Elected Members Reimbursement of Expenses Policy

Consultation has concluded

Thank you for your feedback. Consultation has concluded.

Your feedback will be considered and a decision on the content of the policies will be considered at the Ordinary Council Meeting of 25 September 2018.

Elected Members in local government are entitled to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred while performing a function in their capacity as a council member.

The City of Perth has been seeking feedback on the following Council policies:

  • Council Policy 10.6 Elected Members – Reimbursement of Expenses (CP 10.6); and
  • Council Policy 10.3 Elected Members – Interstate and Overseas Travel and Expenses (CP 10.3).

The Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 set out the types of expenses incurred by Elected Members that must be reimbursed as well as the expenses that councils may choose to reimburse.

In the proposed draft policies, the assessment of each individual expense will:

  • Focus on transparency, including the justification and need for the proposed expense(s);
  • Ensure a clear nexus between expenses paid by the City and the functions of an Elected Member under the Local Government Act 1995; and
  • Ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place to enable the appropriate expenditure of ratepayer funds and to ensure any costs are applied by way of a consistent and equitable process.

Consultation has now closed

Thank you for your feedback. Consultation has concluded.

Your feedback will be considered and a decision on the content of the policies will be considered at the Ordinary Council Meeting of 25 September 2018.

Elected Members in local government are entitled to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred while performing a function in their capacity as a council member.

The City of Perth has been seeking feedback on the following Council policies:

  • Council Policy 10.6 Elected Members – Reimbursement of Expenses (CP 10.6); and
  • Council Policy 10.3 Elected Members – Interstate and Overseas Travel and Expenses (CP 10.3).

The Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 set out the types of expenses incurred by Elected Members that must be reimbursed as well as the expenses that councils may choose to reimburse.

In the proposed draft policies, the assessment of each individual expense will:

  • Focus on transparency, including the justification and need for the proposed expense(s);
  • Ensure a clear nexus between expenses paid by the City and the functions of an Elected Member under the Local Government Act 1995; and
  • Ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place to enable the appropriate expenditure of ratepayer funds and to ensure any costs are applied by way of a consistent and equitable process.

Consultation has now closed

Please take the time to leave your feedback on the draft Elected Member Reimbursement policies below. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the need for council to be transperant and open; however, in my view, more careful consideration needs to be given to the amendments to elected members expenses policy and the consequences they will have. Take childcare expenses for example. Under the proposed policy, what can be claimed is not in line with a councillors roles and duties as prescribed by the LG Act. The proposed list of “authorised activities” only covers a small percentage of a councillors duties and responsibilities. Of note, a Councillor cannot claim childcare for the time required to read meeting agendas. I believe this is not only discriminatory against parents (especially women) but could also result in poor decision making and discourage parents and in particular women from running for council in the future - all of which are not in the best interest of the city!
The list of authorised activities requires further thought and needs to include time allocated by councillors to read meeting agendas, attending community group functions etc.
Council amended this policy in November 2017 to be in line with relevant legislation and it is not clear as to why he administration as recommended amending this policy now to be discriminatory against parents and in particular women.

ALFB 3 months ago

The proposed policy isnt about transparency - it is about limitation.

To illustrate:

Current City of Perth childcare cost policy states:

1.5 Child care costs incurred by the member because of the member’s requirement to fulfil the duties of a Council Member, to a maximum of $25 per hour.


Proposed City of Perth childcare policy states:

$25 per hour or the actual cost per hour whichever is the lesser in attending or performing an Authorised Function.

Authorised Function

An Elected Member attending or performing a role in an official capacity in the following circumstances:

• Ordinary and special meetings of council;
• Annual and special meetings of electors;
• Advisory committee meetings;
• Agenda briefing sessions;
• Workshops and forums;
• External committees and regional council meetings as an authorised representative;
• Authorised training and development activities;
• Civic receptions and events conducted by the City;
• As an invited guest at a civic reception or event conducted by a Local Government.

https://engage.perth.wa.gov.au/elected-members-reimbursement?tool=guest_book

Section 2.7 (and 2.9) of the Local Government Act specify the

Role of mayor (and deputy mayor):

(a) presides at meetings in accordance with this Act; and
(b) provides leadership and guidance to the community in the district; and
(c) carries out civic and ceremonial duties on behalf of the local government; and
(d) speaks on behalf of the local government; and
(e) performs such other functions as are given to the mayor or president by this Act or any other written law; and
(f) liaises with the CEO on the local government’s affairs and the performance of its functions.

Section 2.10 specifies the Role of councillors as:

(a) represents the interests of electors, ratepayers and residents of the district; and
(b) provides leadership and guidance to the community in the district; and
(c) facilitates communication between the community and the council; and
(d) participates in the local government’s decision-making processes at council and committee meetings; and
(e) performs such other functions as are given to a councillor by this Act or any other written law.

https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/prod/filestore.nsf/FileURL/mrdoc_37178.pdf/$FILE/Local%20Government%20Act%201995%20-%20%5B07-k0-00%5D.pdf?OpenElement

For Section 2.9 of the Act, the following parts of the role of a mayor or deputy would not be covered under the proposed changes to the childcare policy:

(b) provides leadership and guidance to the community in the district; and
(d) speaks on behalf of the local government; and
(f) liaises with the CEO on the local government’s affairs and the performance of its functions.

Further, even to fulfil the function 2.7(a), to preside over meetings, this requires significant preparation such as speaking with stakeholders, elected members and the Administration regarding matters to be put to Council, and reading the materials – all of which is not covered under the proposed change to the policy.

For Section 2.10 the following parts of the role of councillor would not be covered under the proposed changes to the childcare policy:

(a) represents the interests of electors, ratepayers and residents of the district; and
(b) provides leadership and guidance to the community in the district; and
(c) facilitates communication between the community and the council.

Further, even to fulfil the function 2.10(d) that is to participate in council and committee meetings, this requires significant preparation such as speaking with stakeholders, elected members and the Administration regarding matters to be put to Council, and reading the materials – all of which is not covered under the proposed change to the expenses policy.

Whilst the current policy covers all activities performed by elected members, the proposed changes cover only a fraction of them.

The proposed policy effectively creates classes of activities that are considered more important than others – denying an elected member the ability to determine what is the priority based on merit.

It also would result in elected members that require childcare not performing certain functions that they may otherwise and putting them at a disadvantage to those that do not require childcare.

As an example, take the week 30th October 2017, I attended the following:

Run through of Courtesy Call
Courtesy Call
Meeting with the CEO
Meeting with Director of Parking
Meeting with the Property Council
Business News Interview
Meeting to receive information on Serious Business Move
Courtesy Call
Speech writing
Time with Assistant to go through diary
Phone calls and emails with elected members and ratepayers regarding matters coming before council in coming weeks.

The Act (and I) consider the above essential to perform the role adequately. However, none of these activities would be covered by the proposed childcare policy. The proposed changes would be prejudicial towards women and also undermine good government as these functions may be less likely to be performed as they are not classified as ‘Authorised Functions’ under the policy. It may also result in women being less likely to run for office.

The proposed policy also creates the skewed and incorrect impression that activities not listed are not as important, when in fact all are important to good government.

Transparency can be achieved without being prejudicial to women. Simply keep the policy as is but require any claims to be acquitted against a log of activities.

JMG 3 months ago