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The Sunlight Series

Practical steps councillors and senior council staff can take to boost local government transparency and good governance

Practical steps councillors and senior council staff can take
to boost local government transparency and good governance

About the Sunlight Series

The Sunlight Series is a collaboration between Australia's best known transparency advocate, Stephen Mayne, and Our Community, the leading provider of governance programs for Australian not-for-profit organisations.

Stephen cut his teeth during what he describes as "a four-year governance nightmare" as a councillor at the City of Manningham, experience he applied as a governance reformer during a four-year stint on the City of Melbourne.

Stephen strongly believes that "sunlight is the best disinfectant". As a City of Melbourne councillor, he chaired the finance and governance committee and leveraged a balance of power situation into Australia's most comprehensive governance reform program. During his eight-year stint as a councillor, Stephen was invited to speak on governance and transparency issues by councils and local government peak bodies across Australia.

The Sunlight Series turns Stephen's very fresh experiences and highly effective practices into lessons that can be applied by any local government councillor or senior staff member across Australia.

In both the Seminar and Workshop, Stephen will recount his war stories, while extracting key lessons for those seeking to avoid the pitfalls and stay ahead of both public sentiment and regulatory truncheons.

Stephen will avoid hypothetical situations and the endless complexities of Victoria's Local Government Act. He will name names and give real life examples of governance snafus across Australia, explaining how to avoid trouble and drive reform.

Key Takeaways

  • Save yourself some reading – get across the latest regulatory reports and good practice recommendations on local government transparency (know what you need to know about the latest Auditor General and Ombudsman reports)
  • Hear war stories and insights from Australia's best-known and most successful local government transparency and good governance advocate
  • Provide practical models for understanding the different roles of councillors and officers, and real life best practice and worst practice examples of how the two groups interact
  • Join a community of local government practitioners (both elected and appointed) committed to transparency and better governance
  • Learn how to neutralise the squeaky wheels, build consensus and make good, defendable decisions at a time when trust in elected officials has hit record lows
  • Receive a checklist of steps (divided into quick wins, good practice and cutting edge reforms) you can take to evolve into a more transparent organisation
  • Gain free Associate Membership to the Institute of Community Directors Australia, unlocking access to a range of governance help sheets, templates and tools
  • Gain access to an online, members-only local government transparency forum
  • (Workshop participants only) Get pointers on key areas of strength and weakness in your council's transparency and governance credentials, and learn what you need to do to get ahead of the pack

About the Presenter

Stephen Mayne

Stephen Mayne is Australia's best known transparency advocate and shareholder activist. A Walkley Award winning journalist, he was also the Kennett Government staffer who blew the whistle on poor governance in the 1990s, founded Australia's best known ezine www.crikey.com, and then went on to spend eight years in local government.

This culminated in leading a sweeping transparency reform program at City of Melbourne, which transformed a relatively secretive council into arguably Australia's most transparent.

After asking questions at more than 400 public company AGMs and running for 48 boards to drive governance reforms, Stephen now also sits on the board of the Australian Shareholders' Association, which campaigns for transparency and good governance at public companies.

Over a 27 year career, Stephen has taken on everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Frank Lowy, Kerry Stokes, Kevin Andrews and Eddie McGuire, always arguing for honest practice, good disclosure and fair dealing.

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