At Council’s December meeting we adopted a new committee structure, but the future of advisory groups was not resolved. Our CEO Mr Peter Tsokas has flagged that he wishes this to be considered in the near future.
Advisory groups are there to provide a link/ input from the community with Council and hence they are extremely valuable if used correctly. We also know that they are not there to make decisions.
In recent discussions some members see it as their responsibility to run/ coordinate groups as a means of connecting with their community and I am one of them. Others think we should wind the groups up given the formation of the new committees.
To stimulate discussion our CEO has provided the following thoughts.
I think we should keep some groups going because we don’t want the “nuts and bolts” issues going to the new committees whereas some others may be disbanded unless members are passionate about them. The reference groups should be community driven (with guidance from Council) so as to give community reps a sense of participation. The groups could actually be chaired by a community rep and not an elected member- this will help develop members of the community and may encourage some to run for Council!
So here are my suggestions:
Establish a group that largely consists of community members to identify/ participate in community actions to improve road safety. A good example of this is the program of school audits re: road safety. This group should not be considering traffic management issues like the previous committee did.
Ageing and Disability Advisory Group
Disband the group. The new committee structure will pick up these issues. Note- it doesn’t mean that we (i.e admin) won’t engage with clients and residents we service. We will do that as part of our normal operations.
Combine the community, cultural, recreation and environmental grants program group with the Ron Young grant program group. So two advisory groups become one that consider grants under separate categories.
Community Sustainability Advisory Group
Retain this group but review its purpose
Goodwood Oval Advisory Group
Retain this group and review its purpose.
Library Community Advisory Group
Disband this group. The new Community and Culture Committee will address library issues in terms of actions towards the strategic plan.
Millswood Railway Station Advisory Group
Disband the group. it has not met for over two years.
Unley Oval Advisory Group
Retain this group but review its purpose.
Where the community sees value in having such groups then I believe they should be retained.
Personally I am inclined to agree with him (Peter) except I would prefer to see the elected member driving it so as to ensure community representatives are contributing, rather than chairing. Having said that I see the groups as having a level of informality about them.
At the end of the day it is your community and I would love to hear what you believe, particularly if you have a vested interest.