The Inspectorate employed 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in 2018/19, a decrease from 11 staff at the commencement of 2017/18 due to budget constraints.
Freedom Of Information requests
The Inspectorate received and responded to one Freedom of Information (FOI) request in 2018/19. FOI requests are handled in accordance with guidelines and processes set down by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).
Gifts and donations
LGI staff were not offered nor accepted any gifts during this financial year.
Under the Public Administration Act 2004, the Inspectorate is an administrative office hosted by the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and the Inspectorate utilises corporate services including finance from DPC. Financial information will be incorporated into the DPC 2018/19 Annual Report.
Challenges and opportunities
The 2018-19 period proved challenging with resource constraints, however, the additional funding investment by the government for 2019-20 will provide additional capacity once suitable staff are identified and engaged. This process is in progress. The proposed reforms to the local government legislative framework will expand the role of the Chief Municipal Inspector and create new responsibilities particularly in the collation and publication of councillor candidate election donations. The progress and timing of the legislative reforms have a bearing on the implementation program for the Inspectorate leading onto the 2020 general council election year. In addition, the implementation of the Public Interest Disclosure Act from 1 January 2020 provides for the Inspectorate to receive public interest disclosures from IBAC for investigation. This reform further expands the Inspectorate’s role in local government integrity.