Appendix 1: Detailed survey responses

Detailed survey responses


Councillor responses

Council officer responses37

Do you think collecting accurate information about the interests held by councillors is important?

Yes – 90%

Somewhat important – 10%

Yes – 91%

Somewhat important – 9%

Why is it important?

identify/avoid potential conflicts of

interest which links to transparency (81%)

transparency (64%)

it assists with managing conflicts of interest (36%)

it increases integrity of council decisions and/or public confidence in those decisions (25%)

promotes accountability (16%)

What do you think council officers should be responsible for when it comes to councillor interests returns?

administrative process (42%)

providing training, guidance, answer questions (33%)

check the returns (25%)

administrative process of sending out forms, information, sending reminders, collecting and storing the forms (86%)

providing training and guidance (21%)

nothing (4%)

What do you think councillors should be responsible for when it comes to their interests returns?

complete forms accurately and submit on time (89%)

seek clarification if they don’t understand something (5%)

being honest and disclosing interests accurately (91%)

timely submission of returns (79%)

educate themselves on the importance of and the requirements for disclosure, seek advice if necessary (14%)

What works well

council officers providing forms and due date reminders (27%)

reliable and helpful staff, a go to person, providing previous returns (17%)

process working well overall (59%)

reminders (7%)

having a centralised process or central contact person (5%)

helping or having conversations if required (5%)

What doesn’t work so well

forms/legislation hard to understand – should be in plain English rather than ‘legalese’ (17%)

lack of sufficient guidance (in plain English) and education (25%)

paper-based system (17%)

forms were often completed in a rush (for example at the start of a meeting) and thus councillors didn’t pay sufficient attention to their declarations (3%)

accuracy of disclosure and/or timeliness of submission of returns (66%)

process is manual, labour intensive, inefficient (32%)

councillors are not taking their obligations

seriously – they have no respect for the process, lack personal accountability (27%)

councillors don’t understand the requirements (13%)

there is a lack of enforcement (11%)

What do you think is the main cause of the problems you identified?

legislation/forms hard to understand, not in plain English (27%)

process not given the attention it would require – there is a lack of understanding the importance of it, and it is often rushed (25%)

lack of training, guidance and support by council officers (17%)

there are no consequences for non- compliance (3%)

councillors don’t understand the importance of their obligations regarding interests returns (40%)

lack of education, guidance – legal terms are hard to understand, simplification and examples would be required from LGV (21%)

councillors are generally busy (9%)

process is manual and paper-based (9%)

lack of consequences/enforcement of rules (7%)
What do you think could be changed to improve the system?

online portal or electronic lodging system, for example a state-wide app (22%)

better resources required: clearer forms and instructions, examples to increase understanding, advice hotline, video training (19%)

compulsory training (14%)

provide previous returns, council officers to perform cross-checks on disclosed interests (11%)

sit down with officers when completing returns (5%)

Concerns were raised by 8% of respondents about the privacy and safety of councillors who did not want information about their residential address be made public

education/training, e.g. an online training module (18%)

forms and guidance in plain English, guidance detailed and including examples (18%)

consequences – enforcement, requirement to report non-compliance to LGI, random audits (14%)

automating the process: having an online portal or electronic system (13%)

having a centralised system for submission (to the Inspectorate, the minister) (11%)

5% stressed that it is important to protect personal information for safety reasons

What do you think could be changed to promote transparency?

make disclosed interests/returns available online (11%)

increase what needs to be disclosed, for example, include family members’ interests (5%)
publishing summary online (16%)
Do you think there is sufficient guidance available to councillors on this topic?

No/more would be helpful (75%)

Yes (19%)

No opinion (6%)
(question not asked)

37 Percentages do not always add up to 100% as respondents were able to provide multiple answers.