Information flow and interactions between Members of Council and Staff Procedure

Purpose statement

This procedure provides a framework for information flow and interactions between Members of Council and staff that leads to respectful, productive and harassment-free working relationships.

Scope

This procedure applies to all staff and Members of Council of the Town of Oakville (town).

Principles

  1. Council Speaks by Resolution – Council is the elected voice of the citizens of Oakville, sets policy and provides direction to the administration by Council resolution. The Chief Administrative Officer is the head of the administration.
  2. Fiduciary Responsibility - Council as a whole exercises fiduciary and representative responsibilities concerning the operations of the town in partnership with an administration that is neutral, objective, and professional.
  3. Open and Clear Communication – Open lines of communication are essential. Members of Council and staff should feel comfortable speaking to one another about their work both formally and informally. Formal communications channels exist to raise and manage operational and administrative issues.
  4. Respectful Workplace – The town is committed to maintaining a healthy, safe and supportive workplace, free from discrimination and harassment.
  5. Operate in a working partnership to produce the best results and outcomes for the town and always for the collective public interest of the town.

Guidelines

The flow of information between staff and Members of Council should promote the principles of transparency, accountability and when required, confidentiality. Open lines of communication are essential; however, formal communication channels exist to raise and manage operational issues and should be respected.

Members of Council:

  1. May request input from senior management prior to making policy decisions and discuss issues and advise senior management of questions prior to Committee or Council meetings. This will facilitate better informed debate and evidence based decision making;
  2. May consult with the appropriate member of management staff prior to responding to constituents’ concerns or requests to ensure accurate information regarding town policies, service levels, budget, work plans and any previous communications;
  3. May request advice from the Town Clerk or the appropriate member of senior management staff about the appropriate wording of motions, amendments, and formal directions to staff;
  4. May direct questions and concerns regarding routine matters to Service Oakville or to staff responsible for the work with a copy to the Department director;
  5. May direct questions and concerns regarding non-routine matters and/or requests expected to exceed two (2) hours of staff time to the Department director;
  6. May submit requests for information under the “Request for Reports” section of the Council agenda.

Members of Staff:

  1. Will ensure that Council is apprised of known issues, in advance, that may impact upon its decision making process in a timely manner;
  2. Will provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity utilizing their professional expertise;
  3. Will apprise members of Council of known issues, in advance, regarding town events, meetings and actions that may impact residents in their respective wards in a timely manner;
  4. Will provide committees and/or Council with the implications of recommendations which may impact on services or corporate wide work plans and related capacity issues and give effect to the lawful decisions, policies and procedures of Council;
  5. Will seek management approval for certain activities requested by a member(s) of Council beyond their normal scope of responsibility, established procedures or service levels;
  6. Will comply with applicable legal obligations.

Responsibilities

Members of Council are responsible for following the protocols outlined in this procedure.

Staff is responsible for assisting individual members of Council by providing them with necessary information and assistance in the discharge of their elected responsibilities, within the parameters established by this procedure.

The CAO is responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this procedure and initiating appropriate processes and remedies to address the issue.

Definitions

The following terms shall have the following meanings in this procedure:

Management staff means all staff at the supervisor level or higher.

Member means a member of Council for the Town, including the Mayor.

Non-routine matter means a communication, request for information or service that is not typically undertaken in the ordinary course of business, and/or for which there is no routine process, procedure, guideline or convention to guide members and staff.

Routine matter means a communication, by a Member of Council with a member of staff, in person, in writing, by phone, by text or by other electronic means, which

  • In the ordinary course of business constitutes a type of communication that would typically occur between a member of the public and staff;
  • Constitutes a request for information that is routinely produced by the member of staff in the course of their duties; or
  • Constitutes a request for a service that is routinely done by staff in the course of their duties and which requires no expenditure of unbudgeted resources.

Senior management” means all staff at the director level or higher.

Staff means a Town of Oakville employee as well as any other individual working on behalf of the town. These other individuals may include contractors, consultants, volunteers, students, and agents of the town.

Procedure details

Procedure Number: G-GEN-008-001
Parent Policy: G-GEN-008
Section: Governance
Sub-Section: General
Author: Clerk's Department
Authority: Council
Effective Date: 2 Apr 2019
Review by Date: 2024


 

References

Employee Code of Conduct
Council Code of Conduct
Access to Records and Information Policy
Access to Records Procedure
Municipal Act, 2001
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act