Promoting Diversity in Local Government
Year of Women in Local Government 2010
Women are under-represented at elected and senior staff levels in local government. To address the need for systemic and cultural change, the Year of Women in Local Government was established by the LGMA to provide a clear focus and opportunity to build the business case for the increased participation of women in local government and to implement strategies to measure objectively the success of councils in meeting firm targets.
The objectives of the Year of Women in Local Government were:
- raise awareness of the significant role women play in the effectiveness and long-term health of local government, and the need to increase their participation. This will be addressed by promoting – through practical examples and dissemination of research – the benefits of increasing the participation of women and embracing gender equity at both elected and executive levels
- foster commitment to local government becoming an ‘employer of choice’ for women through advocating for cultural and attitudinal change to remove barriers to the advancement of women
- encourage councils, through a range of communication channels, to establish targets to:
- increase the participation of women in decision making roles in local government; and
- increase participation of women in management and leadership training and mentoring programs in local government
- establish communication, support and developmental structures that can be kept current and remain available post-2010 to maintain the momentum of the year.
2008 Local Government Election Result Survey Report - Candidates and councillors
Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on women in local governmentThe Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Women in Local Government has been established by the Minister for Local Government and Minister for Women to oversee the implementation of two Action Plans to increase the representation of women in local government in NSW. The Action Plans were developed by two groups of industry stakeholders at a meeting convened by the Ministers in March 2008.
The objectives of the Advisory Council are to review, develop, progress and monitor the implementation of:
- an Action Plan focused on increasing and improving the representation of women among elected council representatives and
- an Action Plan focused on increasing and improving the representation of women among senior council staff.
The Advisory Council meets twice yearly.
Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Women in Local Government - Report on implementation of Action Plans
- The Hon Barbara Perry MP, Minister for Local Government (Co-chair)
- The Hon Jodi McKay MP, Minister for Women (Co-chair)
- Ms Jenny Aitchison, President, Women's Network (Hunter NSW)
- Clr Jan Barham, Local Government Association of NSW (LGA representative)
- Ms Monica Barone, CEO, Council of the City of Sydney
- Clr Colleen Fuller, Gunnedah Shire Council
- Ms Julie Griffiths, Director of Women's Issues, United Services Union
- Ms Penny Holloway, Local Government Managers Australia of NSW
- Ms Kerry Hunt, President, The Development and Environmental Professionals' Association
- Clr Esme Martens, Mid-Western Regional Council
- Clr Karen McKeown, President, Australian Local Government Women's Association
- Clr Bruce Miller, President, Shires Association of NSW
- Ms Simone Schwarz, Ryde City Council
- Ms Alexandra Shehadie, Acting Executive Director, Office for Women's Policy, Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Mr Ross Woodward, Chief Executive, Division of Local Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet (ex-officio)
An Advisory Council Working Group on the 2010 Year of Women in Local Government was established to develop and oversee initiatives for the Year. The Working Group met in February 2010 and projects it is working on included the following:
- compiling a booklet of inspirational stories from women in local government, including employees, managers and elected representatives. The stories will reflect the diverse roles and backgrounds of women in local government, with the aim of encouraging other women to consider local government roles themselves
- establishing a mentoring program and on line discussion forum for women councillors
- contributing to this Promoting Diversity webpage, for example, compiling examples of good practice in relation to family friendly and flexible work practices
- LGSA Cultural Awards held in April 2010
- Shires Association E Division Annual Conference held in March 2010
- Shires Association A Division Annual Conference held in February 2010
- Local Government Association Annual Conference held in October 2009
- LGMA Annual Conference held in September 2009
- Shires Association Annual Conference held in June 2009
- 27.05.10 - Minister addresses Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's women's network
- 14.03.10 - Meet your typical councillor (2008 Candidates and Councillors Report)
- 08.03.10 - Great women recognised at major awards
- 25.02.10 - New webpage designed to promote diversity throughout NSW
- 21.12.09 - Councils encouraged to promote Year of Women in Local Government
- 30.11.09 - Last chance to nominate great women in local government for 2010 awards
- 29.03.09 - Minister announces members of new committee designed to encourage women into local government
- 16.03.09 - Women in Local Government award winners announced
EEO Management PlanningEEO management plans are required under the Local Government Act 1993 and should form part of a council's workforce management strategy.
Section 345 of the Local Government Act sets out the requirements for council EEO management plans and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 sets out the requirements for reporting on activities to implement Council’s EEO management plan.
By approaching workforce planning in a strategic way a number of aims and statutory requirements can be addressed in a single process to ensure that all aspects of Council’s operations are appropriate and effective. These include EEO management planning and practising social justice principles as well as the principles of multiculturalism so that Council’s workforce reflects the diversity of the community.
- EEO Management Planning good practice guidelines [DLG/LGMA - forthcoming]
- Defining Diversity (DPC) includes information on the benefits and risks of a culturally diverse workplace
- What is EEO website (DPC)
- Workforce Planning includes information on Equity and Diversity (DLG)
Family-friendly/Flexible Work PracticesThe provision of family-friendly/flexible work practices is an important way that councils can use to attract and retain talented staff as well as elected representatives, both male and female. Using family-friendly and flexible work arrangements includes building a supportive culture that recognises that employees have care responsibilities and seeks to accommodate them; implementing flexible work arrangements (eg flexitime, part time work, job-sharing, flexible rostering and meeting times, and making time up later); implementing leave provisions such as paid family, personal or carers’ leave; allowing flexible use of recreation leave; offering unpaid leave for single days or block periods; allowing working from home on a temporary or long-term basis; and encouraging supervisors to promote flexibility.
- Family-friendly work practices (DLG/JMAC)
- Family-friendly work arrangements (DEEWR)
- Flexible Work Arrangements – A How to Guide (EOWA)
- Flexible Work Practices - Policy and Guidelines (DPC)
- Introducing Workplace Flexibility (NSW Industrial Relations)
- Flexible work arrangements (NSW Industrial Relations)
Mentoring/LeadershipA number of mentoring programs are available for members of different diversity groups in relation to standing for election as councillors and also to develop and retain individual employees.
- NSW LGSA Women's Mentoring Program - Tools and References for Candidates and New Councillors (LGSA)
- What do mentoring programs look like? (EOWA)
- Report on the Evaluation of the Aboriginal Mentoring Program (DLG)
- Mentoring Program (DPC)
DLG Social Justice FrameworkThe Division actively practises the principles of social justice in the way it conducts its own business activities but also works to promote them and encourage and support local councils to practise them in their day-to-day activities.
The Division’s key internal social justice planning document is the Social Justice Framework 2008–2012.
The Framework was developed by our Social Justice Committee in consultation with staff and management. It brings together several important documents aimed at improving employment access and participation for various social justice groups, including:
- General Social Justice Strategy (for those actions relating to multiple social justice groups) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Employment and Development Strategy
- Women’s Employment and Development Strategy
- Disability Action Plan
- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) - Annual reporting and management plan and
- Multicultural Policies and Services Plan
The Framework is also provided for the information of councils as one possible model to assist in developing a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of these groups.
DLG Social Justice Framework 2008-2012
- Local Government Act 1993 (Part 4 - Equal Employment Opportunity)
- Community Relations Commission and Principles of Multiculturalism Act 2000 (Sections 3 and 4)
- Anti-Discrimination Act 1977
Useful links and Resources
- Workforce Planning (DLG)
- Family-friendly work practices (DLG/JMAC)
- Preventing Discrimination and Harassment website (DPC) includes information on understanding legal obligations, how to prevent bullying in the workplace and good practice examples
- Complaints, disputes and employee relations - information about harassment and bullying, complaints and dispute resolution
- Office for Women's Policy (DPC) - publications relating to the employment of women in the public sector
- Anti-Discrimination Board - resources for employers, managers and staff, including Guidelines for Employers and Managers, Guidelines for Non-Supervisory Staff, Community Workers Guidelines, Grievance Procedure Guidelines and sample policies.
- Community Relations Commission For a Multicultural NSW - includes information on the Multicultural Policies and Services Program (formerly EAPS) and the publication Ethnic Affairs in the NSW Public Sector: Resource Handbook for Chief Executive Officers and Senior Managers
- Ageing, Disability and Home Care (Human Services)
- Aboriginal Affairs NSW (Human Services)
- Commission for Children and Young People