Darebin City Council has agreed to undertake a series of reforms designed to bolster community confidence in the Council's governance and decision-making processes.
The Andrews Labor Government has worked with the Council over the past six months to address concerns reported by Municipal Monitor Peter Lewinsky earlier this year.
In response to Mr Lewinsky's report, Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins appointed Mark Madden and Bill Mountford as Inspectors of Municipal Administration to support, assist and improve relationships and processes of councillors and staff at Darebin.
The Inspectors found an "us versus them" mentality between two groups of councillors and insufficient trust between councillors and executive staff.
After months of work, including group conferences, interviews and workshops, a series of actions were agreed to, including:
- Reviewing the council's code of conduct to make it clearer, simpler and less repetitive
- Streamlining the council's complaints process
- Developing an agreed process for appointing and reviewing the performance of the CEO
- Appointing a councillor liaison officer
- Improving communications
- Changes to council meetings, briefings and reports aimed at achieving more efficient and accountable decision-making
The Inspectors have recommended the Minister check the Council's progress after three months.
The Inspectors' report is available at www.delwp.vic.gov.au/news-and-announcements/darebin-report-released
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
"The changes Darebin Council has agreed to will require hard work and trust to implement and the coming months will show if they have successfully resolved the problems that were identified."
"The task of the Inspectors of Municipal Administration was to work with the council to ensure the highest standards of decision making. Their in-depth work showed poor working relationships and processes have held the Council back, and action by the councillors and senior management team was required."
"I encourage the local community to read the report as they will provide the ultimate judgement when council elections are held in October next year."