Rachel Peacock

Governance Officer, Snowy Valleys Council

How did you find the Peer Placement Program overall? Which council did you visit, what department and who did you meet?

On 27 April 2023, I spent the day with Tim Herridge, the Senior Information Access Officer, and Rad Miladinovic, the Information and Records Manager, at City of Ryde Council in North Ryde, NSW. He works within the Information and Records team at City of Ryde. Tim and Rad were very welcoming and genuinely happy to give me some of their time to help provide me with an excellent overview and guidance on how their council processes requests for government information. I am so impressed with the opportunity provided by LG Professionals Peer Placement Program! It was easy to apply for and Isabelle was so responsive and helpful with all my queries and requests. She helped to find willing councils within a relatively small geographic area and an even smaller window of time that I was available. She even provided additional contacts to other councils in case I had the time to visit more than one. The Peer Placement Program has given me access to people and information that I would have struggled to find on my own.

What is a key learning from the program that you will take back to your role at council?

My visit with Tim and Rad at City of Ryde Council has given me an increased sense of confidence that I can respond to requests for information. Tim spent the entire day walking me through his process and answering my many questions. He provided insight into the legislation itself as well as guidance on how to draft and respond to various scenarios. From my time with City of Ryde, I have a much clearer understanding of the expectations surrounding Council’s decisions on information requests. This will support and benefit me in my role as Snowy Valleys Council’s GIPA officer but also as a proponent of open access information across the government sector.

Would you recommend other members to apply for the Peer Placement Program?

I absolutely recommend that members of LG Professionals apply for the Peer Placement Program. It has given me an otherwise difficult to navigate avenue towards mentorship and guidance in an area that my small regional council could not provide internally. The opportunity for me to meet with other council staff that have both the experience, knowledge and willingness to share has truly been beyond measure! And the willingness of Tim and Rad to provide ongoing support has been an unexpected but wonderful bonus!

What do you enjoy most about your membership with LG Professionals, NSW?

My membership to LG Professionals has given me access to an extremely valuable wealth of knowledge and experience, through both professionals in the field and connections to other councils, that would be difficult to find on my own. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that LG Professionals has enabled, through the Peer Placement Program, the Governance Intensive that I attended in 2022, as well as the annual Governance Conference. I’ve also really enjoyed the networking opportunities that LG Professionals has created through its various programs and conferences.