Local government reform: the journey 

The Local Government Act 1995 is being reformed.

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The most recent amendments represent the most significant changes in the last 25 years, however, the Act was also amended in 2019 and 2021.


Reforms introduced in 2019

Gifts and conflicts of interest

Council members, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other local government employees occasionally receive gifts. As part of the Local Government Act Review it was recognised that a new gift framework should be developed to provide a transparent system of accountability where members of the community can have confidence in the decision-making of their elected representatives. 

The recent changes to gifts outlined below has not changed the current code of conduct gift provisions relating to employees (regulation 34B of the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996). These provisions will be reviewed when section 5.51A (Code of conduct for employees) of the Local Government Legislation Amendment Act 2019 is proclaimed in 2020.


What changes have been made?

  • The former gift exemption categories no longer apply, and council members and CEOs must declare any gift received in their capacity as a council member or CEO valued at $300 or above (or where the cumulative value of gifts from the one donor exceeds $300 in a 12-month period). See sections 5.87A and 5.87B.
  • If a council member receives any gift (or a series of gifts in a 12-month period) valued at $300 or above and the donor has a matter before council, the council member must disclose an interest and remove themselves from the meeting (unless approval is granted by the council or the Minister, depending on the value of the gift). The donor becomes a closely associated person in accordance with section 5.62.
  • Similarly, gifts received by the CEO will exclude them from involvement in a matter requiring a local government decision (unless approval is granted by the council or the Minister, depending on the value of the gift).
  • Gifts that will not create an interest are those involving attendance at events as approved by council in accordance with the Attendance at events policy and those from specified entities. These must still be disclosed.
  • Local governments are required to develop and publish a policy covering council member and CEO attendance at events, which also addresses who will pay for the tickets. 
  • The former definition of a gift has been deleted, and a new definition of gift in the Act now includes contributions to travel.
  • CEOs are responsible for publishing and maintaining a gift register on the local government’s official website which now needs to be updated within ten days of a disclosure being made. 

Why have these changes been made?

  • It is important that council members and CEOs make decisions – and are seen to be making decisions – free from influence.
  • The changes increase transparency while recognising that gifts received in their personal lives, such as wedding presents, are not matters of public interest.
  • The amendments also recognise that there is a valid role for council members in attending events, but makes this a decision of council in accordance with a published policy. 

What are the obligations on council members and CEOs when receiving a gift?

  • Disclose all gifts valued over $300 received in their capacity as council member or CEO. This threshold includes cumulative gifts over a 12-month period from the one donor that add up to the value of $300 or above.
  • Disclose these gifts within 10 days of receipt.
  • A failure to comply with requirements is an offence. 

What is a gift received in their capacity as a council member?

  • The question is, would the gift have been given if the person was not a member of the council (or CEO)? If the answer is no, then it must be disclosed if the value of the gift (or the cumulative value of gifts from the same donor) is over $300.
  • Attendance at an event, whether as a representative of the local government or otherwise as a councillor or CEO, where the council member or CEO has not paid for the ticket or hospitality, is a gift and must be disclosed.
  • Gifts that generally wouldn’t have to be disclosed would include:
    • wedding gifts,
    • birthday gifts,
    • gifts received through a will,
    • gifts (or travel) received through their ordinary course of outside employment, or
    • the temporary loan of personal property belonging to a relative, acquaintance, neighbour etc.
  • Care should still be taken when receiving a gift through the pathways listed above as an assessment on the nature of the relationship between the recipient and the donor must still be made.  A conflict of interest still arises if that person requires a council decision.

How can a council member or CEO decide if the gift was received in that capacity?

  • Each member will need to make their own assessment.
  • The test is — if I was not a council member/CEO would this person have given me a gift (or a gift of that value)?
  • If the answer is no, it must be disclosed.
  • If in doubt, disclose.

How do you determine the value of a gift?

  • The value of a gift is its market value at the time it is given.
  • It will be up to the council member or CEO to establish the cost of the gift.
  • If challenged, the onus is on the recipient to prove the value.

If I am away how can I make a disclosure in writing within 10 days?

  • It is sufficient to email the CEO (or mayor or president if a CEO).
  • The following details must be provided:
    • a description of the gift,
    • the name and address of the donor,
    • the date of receipt,
    • the estimated value of the gift,
    • the nature of the relationship between the donor and yourself, and
    • if the gift relates the travel, a description of the travel and the date of the travel.

How soon after a disclosure is made will it be available on the local government’s website?

  • The CEO must update the register within 10 days of a disclosure being made.
  • The version on the local government’s website must be up-to-date.

What new information is required in the gift register?

  • Where the gift is in accordance with the Attendance at Events policy and that attendance has been approved by council, the entry must also include:
    • the date of council approval, and 
    • the reasons for the decision.
  • Approval cannot be given for tickets that are provided directly to the council member (or CEO). 

Why are the publication of address details being changed?

  • The full address of the donor still needs to be disclosed, but to balance privacy with transparency, only the town or suburb of the donor’s address will be published online.

How do election gifts work with the new framework?

  • Amendments have not been made to election gifts.
  • Election gifts are being reviewed in Phase 2.

Conflicts of interest 

What is an interest relating to a gift?

  • It is a type of interest which recognises that a relationship is created between the donor and a recipient of a gift which could be perceived to affect decision-making.

What is the purpose of the interest provisions?

  • These ensure that decision-making is free from influence and so decisions can be made in the best interests of the community.

What types of gifts could create an interest?

  • Any gift (or a series of gifts in a 12 month period) valued at over $300 creates an interest as the donor becomes a closely associated person (section 5.62).
  • An interest can be created from gifts that do not have to be disclosed in accordance with sections 5.87A and 5.87B such as those received from friends, relatives or an employer.
  • For a council member, the interest is created from any gifts since they were last elected (although election gifts also creates an interest).
  • For a CEO, the interest is created from any gifts received since the CEO was last employed or appointed to act.

Are any gifts excluded from creating an interest?

  • Yes, section 5.62(1B) provides that the following gifts are considered not to have created an interest:
    • Attendance at events which have been approved by the council in accordance with the Attendance at Events policy
    • Gifts from the following entities:
      • WALGA (note: this does not include LGIS)
      • ALGA
      • Local Government Professionals WA
      • A Commonwealth, State or Territory government department
      • Another local government or regional local government.
  • Note: these still have to be disclosed and entered on the gifts register if received in the capacity of council member or CEO.

When does this interest become important?

  • When the donor has a matter before council.

What does this mean for the council member or CEO?

  • A council member must not participate in any part of a council or committee meeting relating to that matter without approval.
  • A CEO must not provide advice or a report in relation to the matter, either directly or indirectly, unless otherwise approved.
  • If advice or a report is being provided by another employee, the CEO must disclose the nature of the interest they have in the matter.

What do I do if a matter comes before council affecting the donor?

  • A council member must disclose this interest in writing to the CEO before the meeting or immediately before the matter is discussed.  (If disclosure is made to the CEO, the CEO must bring this to the attention of the presiding member before the meeting and the presiding member must bring this to the attention of the attendees immediately before the matter is discussed). 
  • A CEO who has an interest must disclose the nature of the interest in a written notice given to council.

When can approval be given to participate or provide advice or a report?

  • If the interest is from a gift valued at up to $1000 and full disclosure has been made, the council, by absolute majority, can approve participation (section 5.68) but only in the following circumstances:
    • those members decide that the interest is so trivial or insignificant as to be unlikely to influence the disclosing member or CEO’s conduct in relation to the matter; or 
    • the interest is common to a significant number of electors or ratepayers in the case of disclosure by a council member.
  • The council can decide to allow the CEO to provide advice or a report if they decide that the nature of the interest is unlikely to influence the CEO (section 5.71B).
  • The decisions and the council’s reasons for making that decision must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. 

Why is the council deciding on whether another council member can participate in consideration of a matter in which they have an interest?

  • Council is in the best position to judge whether the receipt of the gift is likely to affect the person’s decision-making.
  • If the council agrees, the council member will be able to be present during and participate in the discussions and decision-making in relation to that matter.
  • Council will need to record the reason for making that decision in the minutes so there is accountability.
  • A cap is being placed on this so that for gifts over $1000, an application will need to be made to the Minister for approval to participate.

Can a committee make the decision or does the member have to go to the full council for permission to participate?

  • The council can give power to a committee to decide if they feel it is appropriate.

What if the gift is over $1000?

  • Only the Minister can make a decision to allow participation or the provision of advice or a report (section 5.69) in these circumstances.
  • The Minister can only decide to allow a council member to participate if:
    • A quorum is needed or
    • the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the interests of the electors or ratepayers to do so.
  • The Minister can decide to allow the CEO to provide advice or a report if the Minister is of the opinion that the interest is unlikely to influence the CEO in the provision of the advice or report (section 5.71B).
  • The Minister’s decision and the reasons for it must be recorded in the council’s minutes when the matter is considered by council.

Will the CEO have to make an application to council for approval to be involved in matters affecting the donor of a gift from whom the CEO has received a gift?

  • Yes. A CEO must, when proposing to provide any advice or report to the council or a committee, disclose the nature of any interest (section 5.70). 
  • This must be in writing and be provided to the council.
  • The advice or report could be one that will be provided directly by the CEO or indirectly through another employee.
  • A CEO who has an interest relating to a gift and authorises another employee to provide advice or a report must disclose the nature of their interest when the advice or report is provided by that other employee (section 5.71A).

Who is responsible for liaising with the Minister to get approval for the CEO to be involved in a matter where the CEO has received a gift over $1000?

  • It is the council’s responsibility.
  • It would be practical for the Mayor or President to be authorised by Council to do this.

Attendance at events policy

What is the purpose of an Attendance at Events Policy (section 5.90A)?

  • For council to actively consider the purpose of and benefits to the community from council members attending events.
  • To provide a framework for the acceptance of invitations to such events.
  • To clarify who pays for tickets to events.
  • To provide transparency to the community on the acceptance of tickets to events.

What should a council consider in developing and endorsing an Attendance at Events Policy?

  • What benefit will there be to the community or local government in having council member(s) or the CEO (or staff) attend?
  • What role will the person attending the event be taking: for example, speaker, giver of awards, member of the audience?
  • How many people should appropriately be authorised to attend?
  • Is the event to be held within the district?
  • Who is bearing the costs of attending and is this appropriate? 
  • Should the person attending contribute to the costs?
  • Who provides the tickets: the organiser of the event or a third party.

What matters should be contained in the Attendance at Events Policy?

  • The criteria that the council will use in deciding whether attendance is appropriate.
  • How many people should be approved to attend as representatives of the council.
  • How tickets to events will be distributed.
  • How much a councillor or CEO will have to contribute to the costs of attending.

Does the policy cover all events that a council member attends?

  • No, a council member may attend an event outside the policy, or without the council’s authorisation.
  • If they do so, they must not use a ticket that has been given to the council or that has been funded by another person.
  • Unless attendance has been paid for in full by the council member, they must disclose the value of the tickets or hospitality to the CEO within ten days of receipt.
  • The council member will also have an interest in any matter involving the donor that comes before council.
  • The policy should cover all events that the council member attends as representative of the council.

Does the policy have to detail actual events and who will attend?

  • No, but if council members traditionally attend certain events, these could be detailed in the policy so that further approval is not needed.
  • The policy must clearly outline on what basis the decision to approve attendance at any other events will be made. 

As a council member can I attend an event if I believe it is in accordance with the policy?

  • You must have council approval to attend – this will either be explicitly stated in the council approved policy or a council decision will be required.

What if tickets or an invitation is given directly to a council member?

  • These will not be covered by the policy.
  • The recipient must disclose receipt of the tickets (and any other associated hospitality) within 10 days.
  • The recipient will also have an interest in any matter involving the donor of the tickets that comes before council.
  • If the tickets or invitation are offered directly to a council member, the council member can refuse the gift and advise the donor that they could offer these to the council.

Universal training

Why has universal training been introduced?

  • Council members have a unique and challenging role.
  • They oversee multi-million dollar budgets and make difficult decisions that impact the well-being of communities.
  • Unlike board members they are not selected for the role based on their knowledge and experience, but on their leadership and willingness to contribute to the community.
  • Once elected, they are required to make decisions on matters as diverse as planning applications, budgeting, rates, support for community organisations, long term planning for the district and the recruitment of and employment relationship with the CEO.
  • They are also expected to understand and comply with meeting procedures, conflicts of interest and codes of conduct.
  • This reform is key to providing council members with the skills and knowledge to perform their role as leaders in their district.

What is included in the elected member training?

There are five foundational units that make up the course Council Member Essentials:

  • Understanding local government
  • Serving on council
  • Meeting procedures
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Understanding of financial reports and budgets.

How long will it take a council member to complete the training?

  • The training is expected to take approximately 5 days over the course of a year.

Who will deliver the training?

The training providers are:

All providers will offer all five modules in face-to-face and online mode. More information can be obtained from the providers.

What will the elected member training cost?

  • Training providers should be contacted for the proposed schedule of fees.

Who has to do the training?

  • Every council member is to undertake the training within 12 months of being elected commencing from the October 2019 local government elections, unless an exemption applies.
  • The training is valid for five years so a council member will only be required to undertake the training at every second election.

What exemptions apply?

  • Council members will not have to undertake the course Council Member Essentials if, in the previous five years, they have passed
    •  the Council Member Essentials course, or
    • 52756WA — Diploma of Local Government (Elected member).
  • In addition, current council members who have passed the course titled LGASS00002 Elected Member Skill Set within the last 5 years prior to being elected and before 1 July 2019 will be exempt.  This is more than just attending - it involves completing the course and passing assessments on each module

Can anyone do the training?

  • Yes. There is no restriction on who can complete the training.
  • The unit on understanding financial statements and budgets may be of interest to ratepayers’ association members, for example.
  • A candidate may wish to complete the meeting procedures unit before being elected.

Will there be RPL for the training?

  • No, but certain exemptions will be available (refer to earlier question).

If a council member is an accountant, will they have to do the unit on ‘understanding financial reports and budgets’?

  • Yes, they still need to understand local government specific requirements.
  • They will, however, be able to do the online module which will enable them to complete it at their own pace and focus on the new material.

If I’m an existing council member why do I have to do the training?

  • Legislation and best practice changes over time.
  • Repeating the training allows for both a refresh of the principles as well as updates on aspects that have changed.
  • By having self-paced training options available, continuing council members will be able to quickly refresh their understanding and focus on the changes.

How will community members know if their councillor has completed the training?

  • Local governments will be required to report annually on who has completed training and publish this on the local government’s website. The report will list each council member and the training each has completed in that financial year.  This will include both the Council Members Essentials course where applicable and continuing professional development in line with the local government’s policy.
  • Most council members value increasing their skills and knowledge in relation to this important role they undertake.
  • It is believed that community and peer pressure will ensure that all councillors will complete the training.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

What is this new CPD requirement?
  • Each council is now required to prepare and adopt a policy covering the continuing professional development of its council members.
  • The policy is to be published on the local government’s website.
What should be considered by the council when developing the policy?
  • The content of the policy will be determined by the council.
  • It should include developmental opportunities for each councillor and a statement of the extent of payment by the local government.
  • In deciding the content of the policy, council should consider:
    • the strategic direction of the local government,
    • skills gaps among the council as a whole, and
    • the needs of individual councillors.
How often should the policy be reviewed?
  • The policy must be reviewed after each ordinary election to take into account the needs and skill sets of the new councillors and can be reviewed more frequently.
Are there any restrictions on who can deliver continuing professional development to councillors?
  • No, each council will decide what type of training is appropriate for their councillors.


Induction course for prospective candidates


The induction is a free online course which is mandatory for individuals who are considering running for election as a local council member.

The aim of the induction is to assist individuals to understand both the role they will be taking on if they are elected; and the laws that govern the way they must conduct their election campaign.

The induction provides a brief overview of:

  • Local government
  • The role of council and council members
  • Election and campaigning rules, including gifts and social media.

The course takes approximately one hour to complete.


The Local Government Act 1995 requires that an individual must meet certain requirements to be a candidate in a local government election in WA . This includes the completion of the induction course.

Individuals who are intending to nominate as a candidate in a local government election must complete the induction prior to nominating.

This includes individuals who have previously been elected as a council member.

Current or former council members required to complete induction

The induction course is mandatory for current or former council members who intend to nominate for election and have not previously completed the induction.

The induction will serve as a refresher and provide new or updated information regarding the obligations of council members. Rules and expectations change, and there have been a number of legislative reforms in relation to local government in recent years. In addition, it may be a useful reminder about the laws governing a local election campaign.

Online delivery

The induction course is available online through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website.

This allows individuals to complete the induction no matter where they are located at a time that suits their work and personal commitments.

Course content

The induction course is designed to help individuals understand the role and responsibilities of council members when considering whether to nominate for election.

There are quizzes included in the course to help individuals check their understanding of the information, but there is no test that individuals must pass to complete the induction.

Internet access

If you do not have access to the internet, you can visit your local library or local government offices to get access to the induction.

Local governments are encouraged to make computer facilities available to support a diverse range of prospective candidates in their local community.


The online induction module is free.

Accessibility and inclusion

The induction has been designed to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level AA as per the Accessibility and Inclusivity Standard.

If you need any assistance in accessing the induction, please contact the Department at LGTraining@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Record of completion

At the end of the induction, individuals must ensure that they fill in the short e-form and click the ‘Register’ button so that their completion of the induction is registered with the Department. The individual should then receive a system-generated confirmation email which should be retained as a record of the induction.

Please note that email security systems may result in the confirmation email being filtered to a ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder, and it may be necessary to check that folder. If you are concerned that you did not receive the confirmation email, please contact the Department at LGTraining@dlgsc.wa.gov.au.


Individuals nominating for a local election are required to declare that they have undertaken the induction as part of completing their nomination form. The Department strongly recommends that individuals show a digital or print copy of their confirmation email when they submit their nomination to the Returning Officer.

It is an offence to make false or misleading statements on the nomination form and penalties may apply. This includes a fine up to $5000 or one-year imprisonment.

The Department can check registration data to verify whether an individual has completed the induction. The Department will audit induction records as required.

Local information sessions for prospective candidates

The Department encourages local governments to continue to offer information sessions for prospective candidates, if feasible to do so. These sessions can supplement the induction and provide specific information relevant to the local government area.

 Further information available

If you have any queries, please contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries at LGTraining@dlgsc.wa.gov.au.


      Availability of information

      Additional information on your council will now be available on your council’s website.

      Why have these changes been made?

      • Through embracing contemporary ways to communicate, local governments will be able to better meet community expectations for accountability and transparency.
      • These changes ensure information is more easily accessible for community members who cannot visit their local government office during working hours, including in remote locations.

      Documents held by the local government that need to be published on the local government’s website:

      • Proposed and current local laws (consolidated copy);
      • Business plan for a major land transition or major trading undertaking;
      • Candidate profiles;
      • Policy for the temporary employment or appointment of CEO;
      • Policy for payments to employees in addition to their contract or an award;
      • Code of conduct for employees;
      • Gifts register;
      • Register of complaints of minor breach compiled under section 5.121;
      • Map of the district (which includes ward boundaries);
      • Annual budget;
      • List of fees and charges under section 6.16;
      • Current plans for the future of the district made under section 5.56;
      • Confirmed council and committee meeting minutes;
      • Minutes of electors’ meetings;
      • Notice papers and agendas relating to council and committee meetings that have been tabled or produced by the local government and presented at a council or committee meeting;
      • Code of conduct for council and committee members;
      • Adverse findings of the Local Government Standards Panel or the State Administrative Tribunal; and
      • Objects and reasons for the imposition of differential rates.

      Information not to be published online:

      • Rate records;
      • Register of owner occupiers; and
      • Electoral rolls.

      Documents currently held by the local government which will need to be published on the local government’s website after regulations are finalised:

      • Unconfirmed council and committee meeting minutes;
      • Up-to-date schedule of meetings upcoming Council and committee meetings;
      • Adverse findings against current council member, employee or the local government by the following bodies:
        1. Local Government Standards Panel;
        2. Public Sector Commission;
        3. Corruption and Crime Commission; and
        4. State Administrative Tribunal.
      • All approved policy documents that govern an assessment of an application;
      • Any adopted Regional price preference policy.

      Additional documents required to be available for inspection at the local government office after regulations are finalised:

      • Map of the district (which includes ward boundaries);
      • Adverse findings against current council member, employee or the local government by the following bodies:
        1. Local Government Standards Panel;
        2. Public Sector Commission;
        3. Corruption and Crime Commission; and
        4. State Administrative Tribunal.
      • All approved policy documents that govern an assessment of an application;
      • Council member’s attendance at council and committee meetings for which a sitting fee is paid (as published in most recent annual report — the requirement to publish this information in the annual report will be introduced when these regulations are gazetted); and
      • The total rewards package paid to the CEO (as published in most recent annual report — the requirement to publish this information in the annual report will be introduced when these regulations are gazetted).

      Once prepared by the local government, the following documents will also need to be published on the local government’s website:

      • Report on training completed by councillors of the local government;
      • Attendance at events policy; and
      • Continuing Professional Development policy (for council members).

      There are a number of references to an up-to-date version of a document to be available on the local government’s official website. What does the term ‘up-to-date’ mean?

      • This means that the CEO must post the document required to be online as soon as possible after the document has been updated.
      • It is expected that this will occur within 10 days.

      How long will information be required to be on the local government’s website?

      • This will depend on the type of information.
      • Current information, such as the map of the district boundaries and fees and charges, will be required to remain on the website while they are current.
      • For information such as annual reports and minutes of meetings it will be five years.

      Standards panel

      What changes have been made?

      • Key changes to the Local Government Standards Panel processes include:
        • Introducing the ability for the Panel to request mediation between parties;
        • Introducing powers to order the council member to reimburse the local government the cost of the panel proceedings for adverse findings, rather than these being borne by ratepayers;
        • A reduction in the period to lodge a complaint from two years to six months; and
        • Expansion of the confidentiality of complaints.
      • Improvements to local government reporting requirements include:
        • Publishing of council member censures on the local government’s official website; and
        • Publishing an up-to-date register of complaints on the local government’s official website outlining all complaints where the Standards Panel has found a minor breach.

      Why has the time limit for lodging a minor breach complaint been reduced?

      • This is to provide greater natural justice to the person alleged to be in breach of a Rule of Conduct.
      • The Rules of Conduct deal with council member behaviour.
      • Complaints are considered by the Standards Panel on the basis of the documents and claims put before it. The council member accused is requested to provide a response to the allegation.
      • This can be very difficult if the alleged conduct occurred some time ago, particularly if this is the first time it has been brought to their attention.
      • If the conduct of a person is inappropriate, then a complaint should be made quickly so the behaviour can be addressed.
      • 92% of complaints between 2007 and 2015 were lodged within six months. 

      Why has confidentiality been extended outside the election period?

      • The fact that a complaint has been lodged is being used by some complainants to make public statements which imply guilt and tarnishes the reputation of the council member.
      • This can encourage poorly evidenced complaints with little or no chance of success because the complainant’s goal is achieved through the adverse media exposure.
      • 22% of the complaints lodged in 2017/18 were found by the Standards Panel to be frivolous, trivial, vexatious, misconceived or without substance.
      • A person has a right to have an allegation dealt through due process.

      To whom do the confidentiality provisions apply?

      • The person who makes a complaint;
      • The person against whom a complaint is made;
      • Anyone who performs a function under the Local Government Act in respect of a complaint; and
      • Anyone who becomes aware of any detail of a complaint knowing it to be relevant to the complaint.

      What types of complaints are required to be kept confidential?

      • Allegations of
        • Minor breaches
        • Serious breaches and
        • Recurrent breaches.

      What happens if someone does breach confidentiality?

      • It is an offence to breach confidentiality and a $5000 fine applies.

      Doesn’t this go against the principle of greater transparency?

      • It was considered that the principle of natural justice should take precedence until a breach is found to have occurred.
      • There will be increased transparency of council members found to be breaching the Rules of Conduct as these breaches will be included in a register and published on the local government’s website.
      • The reasons for findings of breach are published on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website.

      What other changes are being made?

      • A new Code of Conduct, incorporating the Rules of Conduct, is being developed.
      • The new Code of Conduct will apply to candidates of local government elections.



      When do these changes come into effect?

      • Universal training (candidate induction, elected member training and continued professional development), the Standards Panel processes and the publication of material on the local government’s website came into effect in July 2019.
      • The new gifts framework took effect in October 2019.
      • Regulations for:
        • New local and state-wide public notice
        • Additional transparency improvements
        • The appointment of authorised officers
        • Other minor administrative matters.
        are expected to be gazetted within the coming months and will come into effect then.
      • Further consultation has taken place on
        • Model standards for CEO recruitment, termination and performance management, and
        • Model codes of conduct.
        This feedback is being currently being considered, with the standards to come into effect in 2020.

      Reforms introduced in February 2021

      The following regulations took effect on 3 February 2021, implementing the remaining parts of the Amendment Act.

      The department acknowledges that there will be an implementation phase of up to three months where local governments must undertake a series of actions to operationalise these regulatory amendments.

      Local governments are required to take specific initial actions within three weeks of the regulations taking effect (by 24 February 2021).

      It is further expected that local governments adopt the new regulations and any other procedures and processes required for implementation within three months from the regulations taking effect (by 3 May 2021).

      CEO Standards Regulations

      The Local Government (Administration) Amendment Regulations 2021 (CEO Standards Regulations) bring into effect section 22 of the Amendment Act by introducing mandatory minimum standards that cover the recruitment, selection, performance review and early termination of local government Chief Executive Officers.

      The Model CEO Standards provide a framework for local governments to select a CEO in accordance with the principles of merit, probity, equity and transparency.

      Key features of these regulations include the requirement:

      • to establish a selection panel comprised of council members and at least one independent person to conduct the recruitment and selection process for the position of CEO;
      • to establish a performance review process by agreement between the local government and the CEO; and
      • to conduct a recruitment and selection process where an incumbent CEO has held the position for a period of ten or more consecutive years on expiry of the CEO’s contract.

      In addition, requirements for advertising vacant CEO positions have been updated to align with amendments to state-wide public notice provisions.

      Local governments will be required to prepare and adopt the Model Standards within three months of these regulations coming into effect (by 3 May 2021). Until such time as a local government adopts the Model Standards, the regulations apply.

      Local governments that have a CEO recruitment process currently underway, or are about to commence a CEO recruitment process, are encouraged to contact the department to discuss compliance with the new Standards.

      Model Code Regulations

      The Local Government (Model Code of Conduct) Regulations 2021 (Model Code Regulations) bring into effect sections 48-51 of the Amendment Act by introducing a mandatory code of conduct for council members, committee members and candidates.

      The Model Code Regulations provide for:

      • overarching principles to guide behaviour
      • behaviours which are managed by local governments
      • rules of conduct breaches which are considered by the Standards Panel.

      The purpose of the Model Code is to guide decisions, actions and behaviours. It also recognises that there is a need for a separate code for council members, committee members and candidates to clearly reflect community expectations of behaviour and ensure consistency between local governments.

      Each local government was previously required to develop their own code of conduct and manage behaviour in accordance with that code. These regulations replace these individual codes by introducing a Model Code that applies to all members and candidates. It also provides for a high-level process to deal with complaints to ensure a more consistent approach between local governments and across the sector. The intent of the Model Code is to address behaviour through education rather than sanctions.

      If a council member does not comply with any action required by the local government following a breach of the Model Code, the local government may refer the matter to the Standards Panel as an alleged contravention of a rule of conduct. The Standards Panel has the authority to make binding decisions to resolve minor breaches.

      Local governments will be required to prepare and adopt the Model Code within three months of these regulations coming into effect (by 3 May 2021). In adopting the Model Code, local governments can include additional behaviours under Division 3 provided these are consistent with the Model Code.

      Until such time as a local government adopts the Code, the Model Code applies. To begin implementation of the Model Code, as soon as practical (by 24 February 2021), local governments must:

      • appoint a person to receive complaints by either affirming the current complaint officers or appoint a new or additional officer(s), and
      • approve a form for complaints to be lodged (a template is available for download below).

      If action is not taken to affirm or appoint a complaints officer (by 24 February 2021) under the provisions of the regulations, a complaint made on or soon after the date of effect (3 February 2021) may lapse before it can be formally lodged. This would be considered inconsistent with the principles of procedural fairness and community expectations of local government.

      A copy of the regulations (PDF 606 KB) and explanatory notes should also be provided to all council members, committee members and candidates in any upcoming elections.

      Employee Code

      The Local Government Regulations Amendment (Employee Code of Conduct) Regulations 2021 (Employee Code Regulations) bring into effect section 25 of the Amendment Act by prescribing the minimum requirements for an employee code of conduct.

      A local government CEO is to prepare and implement a code of conduct to be observed by employees of the local government. The CEO may amend the code of conduct and is required to publish an up-to-date version of the code on the local government’s website.

      The Employee Code Regulations prescribe the minimum requirements in relation to gifts, conflicts of interest and disclosure. In addition, the regulations provide that an employee code of conduct must contain requirements pertaining to:

      • behaviour
      • disclosure of information
      • the use of information and resources
      • records keeping and dealing with misconduct.

      These requirements are based on the Public Sector Commission’s (PSC) key integrity risks for public sector employees. Local governments must prepare and adopt a code of conduct in accordance with these regulations as soon as practicable. The PSC’s ‘ Developing a code of conduct: local government’, may provide assistance.

      Employee Code of Conduct Regulations 2021 (PDF  620 KB)

      For further information, please contact the department.
      Page reviewed 29 April 2024