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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

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					FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT




 ANNUAL STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS

    Prepared in accordance with Section 14(1)(a)
      Freedom of Information Act 1989 (FOI)
                             30 JUNE 2009
                     FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

                       STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS - JUNE 2009


CONTENTS                                                                                            PAGE NO.

1.   INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................1

2.   FUNCTIONS OF SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL ..................................................2

3.   STRUCTURE OF SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL .................................................3
     3.1 Mayor
     3.2 Councillor
     3.3 General Manager
     3.4 Divisional Structure

4.   OUR COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY .........................................................5
     4.1 Our Purpose
     4.2 Our Direction
     4.3 Our Commitment to Our Community
     4.4 Our Commitment to Our People

5.   PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN POLICY FORMULATION ...........................................6

6.   DECISION MAKING .............................................................................................6

7.   DOCUMENTS HELD BY SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL .....................................7
     7.1 Strategic and Statutory Planning Information
     7.2 Policies
     7.3 Operational Files
     7.4 General Publications
     7.5 Council’s Web Site

8.   ACCESS TO COUNCIL DOCUMENTS ....................................................................9
     8.1 General Statement
         8.1.1 Provision of Information - General Statement
         8.1.2 Overall Responsibility
         8.1.3 Viewing at the Customer Service Centre
         8.1.4 Limitations to Information Provided
         8.1.5 Copyright
     8.2 Freedom of Information Act
     8.3 Local Government Act
     8.4 Privacy & Personal Information Protection Act
                               1. INTRODUCTION


In accordance with Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (FOI),
Sutherland Shire Council has produced its annual Statement of Affairs as at June 2009.

The purpose of the document is to provide members of the community, staff of the
organisation, and the public generally with information concerning:

    the structure and functions of the Council;

    the way in which the functions of Council affect the public;

    the ways by which the public are able to participate in policy, and decision
     making;

    the types of documents and records held by Council;

    how the public may access documents and records.

A “Summary of Affairs” as required by the Act has also been produced. The Summary
of Affairs is produced on a six-month basis and is published in the Government
Gazette.

The Statement and Summary of Affairs are available free of cost from the Manager -
Administration.




                       Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs                Page 1
          2. FUNCTIONS OF SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL


Under the Local Government Act, 1993 (Section 8) Council must among other things,
give consideration to:

    Providing directly, or on behalf of other levels of government, adequate, equitable
     and appropriate services and facilities for the community
    Ensuring that provided services are managed efficiently and effectively
    Exercising community leadership
    Exercising its functions in a manner that is consistent with and actively promotes
     the principle of cultural diversity
    Properly managing, developing, protecting, restoring, enhancing and conserving
     the environment of the area for which it is responsible, in a manner that is
     consistent with and promotes the principles of ecologically sustainable
     development
    The long term and cumulative effects of its decisions
    The fact that it is the custodian and trustee of public assets
    Effectively accounting for and managing the assets for which it is responsible
    Facilitating the involvement of Councillors, members of the public, users of
     facilities and services and Council staff in the development, improvement and
     coordination of local government
    Raising funds for local purposes by way of rates, charges and fees, investments,
     loans and grants
    Keeping the local community informed about its activities
    Ensuring that, in the exercise of its regulatory functions, it acts consistently and
     without bias
    Being a responsible employer.

The role of Council, however, extends well beyond these statutory considerations.
Council provides an important focus and rallying point for the community. They can
be the vehicle for harnessing local concerns about specific issues, or for pursuing their
community’s visions and ideas. A community will look to its Council to protect it from
potential natural dangers, and for support in times of need.




                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs             Page 2
          3. STRUCTURE OF SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL


3.1   Mayor

      The Mayor occupies a special position in local government. The role of the
      Mayor presides at meetings of the Council.

      ▪     Exercise such other functions of the Council as the Council has delegated
      ▪     Carry out the civic and ceremonial functions of the mayoral office
      ▪     Where necessary, exercise the policy-making functions of the Council
            between meetings of the Council.

      The office of the mayor is important, as the mayor is considered to be not only
      the voice of the Council, but also the leader of the local community.


3.2   Councillor

      The role and responsibilities of a Councillor can be divided into two main
      categories (Local Government Act, 1993 - Section 232):

            1.   As a member of the governing body, each Councillor is required to
                 participate in the decision making processes that guide and govern the
                 affairs of the Council;

            2.   As an elected representative of the community.


3.3   General Manager

      The General Manager is responsible for:
      ▪   efficient, effective operation of the Council organisation and day-to-day
          management
      ▪   ensuring Council decisions and policies are implemented, and overseeing this
          process
      ▪   appointing, directing and dismissing staff
      ▪   implementing the Council’s equal employment opportunity management
          plan.


3.4   Divisional Structure

      Sutherland Shire Council’s Corporate Structure includes the following functional
      divisions and units:

      Corporate Services Division
      The Corporate Services Division provides administration and financial support
      services to the organisation.



                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs              Page 3
Engineering Division
The Engineering Division undertakes roads and parks maintenance and
construction.

Environmental Services Division
The Environmental Services Division advises the Council on land use planning
and development assessment.

Community and Recreation Division
The primary role of the Community & Recreation Services Division is directed
towards community development and facility management.

Property Division
The Property Division has responsibility for all sales, acquisitions, leasing and
licensing of commercial and community properties, halls management, plans of
management and project management.

Corporate Development Unit
Corporate Development is a specialist consultancy unit involved in systematic
planning, implementing, monitoring and review of business processes, systems
and organisation reform.

Strategic Planning Unit
The Strategic Planning Unit has the responsibility to facilitate planning for the
future of the Sutherland Shire.




                  Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs              Page 4
              4. OUR COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY


4.1   Our Purpose

      To provide community leadership translating the Shire Vision to improve
      lifestyles, wellbeing and the environment.


4.2   Our Direction

      Council will, through an open and accountable partnership with the community:

      ▪     pursue ecologically sustainable development, meeting the needs of the
            present generation without compromising those of the future
      ▪     demonstrate organisational delivery of integrated services and be
            environmentally, socially and economically responsible and accountable
      ▪     manage resources to maintain financial viability and enhance service
            provision
      ▪     promote access, equity and a sense of community.


4.3   Our Commitment To Our Community

      Community Satisfaction
      The highest priority is given to satisfying the needs and expectations of our
      community.

      Management by Fact
      Our analysis of problems, decisions, performance measurements and other
      actions is based on fact and sound judgment.

      Continuous Improvement
      Individually, in teams and as an organisation, we are committed to ongoing
      improvement.

      Ethics
      We will promote sound, legal and honourable practice in the conduct of Council
      business.


4.4   Our Commitment to Our People
      We will respect each other as individuals, encourage teamwork, provide a safe
      caring workplace, with equal opportunities for promotion and development.




                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs                 Page 5
        5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN POLICY FORMULATION

Sutherland Shire Council is proactive in the manner in which it encourages public
participation in the formulation and exercise of its functions. Major policies and
applications are advertised and submissions are invited and considered prior to adoption
by Council. Precinct Residents Associations have been established in each of the main
areas providing the opportunity for the exchange of information between Council and its
community as well as feedback on its direction. The Independent Hearing and
Assessment Panel was introduced in conjunction with a mediation program. These both
focus on resolving residents’ concerns that arise from Development Applications, ensuring
transparency and impartiality in Council’s decision making. Sutherland Shire Council
also has a number of Sub-Committees which deal with a range of issues from the
community and the environment to roads and transport. The Sub-Committee membership
incudes Councillors, community groups and community individuals and provides an
opportunity for involvement in policy formulation.




                              6. DECISION MAKING

The primary responsibilities of Sutherland Shire Council are the planning and
maintenance of the local government area. Decisions made by the Council directly impact
on its residents, land owners and business operators. The actions of all NSW Councils are
guided by the Local Government Act, 1993 and it is under this Act that Sutherland Shire
Council makes and enacts its decisions. Significant policy, planning and strategic issues
are considered and decisions are made by the elected members at a meeting of the
Council. Decisions regarding issues of less significance are made under delegated
authority by relevant staff with appropriate consideration of financial implications.




                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs             Page 6
      7. DOCUMENTS HELD BY SUTHERLAND SHIRE COUNCIL

Council’s document and records management system comprises files, plans and the like
on many matters including property, development and building, legal engineering,
parks and reserves, personnel and minutes of Council meetings.

However, this does not mean that every document held by Council will be made
available automatically. For various reasons (eg. personal privacy, commercial value,
legal privilege) some documents may not be made available without the need for a
formal application under the Freedom of Information Act. Changes to the Local
Government Act and the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act have provided
other forms of access to records held by Council, in particular documentation relating
to building and development approvals. In many cases, it may be possible to gain
informal access, which may involve perusal of application files at Council’s
Administration Centre or by providing copies for public information.

In determining a person’s right to access information, Council is also obliged to have
regard for the provisions of the Privacy and Personal Information Act, and State
Records Act, Council’s Privacy Code of Practice and Council’s own policies on the
release of information.


7.1   Strategic and Statutory Planning Information

      ▪    Local Environmental Plans
      ▪    Sydney Regional Environmental Plans
      ▪    Development Control Plans – Planning Areas and Precincts
      ▪    Section 94, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act – Contribution
           Plans
      ▪    General Development Control Plans and Codes


7.2   Policies

      Council has many policies relating to Governance, ethical behaviour, operational
      matters and staff related matters. In particular, Council has adopted the following
      policies and codes which relate to the provision of information:

      ▪    Customer Response Policy
      ▪    Privacy Management Plan
      ▪    Policy on Keeping the Name of Complainants Confidential


7.3   Operational Files

      Documents and records held by Council are comprehensively listed in the
      Summary of Affairs annexed to this Statement.




                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs             Page 7
7.4   General Publications

      There are many general publications issued by Council. These publications can
      be readily obtained from the Front Counter of the Administration Centre,
      Libraries and the Communications Unit.


7.5   Council’s Web Site

      Other information can be obtained from Council’s web site
      www.sutherland.nsw.gov.au, including:

         Council Business Papers
         Council Library and Community Directory
         A - Z Council Services
         Council
         Your Shire
         Your Say




                       Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs          Page 8
                   8. ACCESS TO COUNCIL DOCUMENTS


8.1   General Statement

8.1.1 Provision of Information – General Statement
      In most circumstances, information may be provided and access given to
      documents by simply making a request either in person or by telephone, as
      Council has a strong commitment to the notion of open government. If a request
      is reasonable and Council is not constrained by legislation and/or the exempt
      provisions of the Act, then wherever possible access will be given informally and
      free of charge.

      If informal access is unable to be given then the applicant will be invited to
      submit a formal application under the provisions of the Act.

8.1.2 Overall Responsibility
      All applications for access to Council’s documents and records are to be directed
      to Council’s Manager - Administration by contacting:

      Telephone            Fax                      Address              Postal Address

      9710 0333         9710 0922           Administration Centre       Locked Bag 17
                                            Eton Street                 Sutherland 1499
                                            Sutherland

8.1.3 Viewing at the Customer Service Centre
      Enquiries can also be made at our Customer Service Centre in the Administration
      Centre, and depending on the availability of the information, an application form
      may need to be completed. No applications are required to view current
      development applications which are out for neighbourhood notification.

8.1.4 Limitations to Information Provided
      Not all information is released. Limitations on information is imposed by
      legislation and Council’s own policies such as the Privacy Management Plan and
      the Policy of not releasing the names of complainants.

8.1.5 Copyright
      Copies of documents will not be provided to applicants if it is determined that it
      would be a Breach of Copyright legislation to make the copies required.

      Council advises applicants that certain information provided may be subject to
      copyright, and is provided for their personal information only in accordance with
      their application. Under Copyright legislation they are obliged to take due care in
      using the information provided for commercial or any other purposes, as
      copyright may be breached.



                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs                  Page 9
8.2   Freedom of Information Act

      * Applications for access to documents under the Freedom of information Act
      should be made in accordance with the requirements of the Act.


8.3   Local Government Act

      * Requests for access to documents under the Section 12 of the Local
      Government Act should be made in accordance with the requirements of the Act.


8.4   Privacy & Personal Information Protection Act

      * Requests for access to documents under the Privacy and Personal Information
      Protection Act and Council’s Privacy Management Plan should be made in
      accordance with the requirements of the Act and Plan.

      Access to information or documentation by a ratepayer regarding their account is
      generally conducted on an informal basis.

      If an amendment is being sought then all requests should be either to the
      Accountant, Rates or Public Officer for procedural information.




* Access to Council’s documents can be arranged through contacting Council’s
Customer Service Counter during office hours where an application form is available.

          Freedom of Information Officer
          Sutherland Shire Council
          Locked Bag 17
          SUTHERLAND NSW 1499
          Phone:      (02) 97100333
          E-mail:     ssc@ssc.nsw.gov.au
          Office Hours: Sutherland Shire Council’s Administration Building is
          located at 4-20 Eton Street, Sutherland and is open between 8:30am and
          4.30pm Monday to Friday.




                        Freedom of Information - Statement of Affairs             Page 10
     Prepared By :
Sutherland Shire Council
      Eton Street
    (Locked Bag 17)
 Sutherland NSW 1499




For Information Contact :
Manager - Administration
 Phone: (02) 97100333

				
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