In preparing for the 2024 elections in should be noted that the date for the local government elections has been advanced to the 16th of March to avoid clashes with other events including Easter in that year. Although separated by few months the Queensland state election will be held on 26th October 2024. This means that across the state between now and the end of next year will we can expect to see considerable promotion of electoral policies at both local and state levels. It is also quite likely that the issues canvassed across those policies may well find common ground at both levels of government. This provides a useful reminder to local government CEOs and their councils of the relatively imminent reckoning, at least for the elected members, of the local government’s performance over the past four years.

I recall once hearing a Mayor say to their CEO, somewhat jokingly, “Your job is to ensure I get re-elected.” The CEO’s response was “It’s not my job to get you re-elected. It is my job to see that if you are not re-elected it’s not because the organisation failed to deliver exemplary performance.”

So these months leading up to the caretaker period for Queensland local governments represents an important opportunity for the CEOs and council organisations to critically assess their performance in delivering upon the Council’s policies and service programs since 2020; It is also a time to consider their preparedness to meet any challenges presented by the prospect of change in policy direction, whether under a new or continuing Council, following the March elections. It is a fundamental element of the strategic planning responsibilities of the Council and its executive team to consider the risks and opportunities that might arise from changes in direction or even in the prospect of a change in the political and personality dynamics caused by new faces around the council table.

Even though the local government CEO no longer has a role in the conduct of the elections there are many preparations to be made for the induction and refresher training for those elected. There is also value in conducting a self-assessment workshop with the “outgoing” councillors to identify the achievements and shortcomings of the expiring term, to help inform the development of the next term’s strategic plan.

Reinforcements can provide skilled facilitators to assist councils conducting these types of  workshops.

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