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Group to guide council’s management of information

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Group to guide council’s management of information


Management of council information to reflect legal obligations and community expectations

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A new committee is set to help Sunshine Coast Council classify and manage information, advising when to keep details confidential.

Expressions of Interest have opened for three qualified people to join Mayor Mark Jamieson, Councillors Maria Suarez and David Law and council Chief Executive Officer Emma Thomas to oversee a best practice review to enhance the availability of council information.

The group will also advise when it is appropriate that information is classified as confidential.

“As one of the largest local governments in Queensland, our council generates and receives significant information relating to its decision making, how it deals with customers and clients and how it delivers projects, activities and resources,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“In all cases, and as a matter of practice, council seeks to balance the public interest in making the majority of information it holds accessible to the community, while also considering the public interest that is served by managing certain information in a confidential manner.

Mayor Mark Jamieson.

Division 9 Councillor Maria Suarez said the review was intended to provide a contemporary framework for how council classifies its information in a way that reflected both its legal obligations and community expectations.

“Council has had in place, since 2012, an Information Access and Management Policy that establishes the sensitivity classifications for information, but that policy is outdated and is not necessarily reflective of contemporary information classification and management practices or community expectations,” she said.

“A key aspect of this review is to provide better clarity on the classification, management and accessibility of information which is considered by council.

“At the same time, the review should seek to improve understanding of the circumstances when information should be maintained on a confidential basis – and for how long this should be the case.”

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Division 10 Councillor David Law said the committee would benefit from having, among its members, people who were independent of council, but with relevant expertise and experience in information classification, management and access regimes.

The review should clarify what type of information is available to the public.

“It is important the stewardship of this review benefits from contemporary and innovative ideas and approaches and that is what we will be seeking in the people who fill the roles of the three independent members of the steering committee,” he said.

“Our council prides itself on leading the way in so many areas and our approach to the classification and management of our information should be no different.

“This review is an opportunity for council to set new benchmarks in this area and there will be at least two specific opportunities throughout the course of the review where the community will be invited to contribute their views and ideas.”

Expressions of Interest can be submitted via council’s careers page on the council web site and will close Friday, March 25.