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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Access to local council records

The NSW Department of Local Government’s Practice Note 16 on Meetings Practice is primarily about good practice meetings management for local councils, but also includes some comment about information access issues.

Section 1.4 discusses what should or should not be included in Council business papers with a reminder that details of council payments (cheque warrants) should not be listed and copies of plans should not be included (with a comment about the vexed problem of copyright); Section 1.6 is about public access to business papers and charges, reiterating the Department’s views about copying charges. This section has a reminder for councillors that documents held or acquired in the course of civic duties are council documents not personal documents of the councillor.

Section 2.13 is about the tape recording of council meetings.

Those in local councils responsible for information access issues might find these parts of the document useful.

Perhaps other useful guidance is on the horizon. The Privacy NSW website mentions that Fact Sheet No. 6 "Local Government records and the public interest test" has been removed from the website for revision.

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