Conclusion - Personal interests returns summary

Our major review of personal interests returns under the 1989 Act revealed a concerning level of non-compliance due to a lack of guidance and education. The scheme also had a lack of oversight with no entity given responsibility to audit responses.

The implementation of the 2020 Act provided an opportunity to reassess personal interests returns and improve the transparency and accountability of the 2020 scheme.

However, our review of personal interest summaries under the 2020 Act showed there was still a lack of transparency and work remains to be done to improve compliance.

This report provides 14 recommendations to improve the scheme, in turn, increasing public confidence in the impartial decision-making of the local government sector. We hope that this report is a first step on a journey to improving the functioning of the scheme.

We also commit to working with LGV, the peak bodies and councils to improve the understanding of the importance of the scheme and supporting those who must comply with it.