Act.
  3. Councillors will be provided with an opportunity to review monthly reports on their expenses and professional development costs before they are published on Council’s website. These reports must be confirmed in writing by each Councillor within 14 days of receiving them and by the Chief Executive Officer. 

5.5 Audit

Expenses paid or reimbursed to a Councillor or member of a delegated committee member will be subject to:

  1. regular review by Council’s internal auditors; and
  2. annual review by Council’s Audit and Risk Committee.

5.6 Exclusions

The following expenses will not be reimbursed by Council:

  1. expenses incurred which are not directly related to the duties of a Councillor or member of a delegated committee undertaking Council business;
  2. costs to a Councillor or member of a delegated committee arising from a breach of road, traffic, parking or other laws; 
  3. an expense which a Councillor or member of a delegated committee seeks to offset against a claim for any additional amount of another expense; or
  4. expenses for a Councillor or delegated committee member’s partner or immediate family members or associates in relation to attendance at meetings, conferences, seminars, training, community events or planning sessions unless stated otherwise in this Policy.

5.7 Expenses not included in the policy

Any expense not included in this Policy will require approval by the Chief Executive Officer. A Councillor or delegated committee member whose expense claim has been refused by the Chief Executive Officer may refer the expense claim to Council for approval.

6. Training and Professional Development

6.1 Councillor development and training

  1. Latrobe City Council is committed to ensuring that all Councillors are provided with access to development and training opportunities necessary to enable them to perform their duties and functions as Councillors.  
  2. The participation in a range of one-off or short-term training courses, seminars and activities specific to Councillors will be made available. These may be provided internally, or by professional bodies such as the MAV or VLGA (for example, Councillor induction training or conflict of interest training).
  3. These training courses and seminars are excluded from the individual professional and personal development allocations provided to Councillors in this Policy (however, may still be reportable expenses under the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework).

6.2 Individual professional and personal development

  1. In addition to the corporate training and development needs of Councillors, individual Councillors may undertake additional professional and personal development (which may include personal coaching or mentoring) that benefits their participation as a member of Council and enhances their potential in serving the community as a member of the Council.
  2. Each Councillor is allocated $2,500 (inclusive of course material such as reference books, travel, meals and accommodation if required) each calendar year for individual professional and personal development where that is considered to be in the interests of the Latrobe City community, but must submit valid tax receipts in relation to any expenditure from that allocation when it is incurred.
  3. Unused funds allocated for a Councillor’s individual professional and personal development may only be rolled over from one year to the next during the Councillor’s term of office.  Funds rolled over will be up to the cumulative total due in the year but not exceeding the amount of $10,000 in the fourth year. (That is, $2,500 for year one, up to $5,000 in year two, up to $7,500 in year 3 and $10,000 in year 4).
  4. The allocation to a Councillor is not transferable to another Councillor. 
  5. The allocation to a Councillor ends when the Councillor’s term of office ends and any balance does not roll over if the Councillor is re-elected.
  6. If a Councillor wishes to spend more than one year’s allocation ($2,500) on one personal development activity, he or she must first submit a development plan to the Mayor for approval.
  7. If a Councillor does not complete a professional or personal development program or course in respect of which the Mayor has approved a development plan during his or her term, the Councillor, if re-elected, may seek approval from the Mayor to continue the development program. 
  8. In determining whether to approve a plan under subclauses (6) or (7), the Mayor will take into consideration the merits of the program or activity in accordance with the overall parametres set by this Policy and taking into account the following:
    • Development that qualifies for expenditure must relate to the areas of:
      • local government activity; \
      • leadership; 
      • governance in the context of the role of Councillor; or
      • enhancing the personal or professional skills of the individual to undertake the role.
    • Programs may in the form of but not limited to: 
      • specific workshops, seminars and conferences (for example, the Company Director’s Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors or MAV Councillors Development Weekend or knowledge centre courses); 
      • coaching from a suitably qualified professional or personal coach or mentor;
      • TAFE level, undergraduate or post graduate studies (for example, Diploma of Local Government or the Graduate Diploma of Management under auspice by the MAV); 
      • short courses and study tours that relate to the areas of local government activity, leadership, governance in the context of the role of Councillor, or enhance the personal skills of the individual to contribute to the good governance of Latrobe City.

6.3 Additional requirements applying to individual professional and personal development

  1. Subject to a resolution of Council, a Councillor’s individual professional or personal development activity may be paid for in advance by Council.
    • (a) Notwithstanding the above, payment in advance by Council for personal coaching and mentoring services does not require a resolution of Council but rather is subject to approval by the Chief Executive Officer.
  2. If Council pays the fees in advance and if the Councillor is not re-elected, then the fees for any uncompleted units of the course or program must be repaid by the Councillor to the Council.
  3. If a Councillor has not requested that the fees be paid in advance and a Councillor is claiming reimbursement for professional or personal development, evidence of the successful completion must be submitted with the claim. 
  4. Regardless of the overall cost, Councillors must seek formal approval from Council for any program or course that involves overseas travel. 
  5. Arrangements associated with Councillors professional or personal development attendance (including registration, air or train travel and accommodation) must be organised through Mayoral and Council Support. 

6.4 Professional and personal development for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor

  1. The Mayor will be entitled to attend the following additional professional/personal development activities while in the role as Mayor:  
    • The Municipal Association Victoria (MAV) Mayoral Program or the Victorian Local Governance Association Mayoral Weekend.
  2. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be entitled to attend the following additional professional/personal development activities while in the role as Mayor and Deputy Mayor:  
    • Media Training (organised through the Mayoral and Council Support team with an appropriate training provider)
    • Municipal Association Victoria MAV Mastering Public Speaking and Presentation training.
  3. These training courses and seminars are excluded from the individual professional and personal development allocations provided for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in this Policy (however, may still be reportable expenses under the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework).

7. Additional entitlements for the Mayor and Councillors

7.1 Purchasing card for the Mayor

  1. The Mayor may be provided with a purchasing card with a transaction and monthly limit set at no more than $10,000 for use while discharging the functions of the office.  
  2. Use of a Purchasing Card will be in accordance with the terms of the Purchasing Card Agreement, as well as Council’s Purchasing Card and Procurement Policies.
  3. If the Mayor is provided with a purchasing card monthly reconciliation must be completed using the ProMaster system with the appropriate tax invoices/receipts and quotes/exemption forms attached and sent to the Chief Executive Officer for approval.
  4. Subject to the approval of the Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer, a Councillor may be provided with a purchasing card with a transactional monthly limit of no more than $500 for use while undertaking their duties and functions as a Councillor.
  5. If a Councillor is provided with a purchasing card, monthly reconciliation must be completed using the ProMaster system with the appropriate tax invoices/receipts and quotes/exemption forms attached and sent to the Chief Executive Officer for approval.

7.2 Vehicle for Mayor

  1. The Mayor will be provided with a vehicle that is equivalent to and on the same terms as the vehicle provided to the Chief Executive Officer including a fuel and car cleaning card. Use is subject to the Motor Vehicle (Operational) Policy applies which includes requirements about:
    • currency of the user’s licence
    • care and cleanliness of vehicles;
    • service and maintenance;
    • use of vehicles by other authorised drivers;
    • accidents and vehicle damage; and
    • compliance with traffic laws, fines and infringements.

8. Additional Support for Councillors

8.1 Meals and refreshments 

  1. Council will provide Councillors with suitable meals and refreshments where Council meetings and briefings or other scheduled Council business extends through normal meal times or over an extended period.
  2. Unless the CEO or the Mayor determine that the occasion is an authorised function of Council at which alcohol will be served, no alcohol will be provided with meals and refreshments to Councillors.
  3. If alcohol is served as part of an authorised Council function Councillors, must observe the Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking in the Workplace Operational Framework.

8.2 Administrative support

  1. Administrative support will be made available for Councillors to assist them with calendar management, responding to correspondence and responding to enquiries and requests for service as part of their official duties as a Councillor.
  2. Council business papers, other Council information and personal mail will be provided to Councillors in the manner required by each Councillor, whether by courier to the Councillors’ place of residence or other nominated location, placed in Councillors’ communication boxes for pick up or forwarded by electronic mail weekly or as required.
  3. Where a Councillor requires that Council business papers, other Council information and personal mail be delivered to the Councillors’ residence or other address, the Councillor must advise Mayoral and Council Support of the person authorised by the Councillor to take delivery if the Councillor is not present to accept delivery.

8.3 Office/meeting room 

  1. The Mayor will be provided with an office within the Latrobe City Council Corporate Headquarters.  
  2. Councillors are provided with an office/meeting room (known as the Councillor Lounge) that may be used at any time. The Councillors Lounge includes a computer connected to Latrobe City Council’s computer system and a printer. Wi-fi is also available in the Councillor Lounge. Councillors meeting with external parties are to advise Mayoral and Council Support to ensure that the meeting room is not being used by other Councillors.
  3. Other Council shared meeting space at Corporate Headquarters and at the Traralgon Service Centre, Moe Service Centre and Churchill Hub may be utilised by Councillors on an as needs and availability basis, by booking through the Mayoral and Council support team.

8.4 Building access

  1. Each Councillor will receive a swipe card allowing access to the Latrobe City Council Corporate Headquarters, Traralgon Service Centre, Moe Service Centre and Churchill Hub during the following:
    • Monday – Friday: 7.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m.
    • Saturday- Sunday: 8.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m.
  2. The Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer may grant a Councillor additional hours of access or access to other Council buildings for undertaking their duties and functions as a Councillor.
  3. If a Councillor needs access to Corporate Headquarters and Council’s service centres outside of normal business hours, the Councillor must advise Council’s after hours emergency contact number on arrival and departure.
  4. If the Councillor’s swipe card is lost or stolen the Councillor must report the loss or theft to the Mayoral and Council Support team to put in place appropriate security measures as soon as possible. 
  5. The Mayor will be provided access to the Latrobe City Council Corporate Headquarters, Traralgon Service Centre, Moe Service Centre and Churchill Hub 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

8.5 Councillors with disabilities or illness and Councillors who are a carer in a care relationship

Council will provide reasonable additional facilities and support to enable a Councillor:

  • with a disability (as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwth))or illness; or
  • who is a carer in a care relationship within the meaning of section 4 of the Carers Recognition Act 2012

to perform their functions and duties as a Councillor.

9. Information Technology and Communications Equipment 

9.1 Equipment to be provided

  1. Any or all of the following equipment will be available and accessible to Councillors to assist them in undertaking their duties as Councillors:
    • a portable computer and/or tablet with internet connectivity, appropriate software and accessories;
    • multi-function device(s) (combined printer, scanner and fax machine) for use at their place of residence or other arrangements as approved by the Chief Executive Officer; and
    • a ‘smart’ phone with email access and the capacity to manage calendar e.g. iPhone.
  2. Councillors will be provided an email account managed through Latrobe City Council.  Councillors email address will be part of the domain name: @latrobe.vic.gov.au;
  3. On request, an electronic file containing emails to or from the Councillor and calendar entries of the Councillor (which must be held securely in accordance with an applicable Council policy). 

9.2 IT and associated costs 

  1. Council will meet:
    • the cost of Council provided equipment and associated data usage provided the data usage is fair usage; and
    • the line rental and call costs of a dedicated telephone connection installed at the Councillor’s principal place of residence and used for official Council duties; or
    • the fixed charge and call costs of the mobile phone provided to the Councillor.
  2. Council will provide:
    • an allocation advised by the Councillor as representing a fair estimate of usage for Council purposes but not exceeding 50% of the total cost towards a shared phone line installed at the Councillor’s principal place of residence (in absence of a Council provided mobile phone); and
    • an allocation advised by the Councillor as representing a fair estimate of usage for Council purposes but not exceeding 50% of the total cost towards data available from a shared wi-fi utility at the Councillor’s principal place of residence and used by a Councillor for official Council duties; or
    • a mobile wi-fi device.
  3. The direct costs of any private use of these facilities must be reimbursed to Council.
  4. Improvements in technology will be monitored and taken into consideration to ensure that the equipment provided meets the needs of the Council and is in line with the intent of this Policy. 

9.4 Information technology support and training

  1. Information Services will provide familiarisation training for Councillors in relation to the communication equipment provided to them and in the management of information stored on that equipment, either as part of induction for new Councillors or on a case by case basis (adhoc requests) as required. 
  2. Information Services will update software on any laptops, tablets and mobile devices when required. Councillors will be required to bring the equipment into Headquarters for scheduled maintenance and password updates. 
  3. Information Services support provided to Councillors may only be initiated via the Information Services Department’s IT Service Desk, or via Mayoral and Council Support.  If any such request includes or involves attendance by any Officer (or relevant Information Service’s service provider) to a Councillor’s place of residence or any other building or site (excluding Latrobe City Council Service Centres and Headquarters) due to the relevant device not being or not being able to be brought to the Information Services Department at Headquarters, or because the technical issue or support request cannot be resolved via telephone, then approval for that attendance must be obtained from the Manager Information Services, in advance.

9.5 Information management security 

  1. Councillors are responsible for ensuring that full and accurate records of Council business activities undertaken by them are created, managed and disposed of in a way that is consistent with organisational practice so that Council can meet its legislative obligations. 
  2. On request by any Councillor, every six months that Councillor will be provided with an electronic file containing emails to or from the Councillor and calendar entries of the Councillor for that period (which must be held securely in accordance with an applicable Council policy).
  3. Support and assistance will be provided to Councillors by Information Services and Mayoral and Council Support to ensure that information relating to Council business that is stored on any equipment provided to Councillors is managed to assist compliance with subclause (1). 
  4. Councillors are responsible for the safety and security of the equipment provided to them and ensuring that there is no unauthorised access to any personal or confidential information that may be stored on that equipment.

9.6 Network connection control and security

Communications equipment issued by Latrobe City Council must not be connected to third party computers without the prior approval of the General Manager Organisational Performance.

9.7 Other equipment to be provided 

  1. Councillors may also be provided with standard stationery held or obtained generally for the organisation’s requirements including paper, business cards, writing implements, diaries, ink cartridges, writing pad/books, memory sticks, envelopes and the like. 
  2. Council’s letterhead stationery is only available for official Council business and may only be used by Councillors for official Council business.
  3. Each Councillor will be supplied with an official Latrobe City Council name badge for use while on Council business. 
  4. All equipment remains the property of the Council and must be returned at the end of a Councillor’s term of office or upon retirement, resignation or suspension of the Councillor. 

10. Insurance 

Council will provide Councillors with the following insurance cover when carrying out duties as a Councillor:

  • (a) public liability and professional indemnity;
  • (b) Councillors and officers insurance;
  • (c) travel insurance for personal accident and illness; and
  • (d) WorkCover insurance.

11. Legal costs

  1. Where legal proceedings are brought against a Councillor in connection with an act or omission in his/her role as a Councillor, a Councillor is entitled to have his/her reasonable legal costs reimbursed (to the extent that these are additional to the costs incurred by Council in the same matter).
  2. Where legal proceedings are brought by a Councillor to permit him/her to carry out his/her functions as a Councillor, a Councillor is entitled to have his/her reasonable legal costs reimbursed if successful
  3. Legal costs will not be reimbursed for any defamation action brought by a Councillor.
  4. A Councillor may seek to have his/her reasonable legal costs reimbursed for legal advice provided to the Councillor in the following circumstances:
    • a) The matter relates to an act or omission in his/her role as a Councillor or the functions or duties of the Councillor in his/her role as a Councillor;
    • b) The lawyer must be from a legal firm on the MAV panel or otherwise as approved by the Chief Executive Officer prior to any expense being incurred;
    • c) The Councillor provides a declaration that in relation to the matter for which reimbursement of legal costs is sought that he or she has acted in good faith and not unlawfully or improperly.
  5. In relation to paragraph 11(4) above, the application is made to the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer must refuse reimbursement of legal costs:
    • a) to the extent the costs are unreasonable;
    • b) if the lawyer is not on the MAV panel, for any cost that was incurred prior to approval of the lawyer by the Chief Executive Officer;
    • c) if the Chief Executive Officer considers that paragraph 11(4)does not apply in relation to the matter; or
    • d) if the CEO considers the Councillor has not acted in good faith or lawfully or properly.
  6. In relation to any costs reimbursed under paragraph 11(4) above, the Councillor will repay to Council any costs that had been reimbursed where there is a finding by a court, tribunal or regulatory authority in relation to the matter that the Councillor has not acted in good faith or has acted unlawfully or improperly.

12. Accountability and Responsibility

Accountability and responsibility for this Policy is outlined below.

  1. Council:
    • Comply with the requirements of the Policy;
    • Responsibility to ensure this Policy is consistent with Latrobe City Council Strategic Direction and other Latrobe City Council Policy;
    • Responsibility for the decision to approve this Policy by Council Resolution.
  2. Chief Executive Officer:
    • Overall responsibility for compliance with this Policy;
    • Overall responsibility for enforcing accountability;
    • Overall responsibility for providing resources;
    • Overall responsibility for performance monitoring.
  3. General Manager:
    • Responsibility for compliance with this Policy;
    • Responsibility for enforcing accountability;
    • Responsibility for providing resources;
    • Responsibility for performance monitoring.
  4. Manager:
    • Develop frameworks and procedures in compliance with this Policy;
    • Enforce responsibilities to achieve compliance with frameworks and procedures;
    • Provide appropriate resources for the execution of the frameworks and procedures.
  5. Employees, Contractors and Volunteers
    • Participate where required in the development of frameworks and procedures in compliance with this Policy;
    • Comply with frameworks and procedures developed to achieve compliance with this Policy.

13. Evaluation and Review

This Policy will be reviewed on request of Council, in the event of significant change in the Executive team, significant changes to legislation applicable to the subject matter of the policy or, in any other case, during each Council term (generally four years).

14. Definitions

Act

means the Local Government Act 2020

Council

 

means Latrobe City Council, being a body corporate constituted as a municipal Council under the Act

Council officer

 

means the Chief Executive Officer and staff of Council appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

Councillor(s)

 

means the individuals holding the office of a member of Latrobe City Council

Expenses

means reasonable costs incurred by Councillors and members of delegated committees in performing the duties of those roles

Duties of a Councillor

means duties performed by a Councillor that are necessary or appropriate for purposes of achieving the objectives of Council having regard to any relevant Act, regulation, Ministerial guidelines or Council policies. These include: 

    • • attendance at Council Meetings and Councillor Briefing sessions;
    • • attendance at civic or ceremonial functions convened by the Council or Mayor;
    • • attendance at meetings scheduled by Council, the Mayor, Chief Executive Officer or delegate;
    • • attendance at meetings, or to participate in delegations or deputations to which the Councillor has been appointed as a representative by Council;
    • • attendance at meetings, functions or other official roles attended as a representative of, and under delegation by, the Council or Mayor;
    • • attendance at meetings of community groups, organisations and statutory authorities to which the Councillor has been appointed as the Council delegate or is authorised by Council;
    • • attendance at inspections of a street, property or areas within Latrobe City (or to discuss with any persons) any matter affecting or affected by the Council, and/or to attend to carry out activities in the capacity of a Councillor; 
    • • attendance at planning mediation meetings; and
    • • private meetings with residents, ratepayers, community groups, developers and others arranged through Mayoral and Council Support or where details of these meetings are documented in a Councillor’s diary.

Duties of a Member of a Delegated Committee

means duties performed by a member of a delegated committee that are necessary or appropriate for purposes of achieving the objectives of the Council having regard to any relevant Act, regulation, Ministerial guidelines or Council policies. These include:

    • • attendance at meetings of the delegated committee of which the person is a member;
    • • attendance at any Council meeting or Councillor briefing session required of the person in their capacity as a member of the delegated committee;
    • • attendance at inspections of a property, Council asset project or other inspection in relation to any matter managed by the delegated committee of which the person is a member;
    • • private meetings with residents, ratepayers, community groups and others arranged pursuant to a direction by the delegated committee of which the person is a member in relation to any matter managed by that committee.

Reasonable

Means as much as is appropriate or fair having regard to the profile of the average ratepayer of Latrobe City Council.

15. Related Documents

  • Councillor Code of Conduct 2020
  • Motor Vehicle Operational Policy 2018
  • Procurement Policy 2016
  • Purchasing Card Policy 2017
  • Occupational Health and Safety Operational Policy 2018
  • Working Alone or in Isolation Procedure 2018

16. Reference Resources

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