Delivering local government services

Expected to be tabled in September 2018

Overview

Objective To determine whether councils effectively plan for and deliver cost efficient services that meet community needs.

Issues Under the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act) councils prepare a Council Plan, Strategic Resource Plan and Budget, which provide strategic context for their service delivery.

They provide a wide range of statutory and other services including environment, health, emergency management, community and family services, infrastructure and planning. Decisions about which services to provide, how to provide them and how to fund them are made in various ways, such as through formal Council decisions and service planning undertaken by council staff.

In 2015, the Victorian Government introduced the Fair Go Rates System (FGRS), which establishes caps that operate to limit councils' ability to self-determine the increases in rates and municipal charges each year, and so act to constrain this source of revenue growth. Under FGRS councils need to ensure they continue to deliver services in a financially sustainable way while still meeting community need. Our 2011 audit Business Planning for Major Capital Works and Recurrent Services in Local Government found little evidence that most councils appropriately review their services to inform their spending decisions.

We will identify the extent to which councils understand their community’s service needs and know the full cost of delivering these services. We will also assess how effectively councils review the services they offer and the methods they use to ensure these services meet community needs in a sustainable way.

We will also undertake a detailed analysis of 'corporate services', as the first in a series of audits that will examine service efficiency. As all councils have common corporate services this area is particularly amenable to comparative benchmarking.

Proposed agencies DELWP and a selection of councils.

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