The Inspectorate has started a wide-ranging governance review of selected council policies which are required under the Local Government Act 2020. It is our first review of policy documents which the new Act required councils to create or amend.
While we appreciate that the past two years have been particularly challenging for councils, it remains imperative that all key governance requirements are met.
We requested a range of policies and governance documents from all 79 councils and despite the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, all but a few councils have supplied the documentation. We would like to thank councils for their prompt response to our request.
The aim of the review is to test the level of strict compliance to the timely adoption of required policies by councils. However, we will also be benchmarking the quality of the documentation, with a view to highlighting better practice across the sector.
Once we complete the review, we publish the general findings, along with best practice examples. We will also work with individual councils where a specific need is identified.
This review is one of our topic or theme-based examinations which aim to test council compliance and improve compliance across the sector. It also allows us to continue to build our resource capacity and provide councils with ongoing improvement opportunities.
These types of examinations are typically based on findings of our investigations, council intelligence or in some cases information from the public which identify systemic issues across the sector. We also respond to legislative change – which is the basis of this review.
Our findings, including any recommendations, are made known to the sector through our reports, newsletters, or in a small number of cases, directly back to an individual council.
Our recommendations may also be directed to council peak bodies, Local Government Victoria or the Victorian Government.