Reference Groups a thing of the Past?

After a couple of years of negativity surrounding the council’s various reference groups we voted last night to no longer be responsible for coordinating them.

 

Reference Groups were established as a means of engaging with the community over matters of common interest and/or concern. They were not established as formal Council Committees under Section 41 of the Local Government Act 1999 (the Act) and had previously been known as “Advisory” Groups.

After legal advice 2 years ago indicated  governance risks associated with supporting the then advisory groups a review was undertaken.Council has now had almost two years to observe the activities of the five Groups established in response to this advice.

Interestingly the role of the Elected Members is to facilitate two-way communication between the community and the elected Council and its Administration. This has successfully occurred historically both with and without the Reference/Advisory Groups. Elected Members have continued to be the main conduit to Council, or a Council Committee, for issues raised by the Groups’ community representatives, and operational matters have been progressed by the Administration.

The motion as revised by me from the one suggested by our administration on the other hand, while groups such as the Goodwood and Unley Oval Groups could be disbanded, the club representatives for each site could continue to meet as a “joint management committee” at a club venue with or without attendance by elected members, and/or administrative support from, Council staff.

I expect the Goodwood Oval reference group members will wish to continue and I for one (as one elected member) will be more than encouraging of this as to will help me fulfill my obligation for the community around Goodwood Oval.  I expect the other elected members who have been part of this group will likely see similarly.

 

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