The local government sector faces significant
challenges and the needs of individual councils vary greatly. This
audit assessed the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the
support provided to councils by Local Government Victoria LGV and
the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). Support includes any
activity undertaken to assist councils to carry out their duties
and obligations to the community, and to facilitate more efficient
and effective council operations.
LGV supports local councils to ensure they are
responsive, accountable and efficient, and that they comply with
the Local Government Act 1989. MAV advocates for local
government interests, builds the capacity of councils, initiates
policy development and advice, supports councillors and promotes
the role of local government.
Both LGV and MAV have established methods for
identifying council support needs. However, except in a few
instances, neither is able to demonstrate whether their support
activities are contributing to the effective and efficient
operation of councils. LGV and MAV have worked together to deliver
a number of council support initiatives, but there is scope to
formalise how they will work together in the future.
Legislative and broader governance arrangements compromise the
effectiveness, efficiency and economy of support to councils. MAV
is not subject to the range of legislation that applies to many
other public sector entities. Weaknesses in MAV's procurement
practices also bring into question whether MAV's support activities
provide councils with value for money. While MAV has some external
accountability requirements, there has been little or no
independent scrutiny of its activities. MAV has committed to
address the gaps in governance identified through this audit.