In 2009 the LGA President launched the independent Local Government Governance Panel (the Panel). The Panel is an independent resource for Councils to use to assist them address complaints about the conduct of Council Members.
Members of the Panel
- Panel Manager: Kaye Smith, Partner, EMA Legal.
Kaye has had extensive experience acting for local government, including complex employment disputes, work health and safety and code of conduct investigations.
- Deputy Panel Manager: Daniel Krips, Senior Associate, EMA Legal.
- Panel Member: Greg Stevens, former Industrial Relations Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of South Australia.
- Panel Member: Farrah Seidel, Industrial Relations Consultant.
- Panel Member: Beth Dunning, former senior State Government Public Servant and senior council officer.
Complaints to the Panel
Complaints to the Panel may be made under Part 2 of the Code of Conduct. The Panel Manager will assess the complaint (see below for details) and if necessary decide which Panel member or members would be best suited to investigate. Please note: The Panel will not act upon any complaints received during the Caretaker Period under the Local Government (Elections) Act. If, in the opinion of the Panel Manager the matter should be investigated, the investigation will occur after the Caretaker Period.
Referrals to the Panel are made by councils, in accordance with a council's Complaint Handling Procedure under the Members' Code of Conduct. The Panel does not receive complaints directly from the public nor will it investigate allegations of misconduct under Part 3 of the Code of Conduct or fraud or corruption. The Governance Panel has an advisory role only and will prepare a report and recommendations in response to the complaint, for the council's consideration.
Councils should also note that the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption has issued Directions and Guidelines for mandatory reports to be made under the ICAC Act. In some cases, such as allegations of corruption, or serious or systemic misconduct in public administration, a report or complaint should be made directly to the Office of Public Integrity. A copy of the Directions and Guidelines is available here.
Referrals from councils should be marked Confidential and be emailed to:
The Panel Manager
Local Government Governance Panel
The matter will be initially assessed by the Panel Manager. The process and costs are set out below.
- receipt of the complaint
- initial assessment of the issues
- assessment of whether the complaint is within jurisdiction
- assessment as to whether it should be returned to Council
- if it is considered the complaint should be investigated, initial contact with the complainant as to whether mediation would be appropriate.
Up to $388 (plus GST)
If mediation is an option – this is to be conducted by someone other than the Panel. Mediation SA offers professional mediation services.
If mediation is not an option and the matter is to be investigated Due to the potential variance in each individual complaint, a specific quote cannot be provided until after an initial assessment of the complaint is made. A quote will be provided to Council at this point taking into account the scope of further assessment required and will likely include the following work:
- Whether the complaint can be dealt with on the papers;
- Briefing of an investigator;
- Investigation including interviewing person(s);
- Drafting of preliminary report by the Investigator;
- Review of preliminary report;
- Provision of final report to Council.
Those costs are dependent upon the hourly rate of the investigator: $363 (plus GST)
Rules of Engagement and Referrals
To view the Rules of Engagement for the Panel click here.
Referrals must include:
- Complaint Referral Form 1 click here.
- Response to Code of Conduct Complaint Form 2 click here. (This form should be provided with a timeframe for response. If not returned within the timeframe, Complaint Referral Form 1 can be forwarded to the Governance Panel).
Once the complaint form (form 1) has been completed, it should be forwarded to the subject of the complaint, together with form 2. This will assist the Panel Manager to assess the complaint.
Annual Report 2015/16
Further enquiries about the operations of the Panel should, in the first instance, be referred to email firstname.lastname@example.org.