A proposal to streamline how local governments deal with local level misconduct allegations has been put forward by Local Government Minister John Castrilli.
The proposal follows the Review of the Local Government Standards Panel which found that while the number of allegations has grown steadily, the allegations were attributed to only about one-quarter of all local governments.
“Currently the standards panel is required to deal with every single allegation made, it has no discretion to reject allegations it considers frivolous or vexatious,” Mr Castrilli said.
The review also found that in many instances the length of time taken to finalise a complaint was unacceptably long.
“The findings of the review have shown there is an opportunity to deal with low-level complaints through a more timely and efficient process,” the Minister said.
“Based on this, I am proposing a new model that will allow allegations of low-level misconduct to be dealt with at the local level - in the first instance by the mayor or president, and if unresolved, by a panel of peers.”
The review also found that in the 2010-11 period, more than 75 per cent of allegations made to the panel resulted in findings of no breach.
Mr Castrilli said the proposed model would ensure the standards panel could be more pointed in their address of allegations, resulting in more timely, efficient assessments made. The model was detailed in a paper currently with the local government sector for consultation through the WA Local Government Association.
The Minister said he looked forward to receiving the sector’s responses to the proposed model to progress the proposal further.
Standards panel established in 2007 to deal with allegations of minor breaches of conduct against elected members
A review of the operations of the standards panel found the number of allegations has grown steadily since 2007
In 2010-11, 75% of allegations resulted in finding of no breach
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