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Draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy

By Manly Community Forum
Published in Council
July 11, 2023
3 min read

The Draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy has now closed for submissions, but you can still email council with any complaints. The proposed changes to the Compliance and Enforcement Policy describe a Risk Based Triage Process where all enquiries are managed using a risk-based approach which are triaged to determine their priority/urgency. Matters identified as the greatest risk (urgent or high) will be actioned as a priority.

https://yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/draft-compliance-and-enforcement-policy

A new section has been included providing information on this new risk-based triage process, with examples of what constitutes urgent, high, medium and low risk concerns and how these will be responded to.

This new risk rating table, where ‘matters’ are categorised, Urgent, High, Medium and Low has been included to assist Council staff to identify the risk rating attributed to various types of customer enquiries.

There is also a new section outlining how customer concerns are managed, including the steps undertaken from preliminary assessments and risk categorisation, to investigations and finally enforcement action.

Guidance is provided on the key steps of the investigation including the point an update will be sent to customers, most likely an email announcing no action can be taken because the matter is not in the Urgent or High priority category.

The Draft Policy identifies the circumstances in which no action may be taken. Some examples include where Council does not have jurisdiction to address a concern, there is insufficient information, or evidence to pursue a matter, or the report relates substantially to a matter previously investigated by Council and there is no new or compelling information or evidence which would cause Council to change its earlier decision.

The Draft Policy states that Council is unable to take action or intervene in disputes relating to the activities or behaviours which are of a private or civil nature e.g. dividing fence or retaining wall disputes, trespass, encroachments, damage to private premises or actions resulting from the behaviour of a person.

So it is very unlikely that Council will respond to any complaint regarding parking. Someone parked across a driveway or contrary to any parking signs would be categorised as low risk, irrespective of how annoying it might be to residents and ratepayers. Hopefully the car will have moved by the time the complaint has been triaged according to the risk based process.

Any reports of dogs off leash in an on leash area or the beach would also likely be met with a No Action communication from Council given the new risk based triage process. And a dog barking incessantly in the neighbourhood?

LM dog sign

Concerned about bicycles, e bikes of otherwise in the Corso with riders not wearing a helmet, forget it. This is not in Council’s jurisdiction.

And the new legislation to get parked trailers off the roads after 28 days. Again, considered a low priority.

And finally…

The new section on DA and building compliance. Mostly not their problem, so forget making a complaint unless it’s one of the following in the ‘Urgent’ column.

  • Major water pollution incident
  • Imminent threat to public health or safety
  • Incidents relating to unauthorised asbestos removal or dumped asbestos
  • Major sewer blockage/leak
  • Major flooding
  • Food poisoning outbreak
  • Legionella outbreak
  • Unauthorised demolition of a heritage item or building in a heritage conservation area
  • Dog attack
  • Land clearing and/or removal of trees
  • Unsafe or dangerous structures adjacent to public land, for example awnings over footpaths

Reports relating to development compliance (i.e. alleged noncompliance with a development consent or a complying development certificate) should be referred directly to the appointed principal certifier for investigation and appropriate action.

And…

Local Councils generally do not carry out assessments or proactive audits of construction certificates, complying development certificates, occupation certificates or other certificates issued by private certifiers, and any enquiries or concerns regarding these instruments should be referred directly to the certifier for response.

Helpfully the new Policy provides a new section outlining how to seek a review of a decision if there is dissatisfaction with the outcome of an investigation or dissatisfaction with the conduct of a Council employee. Paragraph 6 on page 15 of the 19-page document says

All Council Officials, including staff, Councillors and contractors, are expected to follow Council’s Code of Conduct. This code is prescribed by regulation and sets out the minimum requirements of conduct. Any allegations regarding the conduct of staff for the management of compliance and enforcement enquiries will be managed by Council’s Complaints Resolution team.

*A complaint against a staff member in breach of the code or report other unacceptable behaviour can include:

  • inappropriate behaviour
  • Breach of privacy
  • Providing false or misleading information
  • Recklessly or deliberately damaging property
  • Fraud and Corruption
  • Breach of powers*

Council has provided a Policy that explains why it can’t ensure compliance and enforcement and if residents and ratepayers are unhappy about this then, as the Policy states

A complaint can be submitted online by using Council’s ‘Complaint Form’. If a person is disputing a determination made by Council on the management of their enquiry, this can also be raised as a complaint with Council using the same complaint form. These matters may be referred to the relevant Business Unit for review, consideration and response.

Good luck.


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