Ipswich City Council 'ticking off' changes to transparency
ALMOST half of the tasks independently recommended to improve the openness of Ipswich City Council have been finished.
About six months since the council's external governance review report was handed down, many of the proposed changes have been implemented.
A spokesman has released an updated list of the council's operational changes in response to 19 recommendations:
- Re-introduction of the Councillors' Code of Conduct: In progress, completion imminent.
- A higher degree of accountability and co-operation between council officers and councillors: In progress, being finalised.
- Councillors' acceptable requests for information guidelines: In progress, being finalised.
- Publish identifiable and consolidated councillor Register of Interests: Completed.
- Recording in minutes of meetings a councillor's declaration of a conflict of interest: Completed.
- Restructure the committee structure and establish guidelines and procedures for dealing with open and closed sessions: Completed.
- Publication of all officers' reports to committees and the council's formal resolutions on its website: Completed.
- Publication online of a list of all adopted and current policies: Completed.
- Delegated power to decide applications under the Planning Act: In progress, completion imminent; training aspect completed.
- Revisit recommendations of Queensland Audit Office and Internal Audit regarding procurement: In progress, working towards March completion.
- Monitor the procurement function in the audit plan: In progress.
- Review and amend the councillor expenditure reimbursement claim form to include a compliance declaration: In progress, completion imminent.
- Review of procedures in citywide and divisional funding allocations: In progress.
- Establish a risk register and develop mitigation strategies: In progress.
- Development of guidelines and procedures for councillors and their assistants for the assessment and capturing of correspondence likely to be regarded as a public record: In progress.
- Review controlled entities to determine the extent of benefit they deliver to the local government area and consider winding up controlled entities: In progress.
- Expand the charter of the Audit Committee to include risk management: Completed.
- Establishment of a procedure to receive the Auditor General's Observation Report and presentation: Completed.
- The CEO consult with the mayor to convene working parties to implement changes from the governance review: Completed.
Everyone is supportive of our changes: Mayor
ALL councillors and officers are supportive of Ipswich City Council's direction towards improved accountability, Mayor Andrew Antoniolli believes.
Cr Antoniolli, who hung his campaign on a promise of more transparency within the council, spruiked the actions taken since he took office.
"We have made significant progress since I was elected mayor of Ipswich six months ago," he said.
"We promised transparency and accountability.
"No stone has been left unturned in our bid to improve governance of council and be completely open and honest about our processes."
While his own desire for changed procedures was well-documented, the task of instilling change within the council fell to all councillors.
"Everyone is on board," the mayor said.
"I said at the most recent council meeting that we have got nothing to hide and I meant that sincerely.
"We are delivering on the promise of a new era for Ipswich City Council."
Cr Antoniolli said "changes had to be made" to the organisation.
"We have embraced the recommendations and implemented widespread measures in order to move forward," he said.
"The public should feel confident that we are moving in the right direction now.
"We set the bar high and we are well on the way to meeting those gold standards."
The 50th mayor of Ipswich said the recommendations of the governance review were being implemented, citing the publishing of committee meetings online as proof change had been made.
"(The) council went above and beyond the recommendations," he said.