Proposal for the Establishment of a Timaru District Youth Council

The formation of a Timaru District Council Youth Council was agreed by the Timaru District Council on 3 June 2015. What follows in this document is the supporting documentation that formed part of the proposal to the Timaru District Council

Rationale

The Timaru district has many groups representing different sectors of our community on a range of different topics, for example Senior Citizens, Chamber of Commerce, sporting associations, etc. however, at present there is no official group that represents the young people of our district in terms of their engagement with local governance. This proposal suggests that forming a Youth Council will fill this void and provide an important communication mechanisms between the youth of our community the elected Timaru District Council Councillors.

The Timaru District Council Mission is, in part, to see a vibrant and growing community of which our youth are our future. Part of achieving this is having a forum by which our future residents can have meaningful input into the future where they can contribute to Local Community and the district Long Term Planning.

Youth Councils are not set up with any formal decision-making powers, the ethos of Youth Councils are to provide a forum for communication and engagement with youth and formal decision-making structures such as the Timaru District Council. That said, often Youth Councils do support youth in their district with possible examples such as organising concerts, etc.

The Ministry of Youth Development actively encourage Local Bodies to establish Youth Councils and at a national level we young people take part in the annual Youth Parliament. The Ministry offers assistance in terms of helping youth engage and offers funding to assist youth to establish local connections, improve confidence, develop and practice leadership skills, allowing them to positively contribute and influence their community.

The proposed Purpose of a Youth Council is to:

  • ensure a youth perspective is provided to the Council on the range of issues covered by the Council, as well as issues relating directly to youth and how these can best be met
  • build young people’s knowledge of Timaru district Council activities and processes to enable them to participate in Council’s decision-making processes

The Timaru District has had Youth Councils in the past

The Timaru District Council has set up and assisted the running of a Youth Council in the past, yet it has failed to maintain itself and subsequently dissolved. However, in recent years there has been a significant national increase in the number of Youth Councils in New Zealand with support both from Councils and external agencies, for example, the Ministry of Youth Development. There is now a much more structured approach to the work they do and how they add value, and indeed are seen as very important components of the governance of districts.

The following Council have active Youth Councils:

Youth Council establishment

A Timaru District Youth Council Establishment Committee will be formed to establish the first Timaru District Council, this will include the following:

  • Mayor or their nominee
  • A Timaru District Council nominated Council support officer
  • Nominee of the Timaru Secondary Schools Principals Association
  • Three people representative of the Youth of the Timaru District identified from advertising for such via the weekly Timaru District Council Noticeboard in the Timaru Herald and selected by the Mayor or Nominee.

Terms of Reference

The Draft Timaru District Youth Council Terms of Reference (TOR) are attached in Appendix B. The Terms of Reference have been developed after consulting all other New Zealand Youth Councils Terms of Reference, however, the incoming Timaru District Youth Council are required to consider these TOR and amend as needed to achieve the mission of the Youth Council.

Appendix B - Timaru District Council Youth Council Terms of Reference

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Youth Council is to:

  • ensure a youth perspective is provided to the Council on the range of issues covered by the Council, as well as issues relating directly to youth and how these can best be met
  • build young people’s knowledge of Council processes to enable them to participate in Council’s decision-making processes

2. Advisory role

2.1 The Youth Council will

  • advise on youth involvement in the planning and development of Council services and programmes
  • advise on how the views of youth can be canvassed and conveyed to Council (including providing advice on formal consultations being undertaken)
  • provide advice to the Council on matters of planning and infrastructure (especially if they have a direct impact on young people); and
  • advise on matters relating to policy and strategic development.

2.2

The Youth Council is an advisory group set up to inform the work and activities of the Council.

2.3

The Youth Council is only one mechanism for the Council to obtain input from young people. The group does not remove or reduce the Council’s responsibilities to obtain input from other young people through other mechanisms.

3. Responsibilities

3.1 Youth Council members are required to

  • attend Youth Council meetings
  • attend Timaru District Council committee and council meetings wherever possible
  • attend training and project meetings
  • work on project teams between meetings
  • be available to attend any other training/meetings that may occur
  • provide Youth Council information to their networks
  • bring youth issues and opportunities to the Youth Council
  • network with other New Zealand Local Body Youth Councils as appropriate
  • assist the Council to canvass youth views

3.2

The Chairman of the Youth Council is required to present an Annual Report of activities to the appropriate Timaru District Council Committee

3.3

In return for their commitment, the Council will provide members with

  • training to fulfil their role as a Youth Council member, including leadership training
  • opportunities to attend conferences/seminars
  • opportunities to be a youth representative on various working parties/project teams
  • assistance with transport to and from meetings
  • training on and exposure to the local government political system.

3.4 Youth Council Conference Attendance

Elected Youth Council members must be prepared to attend any Annual Youth Conference.

3.5 Portfolio responsibilities

Youth Council members are encouraged to identify Council strategic/portfolios areas they are interested in, such as: transport, environment, arts and culture, social and recreation, economic development, governance and urban development and engage with Timaru District Council Councillors responsible for those portfolios.

4. Membership

The Youth Council will include up to 12 members. Role descriptions for members are included in Appendix C.

4.1 Criteria for membership

Members need to:

  • be between 15-24 years of age
  • live within the boundaries of the Timaru District
  • have the ability to work with other people and work in a team
  • be proactive
  • be committed to attending meetings regularly.

Youth Council membership should include the range of skills and experience required for the group to adequately perform their role.

It is expected that Youth Council membership will provide a broad representation of the Timaru Districts youth population, with consideration given to:

  • an appropriate gender balance
  • an appropriate diverse range of cultural backgrounds
  • appropriate representation from youth with disabilities
  • the inclusion of youth members from a diverse range of representative organisations within the Timaru District (for example: secondary schools, tertiary education providers, youth groups, kura kaupapa, Pacific church groups, refugee and migrant groups, youth focused clubs).

4.2 Chair / Co-Chairs / Deputy Chair and members

Members of the Youth Council will elect a Chair and Deputy Chair on an annual basis at the start of each calendar year. The Chair and Deputy Chair will hold their position for a maximum of twelve months.

A role description for the Chair/Deputy Chair is included in Appendix C. In the absence of the Chair, the Deputy Chair will run the meeting.

4.3 Removal of members

If a Youth Council member misses more than three consecutive meetings, their membership on the Youth Council will cease. Members can be removed from the group under exceptional circumstances when the behaviour of that member is seen as detrimental to the effective operation of the Youth Council. Consultation of any recommended removal will be with the Chair of the Timaru District Council Committee to which the Youth Council reports.

5. Call for nominations and Term of Appointment

Nominations for membership to the Timaru District Youth Council will be called for and open from 01 December each year. Advance promotion of this call will be made via all appropriate media and to all appropriate bodies from November each year.

The standard term of appointment will be two years with the year beginning 01 February and ending 31 January of the appropriate year. The term of appointment can be less than two years if a member:

  • resigns
  • misses three consecutive meetings, or
  • is removed by the Council.

If a Youth Council member resigns during the year, the Council will recruit to attract a new member for the position as part of an annual recruitment drive.

Existing Youth Councillors are eligible for re-election.

While the Chair and Deputy Chair is appointed annually, consideration should be given to continuity over two years.

6. Timaru District Council Nomination and Selection Process

Timaru District Council will call for expressions of interest from 15-24 year olds from within the city’s boundaries via a number of different media (social media, newspapers, approaches to schools/tertiary education organisations, youth groups, the Council website, community radio etc.).

Youth interested in being a Youth Council member are required to complete an application form (see Appendix D).

Upon the closure of applications, all nominations will be considered (within section 4.1) by the following panel:

  • Chair and/or Deputy Chair of the existing Youth Council
  • The Council nominated Timaru District Councillor
  • The Timaru District Council nominated Council support officer
  • Nominee of the Timaru Secondary Schools Principals Association
  • Three people representative of the Youth of the Timaru District identified from advertising for such via the weekly Timaru District Council Noticeboard in the Timaru Herald and selected by the Mayor or Nominee.

7. Operation

A nominated Council officer/s will oversee the administration of the Youth Council. Officers will take meeting minutes, compile the agenda in collaboration with the Chair and provide general administrative and advisory support.

8. Member induction and training

All members joining the Youth Council will receive an induction pack and information explaining the Council’s function and processes and the role of the Youth Council.

9. Frequency of and attendance at Meetings

The Youth Council will meet up to 10 times per year between the months of February and November and holed a minimum of 4 meetings per year, all of which are open to the public. Youth Councillors are expected to attend at least 75% of the scheduled meetings.

10. Conflicts of Interest and Resolution

Members must declare any conflicts of interest and should conflict occur, the Chair/Co-Chairs and group will work with Council Officers to resolve the conflict. A conflict of interest log will be maintained by Council officers.

11. Quorum

Half of the current number of members, not including vacancies, must be present for the group to have a quorum.

12. Funding

The Timaru District Council will allocate an annual budget to the operation of the Youth Council. These funds cannot be used for funding activities of other groups or activities. These funds will be held and managed by the Timaru District Council manager responsible for Finance.

13. Meeting Procedures

LGA standing orders will apply for all meetings.

14. Minutes and agendas

All minutes and agendas will be made available on the Timaru District Council web site under Timaru District Council availability requirements for all Council meetings. Agenda items must be presented to the Chair 10 days before the close of the Agenda.

15. Code of Conduct

All Youth Council members are subject to the Timaru District Councillor Code of Conduct.

16. Reporting

The Youth Council will report to the Council’s Policy and Development Committee in the last quarter of each year. The report will outline work undertaken, attendance and number of meetings held, the group’s achievements and any issues or initiatives it wishes the Council to consider further.

17. Payment and Travel Allowance

Members will be paid a $25 allowance for every meeting they attend and a travel allowance as per the Timaru District Council Elected members’ policy.

18. Review

The Terms of Reference will be reviewed as required. All changes to the Terms of Reference will be subject to the approval of the appropriate Timaru District Council committee and Council.

Appendix C - Role descriptions for the Youth Council

Role descriptions for the Youth Council Chair, members, Liaison Officers and Appointed Councillor

The Chair will

  • encourage open communication where all members can contribute to conversations
  • not allow individuals or sub-groups to dominate the meeting
  • work with Council officers to compile meeting agenda
  • oversee the development, completion and implementation of the group’s annual work programme
  • be the spokesperson for the Youth Council and represent the views and recommendations of the group as required, including in presentations to the Council and other groups as required.
  • Present an Annual Report to the Chair of the Timaru District Council committee overseeing the Timaru District Council Youth Committee

Role and responsibilities of the Deputy Chair

  • To support the Chair in their role.
  • To act in place of the Chair should the Chair be unavailable or have a conflict of interest.

Youth Council Members will

  • provide advice on youth –related issues linked to the development and implementation of the Council’s policies, projects, planning and service delivery
  • actively participate in Youth Council meetings
  • attend where possible, on a rotation basis, Council and Community Board meetings
  • attend training and project meetings
  • work on project teams between meetings
  • be available to attend any other training/meetings that may occur
  • provide Youth Council information to their networks
  • bring youth issues and opportunities to the Youth Council
  • assist the Council to canvass youth views.

Officers will

  • be responsible for the administration, support and promotion of the group. This will include the induction of new members, development of agendas, recording meeting minutes and following up on action points to report back to the group
  • work with the Chair/Deputy Chair to set meeting agenda
  • work across Council business units to ensure youth are considered in the development and implementation of policy, strategy, planning and service delivery in the city
  • enable other business units to develop effective working and consultation relationships and practices with young people and Timaru Districts Youth organisations.

The Elected member/Councillor

The Councillor appointed to the Youth Council is not a member of the Youth Council. The Councillor’s role is to:

  • act as a liaison and information conduit between the Council and the Youth Council conveying, if necessary, the concerns of the group provide, in conjunction with officers, information, advice and an explanation of the Council’s political process and agreed Council policy where required and requested by the group.

Appendix D