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  • Writer's pictureMark Matijevic

Navigating Decisions During Election Periods - and Making the Lives of Councillors Easy

Elections are a significant time for anyone who works in, or around Government.


This post is written specifically for Local Government but is similar for all levels of Government. This year is a significant one for councils as Queensland (16 March 2024), New South Wales (14 September 2024), and Victoria (October 2024) have council elections. The year also includes the Queensland state election on 26 October 2024. 


This means many things for many councils. Some may be unable to make significant decisions in the immediate leadup to elections as they are in caretaker mode, and others may defer decisions until new councillors have been inducted into the council and have had a chance to understand council operations. Councillors need to be aware of the long-term impacts of decisions and will already have priorities in mind when deciding to run for council, so this is often prudent. Of course, the number of councillors expected to be re-elected also needs to be considered when making these decisions. 


This means many things for many councils. Some may be unable to make significant decisions in the immediate leadup to elections as they are in caretaker mode...

Councils often have mixed feelings and debates about what projects should be approved prior to elections as they want to ensure any long-term direction of council is endorsed by the people who are elected.  


This is a good discussion point as this process ensures that the councillors have the ability to ensure that contracts and expenditures are focussed on council objectives - based on the revised objectives of the new council. This is often based on whether the expenditure is material, although it should not get in the way of a council providing services to the community or improving its operations. 


The area that is often debatable is improvements to the experience of councillors themselves. Certainly, the significance of the expenditure should be considered, but giving a good impression to councillors and making their job easier should be taken into account.  

 

So how can the Councillor experience be made easier? 

Meeting Management software is technology that councillors use as part of their council duties. They need to be trained when inducted into council, and it is advantageous if they only get trained once on a system that is easy to use and gives them the information they need. 


Meeting Management Software ensures Councillors are prepared for meetings.


These tools (when implemented properly) ensure they are fully prepared for meetings. If they are trained on a solution that council staff don’t believe will give them a good experience, then a decision to move to a new solution should be investigated and should be considered in time to implement before a change of councillors. Audio visual solutions should also be considered.  


These are the solutions that will make the role of councillors easier. With elections happening this year, I think this is something that councils considering changes should prioritise. Of course, I am biased as I believe these solutions improve the Councillor experience, improve transparency for council officers and the public, and make the job easier for the council staff who run these meetings. 


With elections happening this year, I think this is something that councils considering changes should prioritise.

The next council elections for each geographic location is 

  • QLD:16 March 2024 

  • NSW: 14 September 2024 

  • WA: 19 October 2025 

  • VIC: October 2024 

  • Northern Territory: August 2025 

  • New Zealand: 12 October 2025 

  • WA: 19 October 2025 

  • Tasmania: October 2025 

  • SA: November 2026 

 


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