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Councils can delegate many of their decisions so that they can focus on strategic issues or when needed because councillors have conflicts of interest and cannot participate in decision-making.

The Local Government Act 2009 and the City of Brisbane Act 2010 allow councils to pass a resolution to delegate their powers 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.

Points to note:

  • Local governments cannot delegate a power that is required to be exercised by resolution under an Act.
  • A local government can 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.
  • Brisbane City Council can also delegate its powers to the Establishment and Coordination Committee.
  • 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 to another councillor
  • change a delegated power 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 the power to keep registers of interests for councillors and senior executive employees
  • change a delegated power if the local government has directed the chief executive office not to further delegate the power.

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, any conditions and the reference numbers for the resolutions (if applicable).