These fictitious scenarios show a range of potential situations that councils may face where good governance has broken down.
This section outlines twelve different scenarios, highlights were things have gone wrong and provides suggestions for how to tackle the various situations.
How they can affect relationships, undermine the reputation of council, and disrupt decision making processes.
Insisting that a decision is simply ‘common sense’ can prevent proper discussion and debate in council.
Councillors must satisfy themselves that reports are in order, rather than simply accepting one person’s assurances.
Making decisions to satisfy the loudest voices in the community may not consider everyone’s views.
New councillors need to understand that council policies don’t automatically change after an election.
Divisive relationships between councillors and officers can seriously affect the operation of local government.
Frequently split or tied votes on key council decisions can leave the ‘losing’ councillors feeling powerless and alienated.
Leaking confidential information to the media for political purposes subverts the democratic decision-making process.
Appearing to support the community’s view, but then voting in favour of the developer, creates anger and distrust.
Councillors who want to ‘win’ the vote on an issue can try to lead the administration to make a particular recommendation.
Running a council meeting in a way that favours the adoption of a recommendation undermines good decision-making.
Good decision-making processes are critical to good governance.
Goodwill and an understanding of roles contribute to good relationships.
Good governance is about the decision making process, not what the decision is about.