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Local governments are required to make numerous decisions every day to properly discharge their powers and responsibilities.

To enable local governments to focus on strategic issues, reduce the amount of meeting time required and address circumstances in which the majority of councillors must leave a council meeting due to a material personal interest or conflict of interest, local governments can delegate many of those decisions by resolution.

The Local Government Act 2009 and the City of Brisbane Act 2010 allow local governments to delegate their powers by resolution to:

  • the mayor
  • the chief executive officer
  • a standing committee or joint standing committee
  • the chairperson of a standing committee or joint standing committee
  • another local government for the purposes of a joint local government activity.

Brisbane City Council can also delegate its powers to the Establishment and Coordination Committee.

Local governments cannot however delegate a power which is required to be exercised by resolution under an Act.

Local governments that support the use of delegations find they can respond more effectively to the community and provide for timely, consistent decisions to be made. A local government can still however choose to exercise a power themselves even after a power has been delegated.

Once a power is delegated, the delegate has the authority to use the power and does not need to seek further approval or endorsement before exercising the power.

When a local government (except Brisbane City Council) delegates its powers to the chief executive officer, the local government must review those delegations annually.

Delegations by mayors

Mayors, other than the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, can delegate their powers to another councillor.

However, mayors cannot delegate:

  • the power to direct the chief executive officer or senior executive employees to another councillor
  • a power delegated by the local government if the local government has directed the mayor not to further delegate the power.

Delegations by chief executive officers

Chief executive officers can delegate their powers to an appropriately qualified local government employee.

However, chief executive officers cannot delegate:

  • a power delegated by the local government if the local government has directed the chief executive officer not to further delegate the power
  • the power to keep registers of interests for councillors and senior executive employees.

Delegations register

The chief executive officer must establish a register of delegations that records all delegations made by the local government, mayor and the chief executive officer.

The delegations register must be available for inspection by the public and must contain the following information:

  • the name or title of the person, or the name of the committee, to whom powers are delegated
  • a description of the powers delegated, including the provisions under a local government related law permitting or requiring the exercise of the powers
  • if the delegation is by the local government, a summary of the resolution by which the power was delegated including:
    • the date of the resolution
    • a summary of any conditions to which the delegation is subject
    • if the resolution is numbered - its number.