AGENDA


Finance and Governance Committee

 

Tuesday, 09 June 2020

6.00pm

 

Online Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 2

 

          Finance and Governance Committee

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: Finance and Governance Committee - 11 May 2020

8.      Committee Reports

FIN023-20         Investment Report as at 30 April 2020

(Report by Senior Financial Accountant - Reporting)............................................. 3

FIN024-20         Treatment of Confidential Information at Georges River Council

(Report by Manager, Office of the General Manager)........................................... 21

FIN025-20         Administrative Matter - Execution of Documents Under Delegation Authority, June 2020 Report

(Report by Manager, Office of the General Manager)........................................... 26

FIN026-20         Adoption of Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy 2020

(Report by Manager Governance and Risk)........................................................... 28

FIN027-20         Business Continuity Plan and Contingencies in Respect to COVID-19

(Report by Director Business and Corporate Services)........................................ 52  

 

 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 9

Committee Reports

Item:                   FIN023-20     Investment Report as at 30 April 2020 

Author:              Senior Financial Accountant - Reporting

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council receives and notes the contents of the Investment Report as at 30 April 2020.

 

Executive Summary

1.      This report details Council’s performance of its investment portfolio as at 30 April 2020, and compares it against key benchmarks.

2.      This report also includes the estimated market valuation of Council’s investment portfolio, loan liabilities and any required update on Council’s legal action against various parties.

3.      Council’s annualised rate of return is 1.93% which is 0.81% above benchmark. Income from interest on investments totals $2.2m which is $517,000 lower than the 2019/2020 year-to-date adopted budget.

Background

4.      Council’s Responsible Accounting Officer is required to report monthly on Council’s Investment Portfolio and certify that the Investments are held in accordance with Council’s Investment Policy, Section 625 of the Local Government Act (NSW) 1993 and Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

Investment Performance Commentary

5.      Council’s performance against the benchmark for returns of its investment portfolio for April 2020, are as follows:

 

1 Month

3 Month

12 Month

Portfolio Performance

0.26%

0.33%

1.93%

Performance Index

0.05%

0.22%

1.12%

Excess

0.21%

0.11%

0.81%

Notes:                                                      

a)      Portfolio performance is the rate of return of the portfolio over the specified period.

b)      The Performance Index is the rate of return of the market (comparable securities) over the specified period.        

c)      Excess performance is the rate of return of the portfolio in excess of the Performance Index.

6.      Council’s investment portfolio as at the end of April was as follows:

Security Type

Market Value $000's

% Total Value

At Call Deposit

446

0.32%

Consolidated Cash Fund

6,544

4.67%

Covered Floating Bond

1,010

0.72%

Flexi Deposit (Fix/Float)

6,000

4.28%

Floating Rate Deposit

5,000

3.57%

Floating Rate Note

37,812

26.98%

Term Deposit

77,041

   54.97%

Managed Funds Trust

6,301

4.50%

Total Cash and Investments

140,154

100.00%

 

7.      At the end of March 2020, Total Cash and Investments were $147m and have decreased by $7 million at the end of April 2020.

8.      Council continues to utilise the Federal Government’s current guarantee ($250,000) investing in Term Deposits with a range of Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADI’s) on short to medium term investments (generally 30 days to 180 days maturity).

Legal Matters

9.      Georges River Council is participating in a Group Class Action against Fitch Ratings Inc., in respect of losses suffered on the Corsair (Cayman Islands) No.4 Ltd Series 6 Kakadu Collateralised Debt Obligation (CDO) notes. Council suffered a capital loss of $214,812 on these investments dating back to December 2006, and will seek damages of the capital loss including lost interest as part of the action. There is no update on this matter, in terms of an outcome as at 30 April 2020.

Borrowings

10.    Council’s loan liability, as at 30 April was $1.25 million, which represents the balance of a $5m/10 year loan drawn down on 16 November 2012 for the Jubilee Park upgrade in Mortdale. The next repayment of $125,000 is due on 24 June 2020.

11.    The outstanding balance on this facility is at a variable interest rate of 194 basis points above the three month BBSW. At the current three month BBSW rate, the interest rate payable is 2.11% pa.

12.    Council receives a 4% p.a. subsidy under the NSW Government’s Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme funding agreement for the Jubilee Park upgrade facility. It is intended to continue this financially-advantageous arrangement through to full term in 2022.

Policy Limits

13.    The graph below shows the Investment Rating limits, as a percentage of total cash investments, which are allowed under Council’s Investment policy. It also compares them to the amounts actually invested, as a percentage of the total cash investments. It shows that the funds invested are within the limits set in the Investment Policy.

 

Investment Income

14.    Income from interest on investments to 30 April 2020 is $2.2m, which is $517k lower than the 2019/2020 year-to-date adopted budget.

15.    Investments have been made in accordance with the Local Government Act (1993), Minister’s Guidelines, Regulations and Council’s Investment Policy.

Analysis of Investments

Investment Duration

Investment Term

Market Value ‘000

% Total Value

Policy Limits

0 to < 1 Year

61,183

43.65%

100%

1 to < 3 Years

72,471

51.71%

70%

3 to < 5 Years

6,500

4.64%

50%

Portfolio Total

140,154

100.00%

 

 

16.    Council’s portfolio is liquid, with 43.65% of assets maturing within 12 months. FRNs, At-Call Funds and Fixed Bonds also provide additional liquidity in an emergency.

17.    The following graphs show analysis of the total cash investment by institution:    


 

Type of Investments

18.    The majority of Council’s investment portfolio is made up of fixed term deposits, which account for approximately 55% of total investments.

19.    Bank Floating Rate Notes (FRN) offer liquidity and a higher rate of income accrual, which is highly recommended by our Investment Advisors (CPG Research & Advisory).

20.    The following are the types of investments held by Council:

a)      Cash and Call Accounts refer to funds held at a financial institution and can be recalled by Council either same day or on an overnight basis.

b)      An FRN is a debt security issued by a company with a variable interest rate. This can either be issued as Certificates of Deposit (CD) or as Medium Term Notes (MTN). The interest rate can be either fixed or floating, where the adjustments to the interest rate are usually made quarterly and are tied to a certain money market index such as the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

c)      A Fixed Term Deposit is a debt security issued by a company with a fixed interest rate over the term of the deposit.

d)      A managed fund is a professionally managed investment portfolio that individual investors can buy into, purchasing 'units' rather than shares. Each managed fund has a specific investment objective. This is usually based around the different asset classes (cash, fixed interest, property and shares). The money you invest is used to buy assets in line with this investment objective. When you invest in a managed fund, you are allocated a number of 'units'. The value of your units is calculated on a daily basis and changes as the market value of the assets in the fund rises and falls.

* These managed funds have been grandfathered since the NSW State Government changed the list of Approved Investments as a result of the Cole enquiry (which was reflected in the Ministerial Order dated 31/7/2008).

Credit Rating

21.    Credit ratings are generally a statement as to an institution’s credit quality. Council’s Investment Advisors (CPG Research & Advisory) use Standard & Poor’s Credit ratings to classify the investments held by Council. Ratings ranging from AA to BBB (Short Term) & AA to BBB (long term) are considered investment grade.

22.    A general guide as to the meaning of each credit rating that Council deals with is as follows:

Short-term

AA:            The best quality companies, reliable and stable. An obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is very strong.

A:               The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions.

BBB:          Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments.

Unrated:   This category includes unrated Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI’s) such as some Credit Unions and Building Societies to the extent not Commonwealth-guaranteed. No rating has been requested, or there is insufficient information on which to base a rating.         

Long-term

AA:            Quality companies, a bit higher risk than AAA. An obligor has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest-rated obligors only to a small degree.

A:               Economic situation can affect finance. An obligor has strong capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligors in higher-rated categories.

BBB:          Medium class companies, which are satisfactory at the moment. An obligor has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

Unrated:  This category includes unrated Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI’s) such as some Credit Unions and Building Societies to the extent not Commonwealth-guaranteed. No rating has been requested, or there is insufficient information on which to base a rating.

23.    The credit quality of Council’s portfolio is relatively high with approximately 86% of assets rated ‘A’ or higher. The ‘AAA’ assets represent the deposit investments covered by the Federal Government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS).

24.    The remaining 14% rated ‘BBB’ or ‘unrated’ reflects the deposit and FRN investments with the regional and unrated ADIs.

Council’s Investment Powers

25.    Council’s investment powers are regulated by Section 625 of the NSW Local Government Act (1993), which states:

·        A council may invest money that is not, for the time being, required by the council for any other purpose.

·        Money may be invested only in a form of investment notified by order of the Minister published in the Gazette.

·        An order of the Minister notifying a form of investment for the purposes of this section must not be made without the approval of the Treasurer.

·        The acquisition, in accordance with section 358, of a controlling interest in a corporation or an entity within the meaning of that section is not an investment for the purposes of this section.

26.    Council’s investment policy and strategy requires that all investments are to be made in accordance with:

·        Local Government Act 1993 - Section 625.

·        Local Government Act 1993 - Order (of the Minister) dated 12 January 2011.

·        The Trustee Amendment (Discretionary Investments) Act 1997 – Sections 14A (2), 14C (1) & (2).

·        Local Government (Financial Management) Regulation 1993.

·        Investment Guidelines issued by the Department of Local Government.

Financial Implications

27.    Income from interest on investments totals $2.2m, which is $517k lower than the 2019/20 year-to-date adopted budget.

Risk Implications

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

29.    Council’s enterprise risk identified was ‘poor financial management adversely impacts Council’s long term financial sustainability’. The risk has been managed by Council’s management of investments in accordance with the relevant act and regulations, along with Council adopted Investment Policy. To further minimise the risk, Council will progressively move towards the placement of investments only in investments rated A or above.

Community Engagement

30.    No community consultation is required as a result of this report. Members of the community are able to attend and address Council at the Council meeting in relation to this matter in accordance with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.

File Reference

D20/108942

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Investment Report as at 30 April 2020

 


Georges River Council -         Finance and Governance Committee - Tuesday, 9 June 2020

FIN023-20              Investment Report as at 30 April 2020

[Appendix 1]          Investment Report as at 30 April 2020

 

 

Page 13

 


 


 


 



 


 


 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 22

Item:                   FIN024-20     Treatment of Confidential Information at Georges River Council 

Author:              Manager, Office of the General Manager

Directorate:      Office of the General Manager

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

(a)     That Council receive and note the information contained within this report.

(b)     That Council consider including the improvements outlined in this report, in the relevant Codes, Policies, Procedures and practices of Council at the appropriate review dates.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      At its Extraordinary Meeting of 11 February 2019, Council considered a report titled ‘Jubilee Stadium Naming Rights Expression of Interest Process Complaint by Mr Norman Sarraf’ (CCL002A-19). Within the attachment to this report, a recommendation was made to Council by HWL Ebsworth Lawyers that Council review its processes and policies concerning the protection of confidential information.

2.      At its Ordinary Meeting of 23 April 2019, Council resolved that the General Manager prepare a report providing details of the measures currently in place to ensure the security and maintenance of confidential information provided to Councillors.

3.      This report has been prepared in accordance with Council’s resolution from 23 April 2019 (NM025-19).

MATTERS THAT ARE TO BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL

4.      Section 10A(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 (‘Act’) permits a Council or a Committee of Council to close a meeting, or part of a meeting, to the public if it is to consider confidential information.

5.      Section 10A(2) of the Act prescribes the only permissible reasons for a Council or a Committee of Council to close a meeting, or part of a meeting, to the public. Those reasons are;

(a)     personnel matters concerning particular individuals (other than councillors),

(b)     the personal hardship of any resident or ratepayer,

(c)     information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business,

(d)     commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed -

i.        prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it, or

ii.       confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council, or

iii.      reveal a trade secret,

(e)     information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law,

(f)      matters affecting the security of the council, councillors, council staff or council property,

(g)     advice concerning litigation, or advice that would otherwise be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of legal professional privilege,

(h)    information concerning the nature and location of a place or an item of Aboriginal significance on community land,

(i)      alleged contraventions of any code of conduct requirements applicable under section 440.

6.      Council’s Code of Conduct provides as follows in relation to the release of confidential information:

Use of Certain Council Information

8.9      In regard to information obtained in your capacity as a Council Official, you must:

a)    only access Council information needed for Council business

b)    not use that Council information for private purposes

c)    not seek or obtain, either directly or indirectly, any financial benefit or other improper advantage for yourself, or any other person or body, from any information to which you have access by virtue of your office or position with Council

d)    only release Council information in accordance with established Council policies and procedures and in compliance with relevant legislation

Use and Security of Confidential Information

8.10    You must maintain the integrity and security of confidential information in your possession, or for which you are responsible.

8.11    In addition to your general obligations relating to the use of Council information, you must:

a)    protect confidential information

b)    only release confidential information for the purpose it is intended to be used

c)    only release information if you have authority to do so

d)    not use confidential information gained through your official position for the purpose of securing a private benefit for yourself or for any other person

e)    not use confidential information with the intention to cause harm or detriment to your Council or any other person or body

f)     not disclose any information discussed during confidential session of a Council or Committee meeting or any other confidential forum (such as, but not limited to, workshops and briefing sessions)


 

COUNCIL OFFICIAL

7.      A Council Official is defined in Council’s Code of Conduct as;

“Includes councillors, members of staff of a council, contractors, administrators, community members of wholly advisory committees, members of the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC), members of reference panels, council committee members, delegates of council and council advisers.”

MEASURES IN PLACE TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION PROVIDED TO COUNCIL OFFICIALS

Induction and Training

8.      As part of the comprehensive Councillor Induction Program, which was offered to all current Councillors in September 2017 (and is ongoing), Councillors were asked to sign two documents;

·    An Oath or Affirmation

In accordance with Section 233A of the Act, all Georges River Councillors were asked to sign an ‘Oath’ or an ‘Affirmation’ of office.

All Councillors agreed to undertake the duties of the office of Councillors in the best interests of the Georges River Council area and the Georges River Council and that they will faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in them.

·    A Councillor Confidentiality Agreement

All Councillors signed an agreement that they understand the requirements of them as Councillors in accordance with the Act, the Council’s Code of Conduct and other laws imposing restrictions in relation to the disclosure and use by them of information obtained in their role as a Councillor.

9.      Council staff and contractors enter into similar confidentiality arrangements when accepting their terms and conditions of employment and enter into contracts of appointment.

10.    Council Officials are offered regular training on the Code of Conduct and other governance matters. Such training is offered annually or when amendments are made to the Act, Code of Conduct, other policies related to the governance of Council.

Business Papers

11.    All business papers are provided to Councillors on the Councillor Portal and are published in both HTML and PDF format.

12.    When drafting a report, Council Officers are to consider if the report is to be classified confidential (pursuant to Section 10A(2) of the Act) and thereby removed from the publically available portion of the business paper.

13.    When there are confidential items, Council’s electronic corporate system (InfoCouncil) automatically applies a ‘confidential’ watermark across the published papers.

14.    In the instances where a request has been made for printed copies of a business paper, publically available documents are printed on white paper and confidential documents are printed on blue paper. This provides Council Officials with immediate recognition of confidential and restricted information.

15.    Where a Council report has been be classified as confidential (pursuant to Section 10A(2) of the Act) the entire report and all attachments are restricted and not available for public circulation.

16.    Where an attachment to a Council report has been classified as confidential (pursuant to Section 10A(2) of the Act) but the covering report is appropriate for public circulation, only the relevant attachment/s are restricted.

17.    Council Officials are provided with secure document destruction bins for business paper disposal.

Councillor Workshops / Briefings

18.    Councillor Workshop / Briefing presentations are provided to Councillors on the Councillor Portal and are published with a confidential watermark.

19.    The format of the presentations prohibits the documents being able to be forwarded, saved, printed or copied in any form.

Council and Committee Meetings

20.    Section 13 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice specifies the grounds on which a meeting of Council can be closed to the public. These reasons reflect Sections 10A(1) and 10A(2) of the Act.

21.    When a meeting of Council resolves itself into Committee of the Whole and moves to a closed confidential session, all members of the public and the press are asked to leave the meeting room.

22.    After the public and press have exited the meeting, the meeting room doors are closed and the webcasting ceases, to allow Council Officials to deliberate the confidential matters.

Webcasting / Broadcasting of Council and Committee Meetings

23.    Clause 4.18 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice stipulates that all meetings of Council are to be webcast, with the exception of closed confidential sessions.

24.    When the meeting of Council moves to a closed confidential session, Council Officers cease the public webcast / broadcast of the meeting.

Electronic Document Management System (CM9)

25.    When a Council Official saves a document or correspondence (Council or Committee reports, internal documents, emails, employment documentation, incoming or outgoing correspondence) in Council’s Electronic Document Management System (CM9), specific security / restrictions can be applied to ensure confidentiality.

26.    Documents can be restricted to certain people or certain positions within the organisation.

27.    To prevent the manipulation of Council business papers (confidential or otherwise), documents are not provided in searchable PDF or MS Word. This ensures the integrity of the information provided to Councillors and the community.

Executive Team Meetings

28.    As with Council and Committee Meetings, Executive Team meetings can also move into a closed confidential session if the matter to be discussed is deemed confidential pursuant to Sections 10A(1) and 10A(2) of the Act.

29.    Confidential items for the consideration of the Executive Team are circulated on a separate document to the ‘standard’ agenda and electronic versions of this confidential documentation is saved in secure CM9 folders.

General

30.    Councillors are provided with individual lockers, with PIN code access. These lockers are for the personal use of each Councillor and provide a safe location for document delivery and return.

POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS TO DOCUMENT / INFORMATION SECURITY

31.    Council could consider the following additional measures to further improve the treatment of confidential information at Georges River Council;

·        Cease hard copy printing of business papers

·        Prohibit the taking of photos of confidential information / presentations during Councillor Workshops / Briefings

·        Prohibit the recording (audio or visual) of any meeting, briefings, workshops, or part thereof on mobile phones

·        Provide a standard template to allow Council Officials ease of reporting any contact with potential tenderers during expression of interest or tender processes

·        To strengthen Council’s current Communications and Media Management Policy, establish a register requiring all Council Officials to formally register all contact with media outlets (including contact that has been declined)

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

32.    No budget impact for this report.

RISK IMPLICATIONS

33.    The measures currently being undertaken, in respect to the treatment of confidential information, have been applied in order to mitigate any potential enterprise and operational risk/s.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

34.    Community engagement was not required when preparing this report.

FILE REFERENCE

D20/115856

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 24

Item:                   FIN025-20                    Administrative Matter - Execution of Documents Under  Delegation Authority, June 2020 Report 

Author:              Manager, Office of the General Manager

Directorate:      Office of the General Manager

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council note, for the period 1 May 2020 to 31 May 2020, there were five (5) documents executed by the General Manager under delegation.

 

Executive Summary

1.      At its meeting on 24 February 2020, Council resolved that the General Manager report to Council any lease, contract or hire agreement (excluding staff contracts) executed under delegation.

REPORT

2.      Council at its meeting on 24 September 2018, delegated to the General Manager the General Manager’s Delegations (Instrument of Delegation) as attached to this report.

3.      During the period 1 May 2020 to 31 May 2020 the following documents have been executed by the General Manager under Delegation.

Community Leases

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

20 May 2020

Licence

23 St Georges Road, Penshurst (part of)

27 May 2020

Lease (request for early termination)

70 Vanessa Street, Beverly Hills

Premium Facilities

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

26 May 2020

Contract – Q20/063 Sound System Design and Installation

Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Commercial Leases

Date Executed

Document Type

Premises

05 May 2020

Lease

Shops 1 and 2, 34 McMahon Street, Hurstville

29 May 2020

Lease (renewal)

Suite 2A, 34 McMahon Street Hurstville

 

Financial Implications

4.      No budget impact for this report.

Risk Implications

5.      No risks identified.

File Reference

D20/117188

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 26

Item:                   FIN026-20                    Adoption of Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy 2020 

Author:              Manager Governance and Risk

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

(a)     That Council adopts the attached Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy 2020.

(b)     That the General Manager be delegated authority to make editorial amendments as required to the policy.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      Council’s Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy (PID Reporting Policy) encourages the reporting of wrongdoing by Public Officials without risk of reprisal. The PID Reporting Policy outlines what type of wrongdoing can be reported, to whom, and how reports of wrongdoing are managed.

2.      Section 6D of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (PID Act) states that Council is required to have a PID policy, and under Section 6E Council must ensure compliance with the policy and meeting legislative and statutory obligations.

BACKGROUND

3.      The PID Reporting Policy (version 1) was adopted by Council on 3 July 2017, with a minor amendment to contact details made on 26 February 2018 (version 2).

4.      Following this, consultation on amendments to the Policy occurred with the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) and the Office of Local Government.

5.      On 23 September 2019, Council resolved to defer adoption of the Draft PID Reporting Policy and present the document to a Councillor Briefing Session for further discussion. 

6.      On 18 November 2019, Officers from the NSW Ombudsman’s Office attended the Councillor Briefing Session and provided an overview of the PID system in Local Government and supported the Draft PID Reporting Policy.

7.      On 24 February 2020 the Draft PID Reporting Policy was again deferred by Council to be presented to a further Councillor Briefing Session for continued discussion. 

8.      Following the 24 February 2020 Council Meeting, a comprehensive legal review of the Draft PID Reporting Policy was completed by Lindsay Taylor Lawyers (LTL), with the following amendments to the policy being recommended and incorporated into the Draft Policy that is now recommended for adoption by Council:

·        Adding the circumstances when PIDs may or will need to be in writing i.e. if being made as a Code of Conduct complaint or to another agency (refer sections 5.2 and 5.3);

·        Adopting a revised definition of Council Official i.e. so that a Public Official is a Council Official within the meaning of the PID Act  (refer Scope and Definitions table);

·        Adopting a revised definition of corrupt conduct  i.e. expanded to align with the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (refer Definitions table); and

·        Clarification of the distinction between Disclosures Coordinator and Alternate Disclosures Coordinators (refer Definitions table and Appendix 1)

9.      On 1 June 2020, Local Government NSW attended a Councillor Briefing Session and delivered an e-learning workshop, which covered Code of Conduct and PIDs. The Draft PID Reporting Policy (Attachment 1) was provided for reference and following discussion on the policy, was supported by Councillors to be reported to the 22 June 2020 Council meeting for adoption.

10.    It is also recommended that the General Manager be delegated authority to make editorial amendments as required to the policy.

11.    This report now recommends that the Council adopt the Draft PID Reporting Policy, which following adoption will become version 3 of the PID Reporting Policy.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

12.    No budget impact as a result of this report.

RISK IMPLICATIONS

13.    This policy assists Council to maintain legislative compliance and to meet its statutory reporting requirements to external reporting bodies. Council has engaged with the relevant investigating authorities and completed a comprehensive legal review, which supported the proposed PID Reporting Policy. Council has completed relevant PID training on 18 November 2019 by the NSW Ombudsman and 1 June 2020 by Local Government NSW. 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

14.    Following Council’s adoption of the Draft PID Reporting Policy, the Policy (version 3) will be published on Council’s website.

FILE REFERENCE

D17/94059

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy - Version 3 for Council adoption 22.06.20

 


Georges River Council -         Finance and Governance Committee - Tuesday, 9 June 2020

FIN026-20              Adoption of Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy 2020

[Appendix 1]          Public Interest Disclosure Reporting Policy - Version 3 for Council adoption 22.06.20

 

 

Page 48

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Georges River Council – Finance and Governance Committee -  Tuesday, 9 June 2020                                             Page 52

Item:                   FIN027-20     Business Continuity Plan and Contingencies in Respect to COVID-19 

Author:              Director Business and Corporate Services

Directorate:      Business and Corporate Services

Matter Type:     Committee Reports

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

(a)     That Council receives and notes the contents of this report.

(b)     That Council continues to receive the updates and monthly reports on decisions made pursuant to the Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor (Emergency Administrative Provisions).

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      The purpose of this report is to provide an update pursuant to the resolution of Council of 20 April 2020, regarding NM017-20 Business Continuity Plan and Contingencies in Respect to COVID-19.

BACKGROUND

2.      Council’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) was activated on 9 March 2020 by the General Manager (GM). The activation occurred after the GM consulted with the Crisis Management Team (CMT), with the activation taking place several weeks prior to the Council meeting held on 20 April 2020.

3.      Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT), who is Council’s risk insurer and a key external stakeholder involved in developing Council’s BCP, was consulted prior to the GM activating the plan. The BCP involves ensuring Council can prepare for and continue to operate after an incident or crisis occurs. Council’s BCP assists with the identification and reduction of risk, where possible, to prepare it for those risks that are uncontrollable.

4.      In order to monitor the evolving situation, the Crisis Management Team met daily (COVID-19 meeting) to discuss relevant matters, including the welfare of staff and the community. Daily reports were produced, which included an overview of critical statistics such as:

i.     Staffing (self-isolation, working from home, redeployment, vulnerable staff (those over 60 and 70 years of age)

ii.    Customer Service

iii.   Children’s Services

iv.   Financial hardship enquiries

v.    Service delivery (waste, aquatics, etc)

vi.   Commercial and Community property lease enquiries

vii.  IMT and digital infrastructure updates

viii. Daily audit of essential staff present in the Civic Centre (PHO gathering restrictions).

 

5.      The daily COVID-19 meetings commenced continued until 15 May 2020. From that date the meetings continued to be held weekly as restrictions were lifted, in line with Public Health Orders.

6.      Each item contained in the Council resolution is listed below with responses being supplied in relation to each item:

 

Resolution Item

Update

(a)  That the General Manager prepare a report that:

i. informs Council on the number of staff (permanent, temporary and casual) engaged by Council that may not have sufficient paid leave to cover a 14 day exclusion from work;

 

i.    Nil. A total shutdown of all of Council’s services did not occur, with the majority of staff able to work from home where possible and for those staff that had duties that were unable to be performed from home, measures were put in place including redeployment, compressed rosters and paid special leave to ensure there were no staff financially impacted.

 

A total of 53 staff were redeployed across the organisation, 27 childcare staff were rotated between the different Centres, Engineering Operations adjusted its roster to a compressed 3 day working week and 138 staff were placed on paid special leave. Two staff members requested not to be redeployed and for personal or medical reasons they requested to be placed on unpaid leave after exhausting their  4 weeks special paid leave.

 

ii.                                              requests that the above information be provided by contractors of Council provided services (e.g. pools, construction work, etc.) and information about their plans for the provision of those services in the event of staff shortages due to exclusions;

 

ii.    Council’s Capital Works Program has continued with minimal delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The contractors for Council’s major contracts, being the Waste contracts, have continued without any disruption to the service. The Waste Contractors have kept Council fully informed of their ongoing operations during the pandemic.

 

Council’s aquatic centres were completely closed on 25 March 2020 pursuant to the Public Health Order. These facilities will remain closed until the NSW government allows the staged reopening to occur.  Closures did not occur due to staff shortages.

iii.   details Council’s plans to continue delivering services, while protecting staff and the public, in the event of a public health emergency and our plans to communicate that information to residents;

iii.          Services such as childcare, libraries, museums and galleries, events, customer service centres, recreation facilities, community facilities, parking  and enforcement, and the operation of some premium facilities were significantly affected, either wholly or in part.

 

Council has continued to deliver our remaining services, while protecting staff and the public, in line with Public Health Orders and Federal and State Government health guidelines.

 

Council continues to update its website and social media platforms to inform the community of all aspects of its current and future operations.

iv.                                              provides a summary of the costs/losses to Council arising from COVID-19 in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years;

 

iv.  As per the statement in Councils 3rd quarter budget review, which was presented to Council at its May Council Meeting, a full “costs and losses” report will be presented to Council at the end of this current financial year. This will enable an accurate assessment of what “costs and losses” Council has actually experienced during the COVID-19 period.

v.                                              recommends any changes to Council policies based on our experience of COVID-19 to improve our response to future serious events; and

v.   The granting of a Special Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor, combined with Council’s BCP, have resulted in the GM having the flexibility to deal with the immediate impacts of the Public Health Orders and government health guidelines which were gazetted, in some instances, every 24 hours.

 

In future, it is recommended that the Special Instrument of Delegation be granted to the Mayor immediately when a pandemic and/or a state of emergency is declared.

 

vi.   investigates options for the delivery of Council services and any other assistance to at-risk groups, including the elderly and infirm, during the crisis.

 

vi. With the temporary closure of Georges River Council facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing Public Health Order restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, Council focused on the provision of services and support of vulnerable members of our community.

During this period the Customer Service Centres at Kogarah and Hurstville continued the safe delivery of telephone and online customer enquiries whilst face to face services were closed.

Elderly residents and other customers, who prefer to pay their rates in person, continued to do so at any Australia Post Office. Customers wishing to submit their hard copy applications and forms or cheque payments in person were able to do so via a secure Council drop-box at the Civic Centre.

Staff continue to provide ‘care calls’ to people in the local government area to support the most vulnerable in the community during the pandemic crisis. This service includes over 50 Home Library Customers who are unable to access services online.

 The purpose of the care calls project was to check on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in the community, such as the elderly and housebound, who are not able to access services online and may feel particularly isolated. The project has now been offered to anyone in the community who feels isolated and wishes to receive regular calls.

Council is also facilitating iPad loans for vulnerable community members, to help them stay in touch with loved ones and access key online support. Council partnered with 3Bridges, Telstra Partners and Moorup Technology to loan pre-loved iPads to self-isolating seniors. The iPads come pre-loaded with key mobile apps and access to government services like Centrelink and Services NSW. Support from Council staff member is offered to help seniors navigate what may be completely new technology.

 

Library Services provide 24/7 access to online collections through the Library website and are now delivering popular programs online.

While Council’s Community Centres remain closed for public gatherings, appropriate venues are available as food relief centres and COVID testing clinics.

Council is able to provide funding to not for profit community service organisations through the Community Grants program or other funding avenues for the delivery of targeted programs to help reduce social isolation, provide access to technology, medical assistance or food relief during the pandemic.

Council’s Children’s Services is now offering e-learning as an extension of their curriculum to ensure all families, regardless of their attendance patterns, still have access to education. This is achieved through Hubhello, our online communication portal.

Finally, all childcare services have implemented a resource library where families can borrow the centre’s physical resources, much like a library borrowing system. These resources have lesson cards to extend children’s learning at home.

(b)  That the General Manager write to LGNSW and the Minister for Local Government to:

 

i. support an agreement between LGNSW, the Minister for Local Government and the representatives of Council workers to provide special leave for all Council employees, regardless of their method of employment, to ensure that they are no worse off if they are required to self-isolate or seek treatment due to exposure to COVID-19;

i.      Prior to this resolution, the GM had granted all staff access to 4 weeks paid Special Leave at their current rate of pay if they could not work during self-isolation or isolation. The 4 weeks Special Leave was granted to be used at full pay and half pay.

Staff were also given the opportunity to take annual leave or long service leave. The cost in relation to this agreement will be included in the “costs and losses” report to Council.

ii.                                             seek funding from the NSW government to assist with the cost of providing special leave as set out above; and

ii. The GM has submitted an application to OLG be considered for the stimulus package to offset some of the costs of providing the Special Leave provision to staff impacted by COVID-19. 

 

 

iii.                                             highlight the public health benefits of providing special leave to all Council workers so that they do not have to come to work when sick in order to pay their bills and keep food on the table.

iii.                                                                    As part of the request for consideration and at the time of preparing the application, Council had 138 staff accessing all or part of the paid special leave. The special leave provision was provided to staff that were unable to perform any duties as a result of COVID-19 business closure. The benefit to staff in receiving special leave was highlighted in the application to the Office of Local Government.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

7.      A further report will be presented to Council with the full budget impact of COVID-19.

 

RISK IMPLICATIONS

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

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

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

10.    Community engagement occurred as detailed within this report.

 

FILE REFERENCE

D20/126861