Yarra City Council's statement on its Councillor Code of Conduct review
Thursday 03 March 2022
Yarra City Council will discuss a report outlining suggested changes to the Councillor Code of Conduct at its meeting on March 8.
The Local Government Act 2020 requires councils to develop and maintain a Councillor Code of Conduct.
A review of Council’s Code of Conduct began last year.
The draft Code has been developed by Councillors over many months with guidance from senior staff and Yarra’s Municipal Monitor.
All Councillors have had an opportunity to participate in its development and the Code can only be adopted by a resolution of Council.
Councillors will determine whether the Code of Conduct is endorsed or not at the Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 8.
This is not a decision for staff. The role of staff is to provide a version of the Code of Conduct for Council consideration, that has been informed by Councillors, that is aligned to the Local Government Act 2020, and other relevant legislative responsibilities.
Reviews of the Code of Conduct are a common occurrence across the local government sector.
The Code focuses on the treatment of others, performing the role of a Councillor, compliance with good governance measures and that a Councillor must not undermine or mislead Council or the public. Importantly these standards do not seek to limit robust political debate.
The Code is a commitment amongst the Councillors to upholding the highest standards of governance, demonstrating integrity and effective leadership in the best interests of Yarra City Council and its community.
Councillors are free to speak to the media and communicate via social media at any time on any issue, as long as they make it clear they are speaking on their behalf (not on behalf of Council), and do not undermine or misrepresent Council, or the facts as outlined in the Code of Conduct.
The Mayor is elected by the Councillors to lead the Council and is the official spokesperson on Council issues. This is consistent in councils throughout Australia and most large organisations take a similar approach.
Contained within the draft Code are updated and new references to Councillor conduct in relation to media relations and social media conduct. Given the increased use of social media as a tool for communicating and engagement, it is important to provide guidance on its use. The new draft Councillor Social Media Policy supports and encourages appropriate use of social media for engaging and communicating with the community and sets out the standards expected. It is designed to encourage fair, open and inclusive debate on important issues relevant to the community we represent when using social media, and is consistent with our expectations for all Councillor communications.
Updated: Friday 4 March.