Employee support for councillors
To ensure accountability and transparency, legislation which commenced on 12 October 2020 introduced requirements for councils that wish to employ ‘councillor advisors’ and ‘councillor administrative support staff’ to help councillors complete their duties. Only certain councils prescribed by Regulation will be able to appoint councillor advisors.
There are also obligations for councillor advisors and administrative support staff themselves.
Summary of council employee types
|CEO||Council employees||Administration support||Councillor advisor|
Only 15 councils are permitted under local government regulations to employ councillors advisors. This includes the larger category 4-8 councils (as prescribed by the Local Government Remuneration Commission) and Brisbane City Council.
Requirements for councils include the following:
- must vote to pass a resolution to create councillor advisor positions (except Brisbane City Council)
- appoint advisor, at the discretion of councillors and only until the councillor’s term ends, unless re-appointed by a new councillor
- must report the costs of councillor advisors to the community, for example through the council’s annual report
Requirements for advisors include the following:
- must submit registers of interests and keep them up to date
- must follow a new Code of conduct for councillor advisors in Queensland (PDF, 242KB)
- must comply with the local government principles (PDF, 106KB) and can be found guilty of integrity offences
Advisors can also download the code of conduct supporting information (PDF, 215KB) to help comply with their responsibilities under the code of conduct.
Administrative support staff
Some councillors have support staff to help with administration tasks such as managing their calendar and appointments, answering phone calls and emails, filing, or helping prepare for council or community meetings or events. The type of activities undertaken by administrative support staff is broad and is a matter for each council.
Councillors and councillor advisors can only direct administration support staff strictly in accordance with guidelines developed by their council as required by the new legislation. This generally will mean that administrative support staff can only be directed to undertake administrative tasks and cannot be used to help with the councillor’s future re-election or other ‘campaigning’ tasks.
Supporting information to assist councils with the development of guidelines is available on the resources for CEOs and council officers pagepractice information page.
Difference between support staff and advisors
|Councillor administrative support staff||Councillor advisors (larger councils only as prescribed by Regulation)|
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Last updated: 17 Aug 2022