The Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate (Inspectorate) has conducted audits of Victorian local councils to assess compliance with the Local Government Act 1989 (Act) since January 2010.
The audit process has revealed some common trends across local councils, as well as opportunities for improvements.
The Inspectorate has identified key areas where councils are demonstrating effective processes that ensure all obligations and requirements within the Act are being met.
Strong performing areas include:
- Councillor code of conduct – section 76C
- Staff code of conduct – section 95AA
- Councillor and Mayoral allowances – section 74
- Insurance – section 76A
- Oath of office – section 63 and 64
- Election of Mayor – section 71
- Audit committee – section 139
The Inspectorate has also identified opportunities for improvement that are common across councils. The Inspectorate is working with the sector to address these areas and achieve best practice processes.
Opportunities for improvement include:
- Special committees - section 81, 86, 87 and 98
- Senior officer contracts - section 95A
- Council budgets - section 127 and 130
- Primary and ordinary returns – section 81
- Annual reports - section 131 and 134, and regulation 17 of the Local Government (Finance and Reporting) Regulations 2004
- Delegations - section 98
The Inspectorate has published a number of information bulletins to assist councils in developing best practice processes and to ensure compliance with the Act.
The Inspectorate can also assist by connecting councils with other councils who are performing well in these areas in order to share ideas, promote collaboration and create strong networks within the local government sector.
Local Government Victoria has published a number of guides for council governance to assist in continuous improvement and best practice processes.