Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference and Guidelines

(December  2015)

Member Governance Charter

Role

The ACT  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Ministerial  Advisory Council provides strategic advice to the ACT Government on issues  affecting LGBTIQ communities in the ACT.

The work of  the council reflects the aim of the ACT Government that Canberra becomes a  socially and culturally inclusive community that celebrates its diversity and  makes Canberra the most LGBTIQ-friendly city in Australia. The Council will  monitor the progress of achievements towards this objective through  consultation with the LGBTIQ community and relevant organisations.

Terms of Reference

The Council  is to:

  • Undertake research and provide advice on matters referred by the  Minister for Community Services or raised through community consultation.
  • Identify priorities and develop a work program of actions to  advance the interests of LGBTIQ communities.
  • Liaise and consult with LGBTIQ communities, service providers and  key stakeholders and act as a link between these stakeholders and the ACT  Government on relevant issues.
  • Disseminate and communicate (in person, electronically or  otherwise) information to community interest groups on the business of the  Council.
  • Seek advice from LGBTIQ communities, obtaining diverse views on existing  or proposed law or policy changes developed by the ACT or Commonwealth  Government, including how such law or policy may impact the day-to-day lives of  community members.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative networks with other Ministerial  advisory bodies and relevant ACT Government agencies.
  • Provide an annual report on the progress of work undertaken by the  Council to the Minister for Community Services.

Structure

The Council  will consist of a minimum of 7 to a maximum of 12 members, excluding the Chair  and Deputy Chair. All members, including the positions of Chair and Deputy  Chair, will be appointed by the Minister for Community Services.

Composition and Representation

Council  members will consist of individuals from the various LGBTIQ communities in the  ACT whom satisfy the selection criteria.

Executive Committee

The  Executive Committee consists of the Chair and the Deputy Chair and is  responsible to the Minister for leading the Council in the development and  execution of its work program.

Selection Criteria

The Minister  for Community Services may consider the composition of the Council as a whole  when selecting members to ensure that the Council represents the broad spectrum  of people in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer communities  in the ACT. In addition to ensuring that the Council is composed of members who  hold knowledge and expertise about each of these communities, the Council will include  (where appropriate) people with disabilities, people of diverse cultural and  linguistic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people  of different ages and from different locations.  The Office for Women and the Office for  Multicultural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs will be consulted  prior to appointments being made.

The  selection criteria for the Council are:

  • Demonstrated  commitment to an inclusive community.
  • Demonstrated  knowledge of the interests and concerns of Lesbian, Gay,  Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or Queer people and stakeholders, recognising that  each member may have particular expertise with one or more specific communities  within the LGBTIQ acronym.
  • Ability to  consult and represent a wide range of views of Lesbian,  Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or Queer communities in the ACT.
  • Commitment  to participate fully in Council activities.
  • Ability to  contribute to Council processes and consultation activities.

Terms of Appointment

Appointments  will be for up to 3 years, unless otherwise determined by the Minister for  Community Services.

No member  may serve more than two terms.

The Council  may form sub-committees to undertake specific work and / or co-opt individuals  with expertise for particular tasks.

The Minister  should aim, where possible, for a 50% rotation of members each term.

The Minister  has the power to appoint persons to casual vacancies in accordance with the  selection criteria.

Leave of Absence and Apologies

Where a  member is unable to attend a meeting, that member should submit an apology to  the Secretariat (Community Services Directorate) and the Chair stating the  reason for the absence;

Where a  member does not submit an apology and does not attend a meeting, they will be  recorded as absent;

Proxies  and/or observers will not be accepted to replace the absent member;

Members’  terms may be cancelled if they fail to attend 3 consecutive meetings  (regardless of whether an apology has been recorded).

Members may  apply to the Chair for a Leave of Absence of up to three months from the  Council. The Chair may grant any such application if it is permissible within  the operational needs of the Council.

Applications  for a Leave of Absence for longer than three months must be submitted to the  Minister and will be granted at the discretion of the Minister. Where a leave  of absence has been granted for more than three months, the Minister may  appoint a casual replacement for the duration of the leave granted.

Vacation of Office

Members may  resign from the Council at any time provided they notify the Minister for Community  Services in writing, stating their intention to resign from the Council, with a  copy to the Chair, at least four weeks prior to the date of resignation. The  appointment of replacement members is at the discretion of the Minister for Community  Services.

Role of the Chair

The role of  the Chair is to:

  • Act as a  public spokesperson for the Council.
  • Facilitate  orderly and constructive discussions between members on matters within the  Council’s Terms of Reference.
  • Assist  members to work together as a group by facilitating discussion; ensuring all  members have equal opportunity to contribute ideas, opinions and concerns; and  drawing participation from all members.
  • Maintain a  positive and constructive atmosphere at Council meetings by encouraging courtesy,  respect and openness.
  • Ensure that  any action required is appropriately assigned.

General Meetings

  • The Council  is to meet 4-6 times per year. Additional working meetings may be formed if  necessary.
  • A draft  agenda will be developed prior to each meeting by the Secretariat in  consultation with the Chair. In developing the agenda, consideration will be  given to the references provided from the Minister to the Council. The agenda  should have clear objectives that will advance the Council’s work program.
  • The agenda  and related papers are to be circulated to members no less than one week prior  to the meeting.
  • Meetings are  to be facilitated by the Chair, or in their absence, the Deputy Chair; or in  their absence, a member. Whenever possible, decisions of the Council are to be  made by consensus, or if consensus cannot be reached, by a majority vote of  those members present. Diversity of opinion on issues will be reflected in any advice  provided to the Minister.
  • A member who  abstains from voting or dissents from the majority ruling can request to have  their action recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
  • At each  meeting, Council members are to provide brief reports on consultations they  have attended or held and any significant issues arising.

Quorum

In order for  decisions to be made at meetings there is to be a quorum of no less than half  the total current number of members plus one.

Confidentiality

Unless indicated  otherwise, all Council papers, documents and minutes are confidential.

Members may,  on occasion, be provided with other confidential material, which they should  not disclose to anyone outside the Council and should treat with the utmost  care and discretion.

Breach of  these confidentiality requirements may result in termination of a member’s  appointment, at the discretion of the Minister.

Final  documents, minutes and decisions can be made available to the public under the  Open Government Policy.

Secretariat Support

Secretariat  support to the Council will be provided by the Community Services Directorate.  The Secretariat is responsible for:

  • Developing  agendas (for Council meetings and other business involving the Directorate and  members of the Council) in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chair.
  • Assisting  Council members to prepare agenda papers and submit business to the Council.
  • Distributing  the agenda and meeting papers in appropriate formats.
  • Taking  minutes, clearing them with Council members, revising as needed, producing them  in the required format and distributing them, normally within two weeks of a  Council meeting.
  • Monitoring  action items arising from Council business and assisting in their  implementation, including liaising between the Council and Government agencies.
  • Supporting  members to complete paperwork for reimbursement, ensuring information is  verified (for example, meetings attended) and submitted to the Secretariat.
  • Arranging  appropriate venues for meetings held outside Community Services Directorate  premises and arranging refreshments for meetings within budget.

Official Business and the Representation of Council Views

The Chair  and the Deputy Chair will be deemed to be on Council business when representing  the Council at meetings and forums and when attending to the operation of  Council and meeting with ACT Government representatives and such other business  as may reasonably be required in discharging the Council’s Terms of Reference.  The Chair and the Deputy Chair may represent existing Council policy in the  public domain, including the media, as needed to discharge the Council’s Terms  of Reference.

A member  will be deemed to be on official duties:

  • While attending  meetings of the Council
  • While  undertaking a task at the request of Council or as a representative of the  Minister responsible for Community Services (these tasks could include  representing the Council on other committees, working parties and seminars).

Reasonable  costs incurred by members during such activities will normally be met by the  per diem Community Engagement payment, but can be considered on a case by case  basis.

Member(s) on  official business outside of meetings are expected to reflect the existing  policies of the Council and shall report on the matter to the Council at the  meeting following the event or by a report sent to the Council.

Formal  speeches and papers to be delivered by a member on behalf of the Council or the  Minister; submissions to inquiries and committees; and significant  correspondence will be cleared through the Chair prior to their presentation  and a copy made available to the Secretariat.

All contact  with the media on behalf of the Council should only be by the Chair, or  pursuant to explicit delegation from the Chair. Any information to be released  to the media on behalf of the Council will need to be cleared through the  Chair.

Business Between Meetings

The Chair  may write and sign letters and conduct business between meetings on behalf of  the Council, and the Secretariat should be provided with copies of all  correspondence.

he Chair may delegate these operations to the Deputy Chair (or  other members) as needed. All submissions and significant correspondence (for  example, a response to a statutory body) should be cleared through the Chair.

Members are  expected to advise the Secretariat when they have completed agreed actions  arising from previous meetings.

Out of Session Matters

Council may  deal with matters out of session.

Where an  urgent response is required from Council members between meetings, the Chair  must endeavour to alert members to the relevant business via email, text  message or other appropriate means, providing a clear timeframe for response.

Where a  matter requiring resolution is to be dealt with in an out of session paper,  agreement by two thirds of Council members is required for assent.

Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct

Conflict of  interest is defined as any instance where a Council member has a direct  financial or other interest in matters under consideration or proposed for  consideration by the Council.

Council  members are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct,  including honesty, courtesy, fairness and conflict of interest, as outlined in:

A member  must disclose to the Chair any situation that may give rise to a conflict of  interest, a potential conflict of interest, or a potential perceived conflict  of interest. The Chair will make the determination whether there are adequate  grounds for excluding a member from any related discussion or decision making  regarding a conflict of interest issue.

Conflicts of  interest that may be sufficient to justify the termination of a member’s  appointment must be considered by the Minister. In such a situation, the Chair  has the power to suspend the person’s membership until the Minister’s agreement  is obtained.

Termination

The Minister  retains the discretion to terminate a member’s appointment to the Council upon  notice of not less than four weeks for reasons including breach of confidentiality,  breach of attendance requirements, failure to disclose a conflict of interest  and/or breach of the Code of Conduct.

Remuneration of Expense

From  commencement of the council, the Chair will be paid at a rate determined by the  ACT Remuneration Tribunal per diem.

The Deputy  Chair and members will be able to access a $50 Community Engagement payment, to  a maximum of 6 claims per member per annum. The Deputy Chair or members acting  in the role of the Chair will be eligible for the Remuneration Payment per  diem. Payments will be coordinated by the Secretariat.

Reimbursement  is in recognition of the work undertaken by members of the Council to fulfil  its role. Members are expected to actively contribute to the work of the  Council, including: supporting the Chair and Deputy Chair; taking part in  community consultations and other business; maintaining links with the  community; and acting in accordance with the provisions of these Guidelines.  The Community Engagement Payment Policy and claim forms are available from the  Council Secretariat.

Contact Details

Secretariat:
ACT  LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council
Community Services Directorate

Address:GPO Box 158
CANBERRA  ACT  2601

Phone:  (02) 6207 2343
Fax:  (02) 6207 5862
Email: LGBTIQCouncil@act.gov.au

Member Governance Charter

This Charter  operates in conjunction with the Council’s Formal Terms of Reference.

Individual Responsibility

Members acknowledge that they are appointed    as individuals, not organisational representatives, and that they are    individually accountable for adhering to the charter set out below.

Respect and Courtesy in all Dealings

Members    must be respectful in all their dealings with other Members, the Secretariat    and any individuals with whom they come into contact with through their    Council role. All members agree to maintain a positive and constructive    atmosphere at Council meetings by encouraging courtesy, respect and openness.
Council    members are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct,    including honesty, courtesy and fairness as outlined in the ‘ACT Public    Service Code of Conduct’ (October 2012).

Confidentiality

Members acknowledge that unless otherwise    indicated, all Council papers and minutes are confidential. From time to    time, Council may decide that certain information will be marked for release.    Such decisions must be minuted. Because of their Council role Members may, on    occasion, be provided with other confidential material, which they should not    disclose outside of the Council and should treat with the utmost care and    discretion.

Conflicts of Interest

Members must disclose to the Chair any    situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest, a potential conflict    of interest, or a potential perceived conflict of interest. The Chair will    make a determination as to whether there are adequate grounds for excluding a    member from any related discussion or decision–making process.

Quorum

Members note that at meetings, decisions may    only be made when there is a quorum of no less than half the total current    members plus one.

Apologies

Where a member is unable to attend a meeting,    that member must submit a timely apology to the Secretariat stating the    reason for their absence.

Out-of-Meeting Business

Council may deal with some matters out of session.    Where an urgent response is required from Council members between meetings,    the Chair must endeavour to alert members to the relevant business via email,    text message or other appropriate means, providing a clear timeframe for    response. Members agree, where possible, to respond within this timeframe, at    a minimum confirming that they have received the correspondence and    preferably providing feedback or a ‘nil comment’ response.

Media Engagement

All contact with the media on behalf of the    Council should be by the Chair, or pursuant to explicit delegation from the    Chair. Any information to be released to the media on behalf of the Council    must be cleared through the Chair.

Government  policy on boards and committees seeks to achieve and maintain 50%  representation of women on all government boards and committees, and also  increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people  with a disability, persons from culturally and linguistically diverse  backgrounds and community organisations’, ACT  Government Boards and Committees Handbook 2009