Council to tighten policy on gifts

Late last month, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said the changes to the Local Government Act were another step forward for transparency and accountability for the state’s local government sector.

Previously, the Local Government Act only required disclosures of gifts and contributions to travel in the receiver’s annual return.

At the City’s February council meeting, Councillor Christine Cunningham put forward a motion for the council to independently establish a retrospective disclosure policy to October 2015.

Cr Cunningham said establishing a strict policy was important, calling it urgent.

“I believe we want to be best practice in transparency and accountability,” she said.

“I think this is urgent and timely and I don’t see any reason to wait (to implement a policy).”

At tonight’s meeting, councillors will vote on a stringent policy that could require members to disclose statutory items within seven days and electoral gifts within three.

The statement for the policy, titled Disclosure of Gifts, Benefit, Hospitality or Sponsorship, said implementation of the policy could improve safeguards against members or employees improperly using their office directly or indirectly to gain advantage.

It stated that registers of all offers of gifts, benefits, hospitality and sponsorship would be kept and made available on the City website in accordance with this policy.

Corporate services director Garry Adams said Canning was committed to openness and transparency.

“The City of Canning has drafted a disclosure policy that not only meets the new legislated requirements, but goes beyond the legislated requirements,” Mr Adams said.

“The draft policy will be presented at the (council tonight). The required online registers will be available after that date.”

A draft copy of the policy is available online.