Item 13.3 - Attachment 1

Draft Policy For Interaction Between Councillors and Staff



























Policy for Interaction Between Councillors and Staff



Adopted by Council 26th September 2005

(Minute 8099)

Policy Number 222





















Item 13.3 - Attachment 1

Draft Policy For Interaction Between Councillors and Staff



























Service Complaint and Requests for Service or Information



During meetings of Council



Outside of Council Meetings
























































The Local Government Act 1993 provides for distinctly different roles for councillors and staff to play in Council.  Not withstanding these legislative outlines of roles, the distinction between the two may be unclear. There often needs to be personal interaction between councillors and senior officers, particularly regarding access to and provision of information, to effectively integrate policymaking and service delivery. This has created a need for guidelines that help councillors and staff to understand fully their respective roles and how they should operate, in order to perform their job effectively.


Formalising policy to specify how these rights should be exercised should be done without trying to restrict a councillor’s legal right to access staff and information. This policy is not intended to limit any statutory and common law rights councillors have to access information. However, councillors should seek to avoid any perceptions of wrongdoing when exercising their rights as an elected person, particularly the appearance of trying to improperly influence staff. Equally, staff should be mindful of councillors’ rights to exercise their role as elected representatives of our community.


This policy supports and is to be read in conjunction with Council’s adopted Code of Conduct.





Councillors and staff of Parramatta City Council will work together to create a positive, professional and respectful working relationship that acknowledges their differing, but complementary roles in the provision of services to the community and to the governance of Parramatta City Council.


The overall aim of the policy is to promote a collaborative working relationship between Councillors as key customers and elected representatives of the community, and the staff employed to administer the operations of Council. The policy supports Council’s Guiding Principles.


Specific aims of the policy are:

§ To create and foster an understanding between councillors and staff of the importance but differing roles of each.

§ To provide guidance in dealing with the degree of ambiguity regarding where the role boundaries overlap.

§ To provide guidance on the most effective processes for Councillors to obtain information in accordance with legislative and policy directives.

§ To provide guidance for appropriate interaction between Councillors and staff.





§ All Councillors

§ All Staff

§ All delegates/people representing or acting on behalf of Council.





This policy supports open social interaction between Councillors and staff. This policy does not preclude Councillors and staff having non-business face-to-face conversations at any venue. Conversations that relate to the business of Council are bound by this policy.


4.1 Service Complaints and Requests for Service or Information


Councillors raising complaints about a Council service, or requesting a particular service or information should make an initial request through the Councillor Support officers, or by entering a request into Council’s CRM system.  Providing requests through the Councillor Support Officers or CRM enable the most effective accountability, tracking and response to Councillor and constituent matters.



4.2 During Meetings of Council


4.1.1 The interaction between councillors and staff at Council meetings and committee meetings is regulated by:


· Section 360 of the Local Government Act 1993;

· Clause  249 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005;

· Council’s Code of Conduct; and

· Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.


4.1.2 Section 360 of the Local Government Act 1993 enables the council to make regulations in regard to the conduct of meetings, adopt codes of meeting practice and states that meetings must be conducted in accordance with the code of meeting practice.


4.1.3 Clause 249 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 details how, in council meetings, councillors can ask questions of other councillors by going through the chairperson. The regulation also details the process councillors must follow if they wish to ask a question of council staff, by going through the Chief Executive Officer.



4.3      Outside of Council Meetings


4.3.1 Councillors requiring clarification of information provided through Council Support Officers or CRM system may need to contact or meet with relevant staff. Such meetings or contact should be with the relevant Senior Manager or their delegate. A Quick Contact List of Senior Managers is provided at Attachment 1.


4.3.2 Advice and information relating to development application matters should only be sought though the Council Support Officers, or from the Group Manager, Manager Development Services or Manager Development Assessments Section.


4.3.3 Meetings between Councillors and staff should, where possible, be arranged by prior appointment as a matter of courtesy.


4.3.4 Meetings between Councillors, staff and proponents, applicants and /or objectors in relation to development matters are to be arranged with the relevant Group manager two days before the intended meeting. Council staff will minute such meetings.


4.3.5 In order to protect public confidence in the impartial exercise of Council’s decision-making functions, Councillors should avoid informal private meetings between applicants, objectors and staff relating to specific Development Pre-lodgement and Application matters. Official meetings scheduled by Council provide a more accountable and transparent process for consideration of these matters.


4.3.6 Councillors who attend meetings with staff and applicants in an advocacy capacity should declare such advocacy prior to Council consideration of the matter.


4.3.7 Requests from Councillors for changes to works priorities must be considered by Council with the exception of urgent works resulting from public safety demands. Where complex and time-consuming requests for information or service compete with, or are likely to impact on the economic and efficient delivery of existing agreed priorities, the matter will be referred to Council.


4.3.8 Notwithstanding assistance provided to Councillors by Councillor Support and Lord Mayoral Support staff, Councillors must not attempt to direct staff in the performance of their work. Staff must report all such attempts immediately to their service manager, unit manager, or Group Manager.


4.3.9 Councillors must not request staff to undertake work that is unrelated to Council’s charter.





5.1 Councillors have the same rights of access to Council buildings and premises as any other member of the public except when they are in pursuit of their civic duties.


5.2  Councillors are able to access most general staff-only areas (excluding Planning or Development areas) subject to normal business courtesies. In order to avoid delays and improve service, Councillors should contact staff to arrange an appointment prior to meetings in staff areas.


5.3  Councillors must ensure that when they are within a staff-only area they are cognisant of potential conflict or pecuniary interest matters and/or a perception that they may bring influence to bear on council staff decisions. Councillors should conduct themselves accordingly.


5.4  Staff are to afford similar business courtesies in accessing the Lord Mayor’s Office and Councillor’s rooms. Access to these rooms should be by invitation of the relevant Councillor.






6.1 Councillors requiring access to Council information or records should, in the first instance, make a request through Council’s Support Officers, or by creating a Service Request directly into Council’s CRM system.


6.2 Access to a Council file, record or other document is to be provided according to this policy to ensure that access is obtained in ways that are legal and appropriate.


6.3 Information that is made available to a Councillor is not to be withheld from other Councillors, and may be made available to other Councillors.


6.4 Councillors can request the Chief Executive Officer, the public officer or Council Support Officers to provide access to a particular Council record. Documents that are freely available under the provisions of Section 12 of the Local Government Act, 1993 are listed in Attachment 2


6.5  Councillors can also request access to other documents of the Council either by a Notice of Motion to the Council or a Freedom of Information application.


6.6 A senior officer has the discretion to refer any request for information to their Group Manager. The senior officer must indicate to the councillor their reason for the referral.


6.7 If a councillor is concerned about any refusal to provide information, they should firstly raise the matter with the relevant Group Manager, the Chief Executive Officer or the Lord Mayor (if it was the Chief Executive Officer who refused to provide the advice). If the councillor is still dissatisfied they should request the information by way of a Notice of Motion to the Council.


6.8  Councillors and unauthorised staff will not be provided access to staff personal records.


6.9 The Chief Executive Officer shall not unreasonably deny a councillor access to a Council document.


6.10 The Chief Executive Officer must act reasonably and within two working days in deciding whether a document is relevant to the performance of the councillor’s civic duty.


6.11 Staff shall keep a record of all service requests by Councillors in Council’s CRM system.






Council’s Code of Conduct provides detailed information regarding the obligations of both staff and Councillors.  Section 9 of Council’s adopted Code of Conduct instructs Councillors and Staff not to engage in the following specific inappropriate interactions:


a)           Councillors approaching staff and staff organisations to discuss individual staff matters and not broader industrial policy issues.

b)           Council staff approaching councillors to discuss individual staff matters and not broader industrial policy issues.

c)            Council staff refusing to give information that is available to other councillors to a particular councillor.

d)           Councillors who have lodged a development application with council, discussing the matter with council staff in staff-only areas of the council.

e)           Councillors being overbearing or threatening to council staff.

f)  Councillors making personal attacks on council staff in a public forum.

g)           Councillors directing or pressuring council staff in the performance of their work, or recommendations they should make.

h)            Council staff providing ad hoc advice to councillors without recording or documenting the interaction as they would if the advice was provided to a member of the community.

i)  Council staff meeting with developers alone AND outside office hours to discuss development applications or proposals.

j)  Councillors attending on-site inspection meetings with lawyers and/or consultants engaged by council associated with current or proposed legal proceedings unless permitted to do so by Council’s Chief Executive Officer or, in the case of the Lord Mayor, exercising their power under section 226 of the Act.





All Councillors and staff who, impartially and without malice, report suspected breaches of this policy will be provided the full support of the Council. Breach of this policy may be dealt with as a breach of Council’s Code of Conduct.



8.1       Reporting


8.1.1 All occasions of a member of staff or a Councillor not complying with this policy should be immediately reported to the immediate manager of the staff member. The manager of the staff member is to make all necessary enquiries and attempt to resolve the matter at the service level.


8.1.2 Where the matter cannot be resolved at the service or unit level, the manager is to refer the matter in writing to the Group Manager. If necessary the matter will be referred to the Chief Executive Officer.


8.1.2 Where the member of staff is being harassed and is not satisfied with the resolution of the matter, the matter may be reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer in accordance with Council’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy.


8.1.3 Where a report relates to the conduct of a Councillor or member of staff that could not be satisfactorily resolved, the Chief Executive Officer shall review the matter and take action in accordance with the Complaint Handling Procedures (Part 3) of Council’s Code of Conduct.


8.1.4 Where a Councillor believes that the Chief Executive Officer has failed to comply with the policy, the Councillor shall report to the Lord Mayor in accordance with the Complaint Handling Procedures (Part 3) of Council’s Code of Conduct.






This policy was adopted by Council Resolution dated


The policy will be subject to review within two years of adoption. Procedures contained herein will be updated administratively as required under authority of the Chief Executive Officer.



Relevant Legislation


Local Government Act 1993 (NSW)

Local Government (General) Regulation 2005(NSW)

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW)

Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW)

NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977

Local Government (State) Award


Other Publications


Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) 1997 ‘Under Careful Consideration: Key Issues for Local Government’

Parramatta City Council ‘Code of Conduct’

Parramatta City Council Access to Information Policy

Parramatta City Council Equal Employment Opportunity Policy







Councillor support office

30 Darcy Street, Parramatta  NSW  2150

PO Box 32, Parramatta  NSW  2124

Tel:  9806 5050   Fax:  9806 5917



Administration Building

Level 12

30 Darcy Street, Parramatta  NSW  2150

Tel:   9806 5317 (Allison Newport)

Tel:   9806 5067 (Leanne Sutcliffe)

Fax: 9806 5916

Council Chamber Building

Level 3

Civic Place, Parramatta  NSW  2150

Tel:   9806 5066 (Chantel Hart)

Tel:   9806 5020 (Michele Pruyn)

Fax:                    9806 5924


Service Manager: Graeme Riddell

Tel: 9806 5916

Mob: 0414 980606

Fax: 9806 5916




Tel:  9806 5050

Fax:  9806 5917





Executive and Senior Council Managers

Name & Title










Dr Robert Lang

Chief Executive Officer

Level 12, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151

Tel:9806 5326

Fax: 9806 5916

Mob: 0427 469919


Executive Management

Michael Quirk—Manager, Service Audit & Review


Level 8, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5235

Fax: 9806 5908

Mob: 0438 678 475


internal audit, complaints management, access to information, corruption prevention

Service Audit

Scott Gregg - Civic Place Executive Project Director

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA 2151

Tel: 9806 5219


Mob: 0419 205 205

Civic Place Redevelopment Project

Executive Management

Vacant—Manager, Executive Support


Level 12, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5474

Fax: 9806 5916

Mob: 0405 534 310


general manager, lord mayor and councillor support, marketing and communications

Executive Support






Geoff King

Acting Group Manager Corporate Services

Level 7, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5702

Fax: 9806 5053

Mob: 0417 494 067


Executive Management

Jenny Fett—Manager Finance

Level 9, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5381

Fax: 9806 5911

Mob: 0403 869 845

financial management, commercial and risk

Corporate Services

Vacant—Mngr Strategic Business Improvement

Level 7, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5702

Fax: 9806 5053

Mob: 0417 494 067

strategic business improvement

Corporate Services

Stephen Montgomery—Manager Strategic Asset Management

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5724

Fax: 9806 5913

Mob: 0419 016 350

asset management

Corporate Services

Dianne Lucas—Manager Human Resources

Level 10, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5250

Fax: 9806 5915

Mob: 0402 894 378

human resources

Corporate Services

Ernie White—Manager Information Technology

Level 10, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5470

Fax: 9806 5912

Mob: 0429 019 418

hardware, IT business improvement

Corporate Services

Tim Franey—Acting Manager Community Engagement

Ground Floor, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5863

Fax: 9806 5900

Mob: 0418 962 742

contact centre, records, website, residents panel

Corporate Services






Sue Weatherley

Group Manager Outcomes & Development

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5101

Fax: 9806 5929

Mob: 0431 596 351


Executive Management

Louise Connolly—Manager Development Services

Level 2, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5780

Fax: 9806 5902

Mob: 0404 076 522

development assessment, traffic and transport,

Outcomes and Development

Marcelo Occhiuzzi - Manager Land Use & Planning

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5719

Fax: 9806 5929

Mob: 0404 001 539

land use, urban design, transport planning

Outcomes and Development

Linda Perrine—Acting Manager City Strategy

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5584

Fax: 9806 5929

Mob: 0419 850 298

social & environmental outcomes, economic development, place strategy, strategic programs and partnership

Outcomes and Development

Laurie Whitehead – Manager Regulatory Services

Level 5, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5613

Fax: 9806 5929

Mob: 0414 980 724

construction and development controls, ranger services

Outcomes and Development






Sue Coleman

Group Manager City Services

Level 11, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5601

Fax: 9806 5914

Mob: 0409 819 748


Executive Management

Tim Dale—Manager City Operations

Moreton Street Depot, Moreton StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel: 8839 4012

Fax: 8839 4063

Mob: 0414 190 228

maintain and clean parks, roads, footpaths, council buildings, manage OLO’s, local emergencies

City Services

Rebecca Grasso— Manager City Culture, Tourism & Recreation

Level 11, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5134

Fax: 9806 5953

Mob: 0414 980 609

recreation facilities and programs, events, arts and culture, heritage centre and visitor information

City Services

Vikki King—Manager Community Library & Social Services

Level 11, 30 Darcy StreetPARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5111

Fax: 9806 5914

Mob: 0404 087 300

home support, community library, family and children services, community capacity building

City Services

Robert Love—Director Riverside Theatre

Riverside Theatres—PARRAMATTA  2151


Tel: 8839 3350


Mob: 0416 110 487

riverside theatre operations, marketing and business development

City Services

Tom O’Hanlon—City Assets & Environment

Level 3, Library Building, Civic Place —PARRAMATTA  2151


Tel:9806 5742

Fax: 9806 5906

Mob: 0414 980 600

waste management, paid parking, capital projects, open space and civil infrastructure management

City Services






Statutory Provisions for Access to Documents


Section 12 of the Local Government Act provides that the Council must provide access to the current version of certain documents free of charge to all members of the public including councillors. These documents are:


• the model code prescribed under section 440 (1) of the Local Government Act 1993 and the code of conduct adopted by council under Section 440(3) of the Local Government Act 1993;

• council’s code of meeting practice;

• annual report;

• annual financial reports;

• auditor’s report;

• management plan;

• EEO management plan;

• council’s policy concerning the payment of expenses incurred by, and the provision of facilities to, councillors;

• council’s land register;

• register of investments;

• returns of the interests of councillors, designated persons and delegates;

• returns as to candidates’ campaign donations;

• agendas and business papers for council and committee meetings (but not including business papers for matters considered when part of a meeting is closed to the public);

• minutes of council and committee meetings, but restricted (in the case of any part of a meeting that is closed to the public), to the resolutions and recommendations of the meeting;

• any codes referred to in the Local Government Act;

• register of delegations;

• annual reports of bodies exercising delegated council functions;

• applications under Part 1 of Chapter 7 of the Local Government Act for approval to erect a building, and associated documents;

• development applications (within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 ) and associated documents;

• local policies adopted by the council concerning approvals and orders;

• records of approvals granted, any variation from local policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals;

• records of building certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;

• plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by the council;

• leases and licences for use of public land classified as community land;

• plans of management for community land;

• environmental planning instruments, development control plans and plans made under section 94AB of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 applying to land within council’s area;

• the statement of affairs, the summary of affairs and the register of policy documents required under the Freedom of Information Act 1989;

• Departmental representatives’ reports presented at a meeting of the council in accordance with section 433; and

• the register of graffiti removal work kept in accordance with section 67C.





Sections 15(1) and 16(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1989 also includes provisions for members of the public to a general right of access to Council documents in accordance with that Act.