About this project

Governance Rules describe and inform the way Council conducts its meetings and makes decisions.

Bayside City Council adopted its Governance Rules in August 2020, as required by the Local Government Act 2020. At the time of adoption, Council resolved to review these rules within 12 months of an election.

The 2021 review of the Governance Rules 2020 was designed to seek the views of the community and provide our newly elected 2020–24 Council with an opportunity to refine and enhance the existing Governance Rules.

What we asked

Between 22 April and 19 May 2021, we asked our community to provide feedback on proposed changes to the Governance Rules. Two changes regarding Council meeting procedures were proposed as part of this review:

  • Individual presentations (Sections 59 to 63) become written statements to be submitted by 9am the day before the relevant meeting, instead of speakers attending Council meetings.
  • Public questions (Section 57) must be submitted by 9am the day before the relevant meeting (instead of 11am).

We heard from 125 community members via an online survey or by email. Read a summary of their feedback below or view the complete report.

What you told us

Most survey participants (57%) strongly opposed the idea that speakers would not be permitted to address Council meetings. Many felt the proposed changes were undemocratic, and written statements could not convey the same emotion as speakers or could be misinterpreted or not read.

More than one third of survey participants (37%) asked for a choice of presentation formats, with written statements to continue provided community members also had an option to speak directly to Council. Many of these participants felt that providing a choice of formats was fair and inclusive; some noted a cap on speaker numbers may be required to keep meetings to a reasonable duration.

Only four participants supported the proposed change to written statements only.

It’s clear from community feedback that Bayside residents value the opportunity to speak at Council and Committee meetings. At the same time, there’s been a significant increase (155%) in residents engaging with Council meetings since written statements were introduced in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

What we did

Community feedback overwhelmingly indicates that Bayside would benefit greatly from having more than one method for community members to address Council meetings.

In response to community feedback, a revised report on the Governance Rules, providing options for delivering a hybrid approach of both written statements and speakers, will be considered by Council at its 15 June 2021 meeting, including:

  • the choice to provide a written statement and/or register to speak at a Council meeting
  • a maximum of 10 speakers in response to any agenda item to keep meetings to a reasonable duration
  • meeting agendas to be published 24 hours earlier (the Wednesday before the relevant meeting, or earlier where possible)

Read the meeting agenda for more information on these changes.

Next steps

Council will consider a report on community and stakeholder feedback and proposed changes to the Governance Rules 2020 at its 15 June 2021 meeting. You can find out more detail about the proposed changes in the meeting agenda.

The 15 June 2021 Council meeting will be live streamed from 6.30pm or available to watch as a recording. You can also submit a question or submit a written statement to the meeting.

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