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 category 4-8 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
Only 15 councils are permitted under local government regulations to employ councillor 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) and must state the number of advisors up to the maximum allowed
- must not appoint a close associate of the councillor
- appoint advisor, at the discretion of councillors and only until the councillor’s term ends, unless re-appointed by a new councillor
- must have a written contract of employment with the council providing conditions of employment, functions, and key responsibilities, and when disciplinary action may be taken
- must report the number of councillor advisors appointed by the council and the total costs of councillor advisors to the council for the year in the council’s annual report.
Requirements for advisors include the following:
- must submit registers of interests on appointment and update it within 30 days of any change
- must follow the Code of conduct for councillor advisors in Queensland ( 335.3 KB)
- must not assist with a councillor’s campaign for re-election in a capacity as a councillor advisor
- must not direct council staff
- must comply with the local government principles ( 286.7 KB) and
- must have employment terminated if found guilty of an integrity offence.
Examples of assistance that councillor advisors may provide include administrative support, coordinating media activities, event/function management, policy development and office management.
Advisors can also download the code of conduct supporting information ( 139.2 KB) 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. 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 legislation. 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 page practice information page.
Difference between support staff and advisors
|Councillor administrative support staff
|Councillor advisors (larger councils only as prescribed by Regulation)
Last updated: 25 Jan 2023