The Council is responsible for the overall government of the City’s affairs and the performance of the City’s functions. The CEO is responsible, among other functions, for the management of the day to day administration of the operations of the City, for advising Council and for implementing the decisions of Council. The functions and powers allocated to local governments by legislation are so many and so diverse that it would be unrealistic to expect any Council to make every discretionary decision itself.
Where permitted by legislation, delegation of authority is a practical and prudent mechanism to facilitate timely decisions and to ensure relatively straightforward decisions are made lawfully by a delegate with appropriate technical expertise and experience. Delegations are made by the Council, and by the CEO where permitted, under relevant legislation in order to enable the efficient and orderly performance of the City’s functions. Policies may guide delegates’ decision-making in the interests of consistency and alignment with the City’s values and objectives. In some cases, a State agency or its CEO may delegate specified powers to the local government or certain local government officers.
Delegations are required to be made in writing, and for Council delegations, this takes the form of a resolution that is recorded in the Council Minutes. A delegator does not relinquish its power by delegating it, and may still exercise that power or perform that duty itself or by acting through any employee.
Council delegation is not applicable where the legislation has directly conferred a specified function or power on the CEO or on other specified persons. Some legislation, particularly that with a strong enforcement element, imposes certain functions and duties, or confers specified powers on “authorised persons” who are appointed (individually or as a class of persons) by the local government. Once appointed, authorised persons need no further delegation to exercise those powers within the constraints of the relevant legislation and policies where relevant.
Some legislative provisions may require that a particular power be exercised or a function performed only by a person (or class of persons) explicitly authorised to do so by the local government or its delegate. Authorisation to perform a function does not involve the same level of independent discretion as a delegation. A person authorised to perform that function acts as an agent of the local government within operational parameters such as statutory provisions, policy, procedures or work instructions and may be required to seek approval for certain decisions.
The City of Melville Statutory Delegation and Authorisation Manual 2020-21 is a consolidated reference document containing:
- Statutory delegations made by Council and associated CEO sub-delegations (where these have been made);
- Statutory delegations made by the CEO;
- Statutory authorisations and appointments made by Council;
- Statutory authorisations and appointments made by the CEO under conferred or delegated power;
- Statutory delegations and authorisations made to the City and/or its officers by State agencies;
- Legislative background and operational guidance concerning the use of delegations and authorisations.