Protecting integrity: West Wimmera Shire Council examination

An examination into West Wimmera Shire Council by the Local Government Inspectorate.

17 Nov 2018

Scope of the examination

The Inspectorate is the dedicated integrity agency for local government in Victoria. The Chief Municipal Inspector (CMI) leads the Inspectorate and has powers as set out in the Local Government Act 1989 (Act) to enable the Inspectorate to examine, investigate and prosecute any matter relating to a Council’s operations and any breaches of the Act.

The Inspectorate undertook the examination in the Shire following some specific allegations related to possible breaches of the Act and governance concerns. The work included an examination of the allegations and general governance arrangements. As part of the examination, the Inspectorate also took into account findings from a 2011 review and whether these had been actioned by the council.

Good governance is important for several reasons. It not only gives the local community confidence in its council, but improves the faith that elected members and officers have in their own local government and its decision making processes. It also leads to better decisions, helps local government meet its legislative responsibilities and importantly provides an ethical basis for governance.

In the course of the investigation, matters were raised to broaden the original scope and include specific asset, financial, and employment management circumstances.

Due to the comprehensive nature of this investigation and the large number of issues identified at council, for the purpose of this report, these have been broken down into the following areas:

  1. Governance arrangements
  2. Specific allegations
  3. Asset management
  4. Financial management
  5. Human resources management

Key recommendations

  • Process improvements where advice should be sought from other councils and integrity agencies.
  • Training and guidance for councillors and council staff to ensure policies and processes are understood and implemented.