AGENDA


Community and Culture Committee

 

Tuesday, 09 June 2020

6.00pm

 

Online Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Georges River Council –            Community and Culture -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                                          Page 2

 

          Community and Culture

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Opening

2.      Acknowledgement of Country

3.      Apologies / Leave of Absence

4.      Notice of Webcasting

5.      Disclosures of Interest

6.      Public Forum

7.      Confirmation of Minutes of Previous Meeting  

MINUTES: Community and Culture - 11 May 2020

8.      Committee Reports

COM021-20       Adoption of Georges River Council Community Lease Policy 2020

(Report by Community Property Officer).................................................................... 3

COM022-20       Georges River Council Community Grants Program 2019/20 Round 2

(Report by Manager Community & Cultural Development).................................. 24  

 

 


Georges River Council –            Community and Culture -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                                          Page 3

Committee Reports

Item:                   COM021-20       Adoption of Georges River Council Community Lease Policy 2020 

Author:              Community Property Officer

Directorate:      Community and Culture

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Georges River Council Community Lease Policy 2020 be adopted by Council.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      This report seeks Council endorsement to adopt the revised Georges River Council Community Lease Policy 2020.

2.      The revised Community Lease Policy addresses legislative changes arising from the discontinuance of the Crown Lands Act 1989, the introduction of the Crown Lands Management Act 2016 and the Crown Lands Management Regulation 2018.

3.      The revised Policy takes into account feedback received from community consultation on the published draft Policy, including recommendations made by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

BACKGROUND

4.      Georges River Council’s Community Lease Policy provides a framework through which Council can determine the eligibility of community groups to occupy Council owned and managed land and buildings (such as community centres, scout and guide halls and sporting amenities blocks) in an equitable and transparent manner and in accordance with relevant legislative requirements. 

5.      On 4 September 2017, Council adopted the first Georges River Council Community Lease Policy after a public exhibition period of 28 days (CCL203-17).

6.      The Policy was due for review in September 2019. Council officers undertook this review and a revised draft Community Lease Policy was endorsed by Council to be placed on public exhibition on 25 November 2019 (COM043-19).

7.      The draft Community Lease Policy was placed on public exhibition between 20 January 2020 and 16 February 2020. Following feedback from the community requesting an extension of the consultation period during COVID-19, the public exhibition was extended to 27 March 2020.

8.      10 submissions were received during the initial public exhibition period.  A further 11 submissions were received between 17 February and 27 March 2020.

9.      The effects of COVID-19 have significantly impacted the operations of the Community and Culture directorate, with the closure of community facilities and services from March 2020. This impact has also affected many of the community organisations under leases and license agreements governed by the Community Lease Policy.

10.    Feedback received and the action(s) undertaken in the amended Community Lease Policy are outlined in Table 1.

Table 1 – Feedback received during public exhibition

No.

Public exhibition feedback received

Action / Policy Amendment(s)

1.  

Query on the process on how to opt out of a current lease or licence.

No change was made to the draft policy. Provisions are contained in the lease or licence entered into for terminations.

2.  

Appeals process where the application has been declined and to include members of the community on the appeal panel.

Appeals regarding decisions about community leases are managed through the Georges River Council Customer Feedback and Complaints Management Policy, which facilitates a process by which applicants who are dissatisfied with a decision may escalate their grievance through a three-tier complaint framework, resulting in an internal or external review.

3.  

12 pro-forma responses were received requesting delegation of authority to be retained by Council for approval and execution of agreements.

Approval and execution of agreements is currently exercised under delegated authority by the General Manager pursuant to the Instrument of Delegations (resolution of Council dated 24 September 2018).

Council recently considered a report on the General Manager’s delegations and made no changes to the Instrument of Delegations.

Further, Council is presented with a monthly report listing all community leases which have been exercised under delegation by the General manager (or her delegates) during the previous month.

The ICAC raised no issues in relation to this process. (The ICAC recommendations are outlined in Table 2).

4.  

Positive feedback was also received in relation to the process of lease approvals and requested no change in the process or delegations.

Noted. No change was made to the draft Policy.

5.  

Feedback regarding all legal fees to be paid for by Council in lease preparation.

Legal fees in the revised Policy have been capped at $2,000.  The previous Policy required the tenant to pay for all legal fees in the preparation of the agreement. This will assist community groups when entering into an agreement.

6.  

Feedback regarding the continuance of tenancy of existing community group tenants when the term expires automatically, without applying under an EOI process.

No change was made to the draft policy.

The policy provides for an EOI process to occur to ensure fairness for occupation of Council owned or managed premises. It also avoids the perception that Council traditionally only grants the lease of premises to previous tenants.

The policy currently has clear guidelines for engaging new and end of term tenancies by way of an EOI application. This will ensure an appropriate tenant is selected and allows for equity in the community to occupy Council owned or managed premises.

7.  

Feedback regarding long-standing community groups occupying Council premises to be exempt from having to re-apply for a lease or licence to occupy the premises.

No change was made to the draft policy.

The policy provides for an EOI process to occur to ensure fairness for occupation of Council owned or managed premises. It also avoids the perception that Council traditionally only grants the lease of premises to previous tenants. This is in keeping with the recommendations of ICAC outlined in Table 2.

The policy currently has clear guidelines for engaging new and end of term tenancies by way of an EOI application. This will ensure an appropriate tenant is selected and allows for equity in the community to occupy Council owned or managed premises.

8.  

Where a tenancy is shared by more than one group, consultation with the main tenant should be undertaken prior to entering into arrangements with other groups.

No change was made to the draft policy.

The Policy already stipulates (Section 3.3) that where there is a residing tenant that has the potential to share a space with a potential future tenant, Council staff will contact the residing tenant to consult in the process.

9.  

Subsidised rents should be provided to community tenants already in occupation

The process (Section 5.1) for a rental subsidy assessment has been further clarified in the draft Policy.

 

11.    Some terminology in the Subsidy Criteria (Table 1) of the Policy was rephrased to improve the assessment process.

12.    Consistent with previous practices, Council officers referred the draft Community Lease Policy to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for comment on any perceived or actual implications for potential fraud or corruption in relation to implementation of the Policy, assessment of applications and the use of delegated authority to approve and execute leases and licences.

13.    On 3 April 2020, ICAC provided Council with recommendations to enhance the Policy. The recommendations include clarification of the existing transparent EOI process (Sections 6-8)  for all property vacancies, outline of the existing rental subsidy assessment process (Section 5) for eligible community groups and inclusion of a process for the management of unsolicited proposals (Section 12).

14.    The additional policy revisions include addressing ICAC recommendations and relevant public feedback as per Table 2 – Summary of ICAC Feedback:

Table 2 – Summary of ICAC Feedback

ICAC Recommendation

Change to Policy

Impact on and relationship with procurement policy

Added Procurement Policy, 2019 to the Administration table - Related documents

Establish a negotiation protocol to ensure integrity and probity

 

Added:

i.    New item - Negotiation Protocols added to the Policy (Section 9)

ii.   Included Council’s Procurement Policy and Council’s internal guidelines for Procedures for the Management of Gifts and Benefits.

Management of unsolicited proposals

Added new item. Section 12 – Managing Unsolicited Proposals.

Council staff to record queries in an interest register to be used as a contact list for future appropriate EOIs.

Enhance openness and transparency in accessing leases

Reviewed and refined:

i.    Policy Statement, Section 3 - Outlined the assessment criteria Council staff use for selection of a suitable tenant

ii.   Section 5.1 - Outline of the rental subsidy assessment process including amendment to Figure 2.

iii.  Section 9 – Negotiation Protocols.

iv.  Section 5.1.7 - An online register of community lease/licences and subsidies recommended is to be included on Council’s website to increase transparency.

Definition of a short term lease and licence

Section 3.1 - Added the numerical term for a short term lease / licence being any term 5 years or less including any option to renew

 

15.    All approved leases and licences are currently reported to Council on a monthly basis.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

16.    Of the 57 community properties within the Community Property Portfolio Council received a total annual income of $42,029 in the 2019/20 financial year.

17.    Rental subsidies totalling $495,302 were applied to Community Properties in the same period. 

18.    A summary of the income received for 2019/20 by property category is shown in Table 3 below.

Table 3 – Income and Subsidies by Community Property Categories

 

Category

Income 19/20

Estimated Subsidy value 19/20

Community Centres

$11,922

$128,781

NSW Health

$1,000

>$100,000

Scouts and Guide Halls

$66

$46,414

Community Sports

$21,850

$85,145

Sporting Amenities

$958

$442

Miscellaneous

$6,233

$134,520

Total

$42,029

>$495,302

 

RISK IMPLICATIONS

19.    Operational risk/s identified and management process applied.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

20.    Community engagement was conducted including public exhibition of the draft Policy from 20 January 2020 to 27 March 2020.

FILE REFERENCE

D20/101185

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Georges River Council Community Lease Policy

 


Georges River Council -         Community and Culture - Tuesday, 9 June 2020

COM021-20            Adoption of Georges River Council Community Lease Policy 2020

[Appendix 1]          Georges River Council Community Lease Policy

 

 

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Georges River Council –            Community and Culture -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                                          Page 26

Item:                   COM022-20  Georges River Council Community Grants Program 2019/20 Round 2 

Author:              Manager Community & Cultural Development

Directorate:      Community and Culture

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

That the funding recommendations resulting from the Georges River Council Community Grants Program 2019/2020 Round 2, as detailed in Attachment 1, be adopted.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      Council holds an annual program of Community Grants funding that enables Council to partner with community groups to help meet identified community needs, as outlined in the Georges River Council Community Strategic Plan 2018-2028.

2.      This report seeks approval for the allocation of up to   $200,000 in grant funding to not-for-profit community groups to meet program objectives and address priority community needs in the Georges River Local Government Area.

3.      In Round 2 of the 2019/2020 Georges River Council Community Grants program, 62 applications were received for funding, with requests totalling $629,816.

4.      The Community Grants Panel assessed the 62 applications received at the Grants Assessment Panel meeting on 18 May 2020, and has recommended either full or partial support of 18 applications with a total funding allocation of $121,158.

5.      Unallocated funds of $78,842 have been allocated to a COVID-19 recovery program to support local community and not-for-profit organisations in the Georges River community in accordance with the criteria in the Georges River Council Grants, Donations and Sponsorship Policy, as part of the Georges River Council Economic and Social Recovery Plan, as endorsed by Council on 25 May 2020 (COM019-20). 

6.      The funding recommendations are attached to this report, as detailed in Attachment 1.

BACKGROUND

7.      The Georges River Community Grants Program allocates funds to meet program objectives and address priority community needs under Section 356 of the Local Government Act in an effective and equitable manner, based on the individual merits of each request.

8.      The Grants, Donations and Sponsorship Policy (2020) was adopted by Council on 20 April 2020 (COM011-20) and includes the Program Objectives, Eligibility Criteria and Assessment Process for the Community Grants Program.

9.      The Georges River Community Grants Program 2019-2020 Round 2 opened on Monday 10 February 2020 and closed on Monday 9 March 2020.

10.    Council received 62 applications, with funding requests totalling $629,816.

11.    Applications for funding were considered across two categories: Connected Communities – Major Programs (up to $25,000) and Capacity Building (up to $10,000).

12.    Applications were assessed against a range of criteria including the social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits of each project, and their capacity to contribute towards a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive local government area. Consideration was also given to the projects’ alignment with identified community needs and strategic alignment with Council’s Operational Plan, Community Strategic Plan.

13.    Applications were also assessed for their viability under the restrictions placed around public gathering in relation to COVID-19.

14.    The Community Grants Panel met on 18 May 2020 to review and assess the applications. The panel comprised six Councillors, with four in attendance; the Director Community and Culture (as delegated by the General Manager) as Chair; and the Internal Auditor as probity advisor. Two Councillors were an apology for this meeting. Following the Community Grants Panel meeting, all Councillors were provided with the Panel recommendations.

15.    The projects recommended by the Panel are able to be carried out under the current COVID-19 restrictions, and deliver significant community benefit during this time. Each project was assessed on its individual merit against the set selection criteria and has the capacity to assist vulnerable members of the Georges River community, connect individuals and groups to help reduce social isolation and/or support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of a diverse section of our community.    

16.    The Panel recommended 2 (two) projects in the Connected Communities – Major Programs category to the value of $30,000, and 16 projects in the Capacity Building category to the value of $91,158, as detailed in Attachment 1.

17.    All recommended applicants do not have outstanding audited financial statements as per the requirement for organisations receiving grants, donations, sponsorships and/or subsidies above $15,000 from Council.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

18.    Within the Georges River Community Grants program budget allocation of $400,000 for the two rounds of funding in the 2019/20 financial year.

19.    Following adoption, funds of $121,158 will be allocated to Round 2 of the 2019/20 Community Grants program.

20.    Unallocated funds of $78,842 have been allocated to a COVID-19 recovery program to support local community and not-for-profit organisations in the Georges River community in accordance with the criteria in the Georges River Council Grants, Donations and Sponsorship Policy, as part of the Georges River Council Economic and Social Recovery Plan, as endorsed by Council on 25 May 2020 (COM019-20). 

21.    Successful grant applicants will be reminded of the requirement for audited financial statements for organisations with documented grants, donations, sponsorships and/or subsidies above $15,000.

RISK IMPLICATIONS

22. Enterprise risk/s identified and management process applied.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

23.     Community engagement was conducted including: two Community Grants information sessions held in February 2020; during the application process; and as part of the grant acquittal process. Feedback from previous applicants and staff was applied to the implementation and continuous improvement of the SmartyGrants management system.

FILE REFERENCE

D20/123730

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Community Grants - 2019-20 Round 2 - Summary of applications and recommendations

 


Georges River Council -         Community and Culture - Tuesday, 9 June 2020

COM022-20            Georges River Council Community Grants Program 2019/20 Round 2

[Appendix 1]          Community Grants - 2019-20 Round 2 - Summary of applications and recommendations

 

 

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