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City of hobart


Governance Committee Meeting


Open Portion


Tuesday, 28 November 2017


at 5.00 pm

Lady Osborne Room, Town Hall




11       Council and Committees - Structure and Governance Matters  2

Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting

Page 2





11     Council and Committees - Structure and Governance Matters

          File Ref: F17/153393

Report of the General Manager of 24 November 2017 and attachments.

Delegation:     Council



The General Manager reports:

“That in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 Regulation 8(6) of the Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2015, these supplementary matters are submitted for the consideration of the Committee.


Pursuant to Regulation 8(6), I report that:


(a)     information in relation to the matter was provided subsequent to the distribution of the agenda;

(b)     the matter is regarded as urgent; and

(c)     advice is provided pursuant to Section 65 of the Act.”


Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting

Page 4





REPORT TITLE:                  Council and Committees - Structure and Governance Matters

REPORT PROVIDED BY:  General Manager


1.         Report Purpose and Community Benefit

1.1.     The purpose of this report is to address governance matters relating to the conduct of Council and committee meetings.

1.2.     A clear and effective framework around Council and committee meetings provides good governance of the City and clarity for the community.

2.         Report Summary

2.1.     The report specifically addresses the streamlining of procedures around the following meeting provisions:

2.1.1.     public question time;

2.1.2.     notices of motions and

2.1.3.     deputations and

2.1.4.     Questions Without Notice

2.2.     In addition to these matters, direction is also being sought regarding the potential restructure of Council committees to a strategic/policy focus, in line with the Strategic Plan, which has been has been the subject of discussion previously.

3.         Recommendation


1.    The Council consider whether it wishes to vary its current approach to the public question time forum by reducing the notice period currently applying to the lodgement of questions, from seven days clear of both the meeting and lodgement days, to two clear days.

2.    In respect to Notices of Motions, the format be changed to include the additional requirement that all NOMs be accompanied by preliminary commentary provided by the General Manager on relevant issues, to potentially allow the subject matter to be dealt with, at the meeting without the requirement for a further report.

2.1   The General Manager’s commentary include the status of any action pending, underway or completed and any other matters relevant to the subject matter, including whether a report is required and if so, an estimated timeframe and any forseen resourcing or cost implications.



2.2   In order to facilitate the provision of additional information, the notice period for Notices of Motions be lengthened from the current seven clear days of the intended meeting, to up to ten clear days, depending on the complexity of the topic

2.2.1   The Notices of Motions procedures be varied to accommodate this requirement.

3.    In respect to deputations, the Committee either:

3.1    endorse the longstanding practice of deputations being considered where a report relating to the subject of the deputation appears on the relevant committee agenda; or

3.2    endorse the discretion of committee chairmen to consider a deputation to address a meeting, without the need to include a report on the agenda for the meeting.

4.    Direction be provided in respect to whether the Council wishes to pursue the strategic realignment of its existing committee structure.

4.1    In the event that the Council wishes to revisit this matter, a further Council workshop be convened at the earliest opportunity to facilitate discussion.

4.         Background

4.1.     The Committee will recall considering changes to the governance framework around the delivery of its Council and committee meetings, which occurred in September 2016.

4.2.     This arose as the result of a desire to reduce the number of days on which committee meetings, workshops and briefings were scheduled each month and a view that the business of Council could be more efficiently processed over a number of “sitting” days.

4.3.     In addition, Aldermen wished to consider possible improvements to the governance of procedural matters associated with Council and committee meetings, such as public question time, notices of motions and deputations.

4.4.     These matters were discussed at a workshop conducted on 21 May 2016, with a report subsequently being submitted to the Governance Committee and Council in September 2016.

4.5.     The Council deferred the matter to enable further consideration.

5.         Proposal and Implementation

5.1.     Given difficulty in scheduling a suitable time for a follow-up workshop on the Council committee structure, the opportunity has been taken to report to the Committee on the governance matters referred to above, which were also discussed at the workshop.

5.1.1.     Public Question Time:      The Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2015 (The Regulations) require that at least fifteen minutes of an ordinary Council meeting are to be provided for questions from the public, if required.      The rules for Public Question Time which have been adopted by the Council are shown in Attachment A to this report.      The Council has adopted a condition requiring that questions are to be submitted in writing, seven days clear of the day of the meeting and the day of submission.      Whilst this allows time for preparation of an immediate response to questions asked, the lead-time may be considered by some members of the community to be overly bureaucratic and an impediment to public participation.      The Committee may wish to consider reducing the lodgement period for questions to two clear days which would move the lodgement day from Sunday week prior to a Monday Council, to Friday prior to a Monday meeting.      This is allowable under the Regulations as the timeframe around lodgement is not mandated.

5.1.2.     Notices of Motions:      The framework for Aldermanic Notices of Motions (NOMs) is contained in the Council’s policy on Meeting Procedures and Guidelines.  An extract is shown as Attachment B.      Currently the approved process requires a report from the General Manager regarding the Council’s jurisdiction of the subject matter of a motion.      If the General Manager’s report was to be expanded to include commentary on relevant issues associated with each motion, this would assist committees and Council in their decision making process, and could in some instances result in a decision without the need for further reporting.      The information provided by the General Manager could include the status of any action pending, underway or completed; whether a further report would be required and if so, estimated report back timeframes; cost or resourcing implications and any other issues relevant to the subject matter of the NOM.      If the Committee and Council were in favour of such an approach, the timeframe for the lodgement of NOMs would need to be lengthened from the current seven clear day period, to up to ten clear days, to enable preparation of the additional information.      The Notices of Motions procedures would be varied to accommodate this.

5.1.3.     Deputations:      The Council has adopted the following procedures with respect to deputations:      Any person who wishes to make a deputation to a committee may be requested to provide a written request to the chairman setting out:

(i)    The likely members of the delegation;

(ii)    The purpose of the request;

(iii)   The nature of the matter or matters intended to be placed before the committee.

(iv)    The committee chairman is to decide whether or not the deputation is to be received.

(v)     If the chairman decides that the deputation is to be received, the chairman is to inform the General Manager to note the item on the appropriate agenda;      A deputation:

(i)      Is not to exceed three persons

(ii)     Is to be limited in duration to five minutes.      Although not a policy position of the Council, it has been longstanding practice for requests or invitations for deputations to be considered by the committee chairman where an item appears on the agenda relating to the subject of the deputation, on the basis that some form of action is usually being sought.      In addition, the Regulations specify that a matter may only be discussed at a meeting if it is specifically listed on the agenda of that meeting.      An alternative viewpoint has been expressed, that there may be merit in inviting or accepting requests for deputations to address a committee in circumstances where there may not be a specific item listed on the meeting agenda.      The Committee and Council will be asked to determine its preferred approach on this matter to provide clarity going forward.

5.1.4.     Questions Without Notice:      The Governance Committee considered the memo shown as Attachment C to this report at its meeting held on 5 April 2016.      The matter was subsequently deferred by the Council for further discussion together with other procedures associated with Council and committee functions, which are addressed within this report.      Attached to the memo are guidelines for dealing with questions without notice which provide clarity around the nature and purpose of both questions and notices of motions, together with timeframes for the provision of responses to questions.      It is recommended that the guidelines be adopted.

5.1.5.     Council Committee Structure:      Further to these governance matters, the Council’s guidance is also requested in relation to the review of Council’s committee structure.      Subsequent to discussion at an Aldermanic workshop, the following restructured committee framework was proposed in a report provided to the Governance Committee meeting of 6 September 2016:

Strategic Plan Priority Area

Existing Committee Alignment

Economic Development, Vibrancy and Culture

Economic Development and Communications
Community Culture and Events (part thereof)

Urban Management

City Infrastructure (part thereof)

Parks and City Amenity (part thereof)

Environment and Natural Resources

City Infrastructure (part thereof)

Parks and City Amenity (part thereof)

Strong, Safe and Healthy Communities

Community Culture and Events (part thereof)


Governance      This alternative alignment was structured around Council’s Strategic Plan Priorities in order to reflect a strategic policy focus for committees.      Under this model the statutory planning authority role of the City Planning Committee would remain in place.      In addition to the change in committees, the monthly meeting schedule was reworked in order to reduce the number of meeting days from ten to six per month; comprising two Council and City Planning meetings and two “sittings” to accommodate the business of the five restructured committees.      The proposed schedule appears as Attachment D to this report.      Given that the matter presently stands deferred, I seek the Council’s guidance as to whether it wishes to give further consideration to the issue at this point in time.      In the event that this is the case, a further workshop will be convened at the earliest opportunity.      Alternatively, the Council may wish to wait until the completion of the visioning project which is currently underway to formulate a community-generated city vision to replace Hobart 2025.    It is anticipated that the results of this project will be formulated in the new-year.

6.         Strategic Planning and Policy Considerations

6.1.     This report addresses the current procedures around the management of public question time; notices of motions and deputations and canvasses a number of potential variations to the current framework which may increase access by the community, whilst also continuing to provide good governance. 

6.2.     In addition, guidance is being sought in relation to the strategic review of the Council’s committee structure and scheduling.

7.         Financial Implications

7.1.     Funding Source and Impact on Current Year Operating Result

7.1.1.  There are no financial implications on the operating budget from this report.

8.         Legal, Risk and Legislative Considerations

8.1.          No legal implications arise from this report.

9.         Community/Stakeholder Consultation

9.1.     The opportunity for community interaction at Council and committee meetings is largely dictated by the Regulations, specifically through deputations and public question time provisions.

9.2.     The Council currently accepts public questions in written format with seven clear days’ notice.

9.2.1.  If the Council was to substantially reduce the notification period it may result in more community participation.

10.      Delegation

10.1.   This matter is delegated to the Council.


As signatory to this report, I certify that, pursuant to Section 55(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, I hold no interest, as referred to in Section 49 of the Local Government Act 1993, in matters contained in this report.


Nick heath

N.D Heath

General Manager



Date:                            24 November 2017

File Reference:          F17/153393



Attachment a:             Public Question Time Procedures

Attachment b:             Notices of Motions Procedures

Attachment c:            Questions Without Notice Procedures

Attachment d:            Revised Meeting Schedule   

Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting - 28/11/2017

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Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting - 28/11/2017

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Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting - 28/11/2017

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Item No. 11

Supplementary Agenda (Open Portion)

Governance Committee Meeting - 28/11/2017

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