How to use model standing orders

Standing orders are the written rules of a local council. They are used to confirm a council’s internal organisational, administrative and procurement procedures and procedural matters for meetings. They are not the same as the policies of a council but they may refer to them. A local council must have standing orders for the procurement of contracts.

Meetings of full council, councillors, the Responsible Financial Officer and Proper Officer are subject to many statutory requirements. A council should have standing orders to confirm those statutory requirements. A council should have standing orders to control the number, place, quorum, notices and other procedures for committee and sub-committee meetings because these are subject to fewer statutory requirements. If it does not, committees and sub-committees may adopt their own standing orders.

Model standing orders that are in bold type contain statutory requirements. It is recommended that councils adopt them without changing them. Other model standing orders not in bold are designed to help councils operate effectively but do not contain statutory requirements so they may be adopted as drafted or amended to suit a council’s needs. For convenience, the word “councillor” is used in model standing orders and includes a non- councillor with or without voting rights unless otherwise stated.

A model standing order that includes brackets like this ‘( )’ requires information to be inserted by a council. A model standing order that includes the term ‘OR’ provides alternative options for a council to choose from when determining standing orders.

The model standing orders do not include model financial regulations. Financial regulations are standing orders to regulate and control the financial affairs and accounting procedures of a local council. The financial regulations, as opposed to the standing orders of a council, include most of the requirements relevant to the Responsible Financial Officer.



  1. Rules of debate at meetings
  2. Disorderly conduct at meetings
  3. Meetings generally
  4. Committees and sub-committees
  5. Ordinary council meetings
  6. Extraordinary meetings of the council and committees and sub-committees
  7. Previous resolutions
  8. Voting on appointments
  9. Motions for a meeting that require written notice to be given to the Proper Officer
  10. Motions at a meeting that do not require written notice
  11. Handling confidential or sensitive information
  12. Draft minutes
  13. Code of conduct and dispensations
  14. Code of conduct complaints
  15. Proper Officer
  16. Responsible Financial Officer
  17. Accounts and accounting statements
  18. Financial controls and procurement
  19. Handling staff matters
  20. Requests for information
  21. Relations with the press/media
  22. Execution and sealing of legal deeds
  23. Communicating with District and County or Unitary councillors
  24. Restrictions on councillor activities
  25. Standing orders generally