Local Government Standards Panel

The standards panel has the authority to make binding decisions to resolve allegations of minor misconduct submitted by a local government.

​​The Local Government Standards Panel was established in 2007 to:

  • Administer justice and resolve complaints relatively quickly.
  • Provide the local government sector with guidance and benchmarks about acceptable standards of behaviour.

The standards panel has the authority to make binding decisions to resolve allegations of minor misconduct submitted by a local government. It deals with complaints about council members who it is alleged have committed a breach of one or more of the provisions of the Rules of Conduct Regulations. The panel is independent of the Minister for Local Government and the department.

The standards panel also has the jurisdiction to deal with misconduct allegations that relate to conduct at meetings under the provisions of a local government's Standing Orders Local Law. The standards panel has no jurisdiction to deal with complaints made against local government employees.

Minor breach findings

Minor breaches of the Local Government Act 1995 are dealt with by the Local Government Standards Panel.

Adverse findings will be published once the relevant appeal period to the State Administrative Tribunal has expired.

Evidence and proceedings

The standards panel does not have investigative powers; findings and decisions of the panel are made on the basis of the information it receives. Proceedings are normally held in private (for example usually parties to a complaint and members of the public are not in attendance). However, the panel may, if it considers the circumstances warrant, hear evidence and conduct its deliberations in the presence of the parties concerned.

Additionally, the panel may, if it considers the circumstances warrant, request the parties to a complaint undertake mediation. The willingness of the respondent to participate and the outcome of the mediation will be considered by the Panel when determining how the breach, if a breach if found, is dealt with.

If the standards panel finds that a breach has occurred, it may deal with the complaint by dismissing it or ordering that the council member:

  • publically apologises;
  • is publically censured; or
  • undertakes training.

The standards panel may issue an order that imposes two or more of these sanctions and can order a council member found to have breached, to reimburse the costs incurred by the local government for the standards panel proceeding.

Natural justice in determining complaints

The standards panel ensures that procedural fairness is accorded to any elected member who is the subject of a complaint.

Members

The standards panel comprises three members:

  1. An officer of the department who is the presiding member.
  2. A person who has experience as a member of a council.
  3. A person with relevant legal knowledge.

The current panel members are:

Presiding member

Mick Connolly, Deputy Director General, Local Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

Local government member

Paul Kelly, councillor, Town of Claremont

Councillor Paul Kelly has extensive local government experience. He has been councillor for the Town of Claremont since 1995 and deputy mayor for more than 10 years. He was deputy president of the Western Australian Local Government Association and a State councillor of the organisation for 11 years. He is a director on a number of boards, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and works as executive director of a regulatory authority.

Legal member

Emma Power, Principal, Power Commercial Legal

Emma Power graduated with a law degree from Murdoch University in 2004 and has been working predominately in property, development, corporate and commercial law since that time. Prior to studying law Mrs Power was a secondary school teacher teaching visual arts. In 2017 Mrs Power became the principal of the private law practice Power Commercial Law. In 2017 Mrs Power was appointed to the Liquor Commission and in 2018 she became a member of the Racing Penalties Appeals Tribunal.  

Administrative support

The department provides administrative, case management and legal research assistance to the standards panel.

Enquiries and complaints

For enquiries related to the Local Government Standards Panel, please email minorbreachcomplaints@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Local Government Complaints Officers can also submit complaints via this email address.

Page reviewed 09 July 2019