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.