LGPro Advocacy Agenda targets poor councillor culture

Victoria’s peak body for local government professionals says poor councillor culture is putting the health and safety of council staff at risk, and that measures currently in place to address the issues aren’t working effectively.

LGPro’s latest Advocacy Agenda calls for financial and legislative investment in improving the relationships between councillors and officers, and wants more resources to address poor behaviour among elected officials.

“Victorian Councillor culture is under increasing scrutiny,” the document says.

“Poor behaviour and the resulting risks to health, safety and the proper functioning of councils and their staff are driving momentum for change. Current measures to address the issues are only partly effective, exacerbating the risk.”

Surveys of local government executives by LGPro demonstrate a need to “explore issues experienced between elected councillors and officers and provide services to support officers in challenging situations”,  the association says.

The document calls on the government to:

  • strengthen the code of conduct with tougher sanctions for councillors who repeatedly breach it
  • boost powers and resources for independent mediation bodies, including the Local Government Inspectorate
  • implement mandatory councillor training
  • ensure better regulation of social media use by councillors

LGPro also wants funding to support diversity and fill skill gaps in the local government sector, warning of a looming shortage of skills in the construction sector.

The Advocacy Agenda says while advances have been made in gender equity in local government, feedback from the sector indicates there’s a lack of appropriate services for other groups within the workforce including First Nations, LGBTIQA+, disabled, CALD and veterans.

The agenda calls for a local government employee survey to establish statewide diversity benchmarks as well as more training for council staff on cultural inclusion and safety.

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2 thoughts on “LGPro Advocacy Agenda targets poor councillor culture

  1. The reason for democracy is not supported by tougher Code of Conduct rules. All you are doing is negating free speech which is the cornerstone of democracy. Councillors are the voice of the public and when Council officers fail or are reluctant to listen and respond to the clients, the rate payer, community and councillors then the Council has failed.

    1. I could not agree more. Here in QLD we have (the) Office of the Independent Assessor which supposedly assesses all complaints against Councillors. Unfortunately it seems only complainants external to Council are pursued with the intent to declare them frivolous and vexatious and fine.

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