Terms of Reference

Youth Advisory Council

(March 2016)

Objectives

  • To give young people the opportunities to take a leading role in participation and consultation activities on issues that affect their lives.
  • To act as a conduit to the Minister on the views of young people.
  • To raise awareness of the aspirations, needs and concerns of young people within government and the community.
  • To facilitate interaction between young people, the ACT Government and the wider community.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • To provide the Minister with direct and well informed advice on matters relating to young people.
  • To ensure that the diversity of young people’s experiences and circumstances is reflected in advice to government.
  • To consult widely with young people in the ACT.
  • To attend Council meetings, training and development sessions and other relevant activities.

Membership

  • The Youth Advisory Council comprises of 15 young people aged between 12 and 25 years (inclusive) at the time of their appointment.
  • Membership of the Council will reflect the diversity of young people residing in the ACT, including a gender balance, disabilities and representation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally linguistically and diverse backgrounds.
  • Council members are appointed as individuals, not as representatives of a particular constituency or network.
  • Individuals of any age with particular expertise may be co-opted to Council, when necessary, for specific lengths of time to provide advice oidentified issues. Co-opted individuals will act as advisers and will not be regarded as Council members.

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Application and Appointment Processes

  • Nominations for the Council membership is sought publicly, using a wide media strategy, including schools and the Youth Sector.
  • The selection panel consists of at least two young people aged between 12 to 25 years of age, (this could include the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year recipient and a Youth Advisory Council member) and a government official.
  • The panel will determine an appropriate selection process and will provide a short-list of suitable applicants for the Minister’s consideration and formal approval.
  • Selections will be based on the following criteria:
  • Commitment and willingness to participate fully in Council activities;
  • Ability to contribute to Council processes and consultation activities; and
  • Commitment to reflecting the diverse range of experiences and views of young people in the ACT.

Terms of Office

  • Appointments to the Council can be made for up to two year terms depending on the age of the young person at the time of the appointment. A young person is appointed for two years unless they are 24 years or over in which case they will be appointed until their 26th birthday.
  • The Minister will seek Cabinet’s endorsement of the Youth Advisory Council’s appointed members.

Resignation

  • Members are required to notify the Minister in writing of their intention to resign from the Council. Vacancies due to resignation may be filled by the Directorate from a short-list of young people obtained from the selection process. The resigning member must address their resignation to the secretariat who will forward the resignation to the Minister’s Office.
  • Members who fail to attend three consecutive meetings without an apology are deemed to have resigned from the Council. Directorate staff will consistently liaise with members about their individual circumstances and reasons for non-attendance.

A Youth Advisory Council member’s appointment will be revoked if:

  • the member’s term of appointment has expired;
  • a member fails to attend three consecutive meetings without an apology; and
  • the member resigns from the Council.

A member’s appointment may be terminated by the Minister for one of the following reasons:

  • the member is unable to meet performance standards outlined in the Code of conduct; or
  • breach of the Code of Conduct.

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Disciplinary Action

  • A Council member will face disciplinary action if he/she breaches the Code of Conduct. The member must be informed and provided with a reasonable opportunity to respond to the matter.
  • A member’s position can be terminated due to an inability to meet the performance standards as outlined in the Council’s Code of Conduct or for a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  • A Youth Advisory Council member breaches the Code of Conduct for:
  • disregard of the guidelines of the Code of Conduct;
  • wilful, or deliberate behaviour that is inconsistent with the continuation of their term on the Council;
  • conduct that causes imminent and serious risk to the health or safety of a person or the reputation, viability or profitability of the Council’s business;
  • theft, fraud, or assault; and
  • being intoxicated at Council functions.

The member will be advised of the disciplinary action to be taken as per the action steps outlined in the Code of Conduct. The member will be given two warnings of the breaches, followed by immediate termination if a third breach occurs. The Minister will advise the member in writing of their termination, as per the ACT Government Boards and Committee Handbook 2009 8.1.4.

Section 208(2) of the Legislation Act 2001 states that the power to terminate an appointment is exercisable in the same way and subject to the same conditions as the power to make the appointment:

Office Holders

The Minister will appoint Co-Chairs from the Council. Council members will nominate themselves for these positions.

Chairperson

  • The Co-Chair’s role is to:
  • Act as public spokesperson for the Council;
  • Facilitate all meetings of the Council;
  • Assist members to work together as a group by facilitating discussion and drawing participation from all members;
  • Maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere at Council meetings by encouraging courtesy, respect and openness; and
  • Ensure all members have equal opportunity to contribute ideas, opinions and concerns.

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Council Operation

  • The Council will hold monthly meetings. Meeting times, dates and locations will be arranged by the secretariat.
  • Meetings shall be facilitated by the Co-Chairs.
  • The meeting agenda will be developed by the Secretariat, in consultation with the
    Co-Chairs. Items for the agenda will be sought from members of the Council. Minutes of Council meetings will be compiled by the secretariat.
  • Wherever possible, decisions by the Council will be by consensus. In the event that a vote is required, the Co-Chairs will determine the method of the voting process. The Co-Chairs will not cast a vote, except as a casting vote in the event of a tie. Diversity of opinion on issues will be reflected in the advice provided to the Minister.
  • The quorum for decision-making at Council meetings will be half of the current membership of the Council.
  • Sub-committees can be formed to fulfil specific purposes. However, these sub-committees must have the Council endorse all of its major decisions and proposals.

Advisory Council Core Business

  • Meetings on a six weekly basis;
  • Youth Consultation as needed and requested, through appropriate engagement tools such as:
    • Face-to-face consultations
    • Digital media
    • Youth surveys
    • Informal consultation i.e. coffee andcake sessions
  • Council member’s co- facilitate an Annual Roundtable or Annual Youth InterACT Conference;
  • Submissions and advice on youth related matters, across government and in the ACT community;
  • Youth representatives on selection panels for the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards, Youth InterACT Grants and Scholarships and Youth Advisory Council recruitment; and
  • Council members also participate on other committees, working parties, taskforces and other government agencies as needed and requested.

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Reporting

  • The Youth Advisory Council will report to the Minister for Community Services through the following mechanisms:
  • The Youth Advisory Council Annual Report;
  • Co-chair quarterly meetings with the Minister;
  • Meetings between the Minister and Co-chairs at the Minister’s request;
  • Reporting on Youth Advisory Council Forums and other events, including the Youth InterACT Conference;
  • Council minutes and agenda;
  • The attendance of the Minister at Council meetings; and
  • For any report, submission or comment provided by the Council the Co-Chairs are to provide a copy in the first instance to the Secretariat who will then forward the information to the Minister for Community Services seeking the Minster’s agreement for release.

At the request of the Co-chairs, the secretariat may assist with the preparation of the Youth Advisory Council Annual Report. The Annual Report will provide an outline of major consultation activities and advice provided to the Minister over the year. Summary details are to be made available to young people on the Youth InterACT consultation register and the Youth InterACT website.

  • The Council will prepare an Annual Report with the assistance of the secretariat, to outline major consultation activity and advice provided to the Minister over the year. Summary details are to be made available to young people on the Youth InterACT consultation register and the Youth InterACT website.

Reimbursement and Out of Pocket Expenses

Council members receive a Community Engagement fee of $50 for meeting related expenses, for an average of 10 meetings per year. Payment will be made in accordance with attendance at Council meetings.

  • The Co-Chairs will receive a remuneration payment as determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal.
  • Approval for additional out of pocket expenses is required from the Directorate, with requests made prior to making a claim wherever possible. When acting as a representative of the Council, members must have received the endorsement of the Council to attend such events and act on their behalf prior to claiming expenses.

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Secretariat

  • The role of the secretariat is to support and resource Council members to undertake their duties. The secretariat will support the Co-Chairs and Council members by:
  • Organising meetings (arranging venues, providing refreshments, notifying members);
  • Formalising the agenda, in consultation with Council members;
  • Collating and distributing written material as required prior to each Council meeting;
  • Recording minutes and attendance at Council meetings;
  • Preparing correspondence on behalf of the Council;
  • Assisting with small research tasks and preparing written material as required;
  • Any other duties that are negotiated by the Co-Chairs with the secretariat, at the request of Council members; and
  • Providing a copy of the agenda and minutes to the Minister’s Office.

Code of Conduct

Youth Advisory Council members will be provided with a copy of the Youth Advisory Council’s Code of Conduct and a copy of: Section 9 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

A copy of the Code of Ethics is available online.

Members are requested to sign the Code of Conduct Declaration at the attendance of their first meeting.

Conflicts of Interest

The ACT Governance Principles 2017 outlines appropriate conduct in relation to conflict of interest and other issues. This document will be provided to all Council members. Each member will be required to sign the Conflict of Interest.

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