Appendix A - Accountability and Transparency Policy

Accountability Initiatives, Measures, Activities

In keeping with legislative requirements and the town’s commitment to the principles of accountability, inclusiveness and transparency, the following measures, initiatives and activities are adopted:

FINANCIAL

Financial Systems and Reporting

The Town shall publish its annual audited financial statements and Council shall be provided with quarterly reports on the financial status and program outcomes for the Corporation.

Budget Process

Council shall establish and ensure publication of the town’s operating and capital budgets in accordance with legislative requirements.  Budget committee meetings shall be open to the public and public input shall be encouraged.

Long term financial planning

A review and update of the 10 year financial forecast shall be undertaken annually.

Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB)

Financial records and statements shall be prepared in accordance with the Public Sector Accounting Board regulations.

Internal/External Audit

The Internal Auditor shall conduct internal audits to enhance business processes and to undertake an organizational risk assessment.  The external auditor shall annually audit the accounts and transactions of the municipality and its local boards and express an opinion on the financial statements of these bodies based on the audit.

Both the internal and external auditor shall assist Council in holding itself and its administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds and for achievement of value for money in municipal operations.

Purchasing By-law

The Purchasing By-law shall establish the regulations for the procurement of goods and services and shall protect the interests of the town, public, and persons participating in the procurement process by providing a clear statement of how goods and services are be acquired. The town is committed to the goal that staff be held accountable to purchase the best possible quality of goods and services at the best possible cost while maintaining accountability, fairness, objectivity, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.

Development Charges

The development charges by-law shall be reviewed within each successive 5 year time frame.  A report of the actual expenditures and proposed expenditures under the by-law shall be provided to Council annually.

Sale of Land

Acquisition or disposal of real property shall be addressed in accordance with the provisions of adopted policies and procedures.

GOVERNANCE

Policy Development

Council shall continually address the requirement for the development of new policies and will review existing policies regularly to ensure that the town’s authority is exercised in an open and transparent manner. All approved corporate policies and procedures and relevant corporate information shall be made available to the public by being posted on the town web site.

Council and Committee Meetings – Procedure By-law

Council will uphold the provisions of its Procedure By-law governing the calling, place and proceedings of meetings.  The Procedure By-law provides for public notice of Council and Committee meetings to ensure the public has knowledge of its ability to participate in the decision making process.

Council agendas, reports and minutes are available to citizens on town website. Minutes are recorded at all meetings, including closed meetings.

Annual Oakville Status Report

At a Council Meeting each year the Mayor as chief executive officer shall present the Annual Oakville Status Report. The time required to present the report is not subject to the time requirements of the procedure by-law in order to ensure a complete report may be provided to the public.

Closed Meeting Investigations

Procedures shall be in place to facilitate requests, for the investigation of whether the Council or its local boards have complied with the provisions of the Municipal Act and the Procedure By-law relating to the requirement that all meetings shall be open to the public. The municipality shall follow the provisions for facilitating such requests as outlined in the town’s Closed Meeting Investigations procedure and in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.

Public Notice

The municipality shall keep its citizens informed through legislated public notice requirements and its Public Notice and Engagement Policy and related procedures.  Public notice of meetings and specified municipal government actions, decisions or proposals shall be provided in accordance with policy and legislative requirements.

Code of Conduct for Council, local boards and staff

Members of Council, local board appointees and staff shall abide by and uphold the Corporation Codes’ of Conduct, in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.  The Codes’ of Conduct shall provide Members of Council, board appointees and staff with guidelines for appropriate behaviour and conduct that meet the highest ideals of public service. The objective of these measures is to establish rules of conduct respecting conflict of interest and to minimize the possibility of conflicts arising between private interests and public service duties of public servants.

Council Staff Relations

The municipality shall foster a respectful, productive and harassment-free relationship and workplace between Members of Council and staff. This level of accountability will be upheld through the guidelines provided in the Council Staff Relations policy, in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.

Integrity Commissioner

An Integrity Commissioner shall be responsible for the application of the Code of Conduct and any procedures, rules and policies governing the ethical behaviour of Members of Council and local boards.  The municipality shall uphold this responsibility through established policies and procedures, in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001.

Delegation of Authority

Council shall determine where it is in the best interests of the Corporation and the public to delegate any of its powers and duties to a person or body in accordance with legislative restrictions. Council shall ensure that such delegated authority meets the standards of accountability to the public by including specific limitations on delegation and, in certain cases, reconsideration mechanisms.  In delegating any of its powers and duties, Council shall ensure that clear lines of accountability are established at each level of the Corporation, as necessary, and in accordance with established policies and procedures.

Strategic Plan

The town’s strategic plan will establish the framework for the preparation of annual budget business plans and priorities identifying core business programs, goals and performance measures for each term of Council.  Council shall encourage public participation in the development of the Strategic Plan. An annual assessment of how the town is meeting the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan shall be presented to Council.

Public Participation

Public input and engagement shall be encouraged in accordance with the Public Notice and Engagement Policy, related procedures, and guidelines.

Citizen participation on advisory committees is encouraged to assist Council in the decision making process through the provision of advice.

GENERAL

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Council shall define the duties and responsibilities of the CAO by by-law. The CAO shall be directly responsible and accountable to Council, and shall carry out any and all of the administrative duties and responsibilities as established in accordance with any and all relevant and applicable by-laws and resolutions of Council

Access to Records and Information

The town shall provide reasonable access to records and information within legal limitations and shall actively seek to ensure that such records and information are available on the town web site.  In providing access to such information, the town shall also ensure the protection of individual privacy is upheld.  Where public accessibility to such documentation is unclear, the town shall abide by the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, under which any individual may submit requests for information in the possession of the Corporation.

Corporate Records

Corporate records shall be kept and maintained in accordance with the Corporate Records Retention By-law.

Open Data

The municipality shall support the town’s commitment to open, transparent and accountable government by making town data public in the form of open data. The town will uphold this commitment through the framework established in the Open Data procedure.

Customer Service

Customer Service standards shall be provided and town staff shall be responsible for upholding and adhering to such standards.

Health and Safety

Health and safety programs shall be provided to ensure the continued well being of staff, Council and the public accessing municipal facilities, programs and services.  Workplace safety inspections shall be conducted annually.

Employees

The town shall provide policies and practices for the recruitment, management and development of its employees and shall ensure that legislative requirements and principles are met.

Planning Processes

The town shall provide for and follow adopted planning processes in accordance with relevant legislation to ensure public participation and inclusiveness.

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