Ipswich City Council's interim administrator Steve Greenwood.
Ipswich City Council's interim administrator Steve Greenwood.

Governance guide should serve as council’s ‘bible’

IPSWICH's interim administrator believes the council's Good Governance Guide should serve as its "bible" after it was officially adopted yesterday.

Steve Greenwood said the guide was a "significant piece of work" and it will serve as the go-to resource to operate by following the March election.

"It needs to be owned by this organisation," he said.

"For Ipswich, this is a big step forward. I think it could well become a benchmark for other councils."

The council's general manager of corporate services Sonia Cooper, appearing at her first committee meeting last week, presented the proposed good governance policy.

"This is a report concerning the repeal of an existing policy and adoption of a good governance policy that will guide both councillors and employees of Ipswich City Council in managing their various responsibilities in accordance with council's commitment to good governance," she said.

During council's business transformation program, introduced by former interim administrator Greg Chemello in 2018 and progressed through 2019, the need for further definition on council's current and desirable governance arrangements was agreed by the joint transformation committee.

"As a result, a good governance policy has been produced which articulates a policy statement and outlines guiding principles for council to embed good governance practices," Ms Cooper said.

"The policy is supported by a Good Governance Guide and quick guide which outline in further detail desirable and current governance arrangements for council.

"The guides are intended to be utilised as a resource for councillors, leaders, managers, staff and the general community to further understand and increase awareness of the importance of good governance practices.

"For good governance to be embedded, it will be vital that initial and ongoing communication and education strategies are implemented."

Ms Cooper said the guide will be an important resource for the council that will be used as part of an ongoing program to continue to drive good governance practices in an effort to lead to a more efficient, accountable and transparent council.

"The Good Governance Guide clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities within council such as the executive arm (the new mayor and eight councillors) and the administrative arm being the CEO and council staff," she said.

"It identifies how council makes its decisions and what governance arrangements we have in place. The policy and guide are important documents that can give the community and upcoming candidates an overview on how council works and what is already in place as well as practical examples of situations such as conflicts of interest and how this can result in poor governance practices."

The document deals with roles, responsibilities and relationships; organisational planning, monitoring and reporting performance; decision making; legal and ethical compliance; culture and ethics, plus a governance overview for Ipswich City Council.