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MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR LOCAL COUNCILS IN NSW

Under the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW, Councillors and certain council officials are required to disclose their personal interests in publicly available returns of interests.

These operate as a key transparency mechanism for promoting community confidence in council decision making, whether by councillors or by staff or others under delegation.

Councillors and designated persons must complete and lodge a Form of Written Returnt. Designated persons include:

  • the general manager
  • senior staff, and
  • staff, delegates of councils or members of committees who the council identify as exercising functions that could give rise to a conflict of interest.

Returns must be submitted within three months of being elected or becoming a designated person and a new return must be submitted annually (within three months of the start of each financial year).

All returns of interests are to be lodged with the council’s general manager and tabled at the first council meeting after the last day the return was required to be lodged.

In accordance with the Office of Local Government Circular 19-21, the Information and Privacy Commission has issued guidelines requiring returns be published on council’s website.

Complaints about breaches of these requirements are to be referred to the Office of Local Government (OLG) and may result in disciplinary action by the council, the Chief Executive of OLG or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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