Spring 2019 - Local government integrity matters

September 2019

Welcome to the spring edition of ‘integrity matters’ and as the third year of the council term draws to a close, we look at some of the work completed in analysing complaints across a council term with a particular focus on conduct matters.

We also provide an update on our proactive work looking at the support provided to councillors to enable them to fulfil their civic duty and the processes to ensure appropriate acquittal and reporting of the use of public funds.

The title of our publication, integrity matters, is very ‘on point’ for the article discussing the outcome of a prosecution case related to misuse of information by a councillor. The councillor’s actions and the ensuing public scrutiny resulted in reputational damage for the council as an organisation and for the whole councillor group. Integrity in local government does matter and where it erodes in any form, including through leaking of information for whatever purpose, the individual is at risk of personal consequences and council is at risk of losing legitimacy. It is important for the reputation of local government and the office of councillor that these cases remain a priority for this office.

And in speaking about this office, September marked the 10th anniversary of operation for the Local Government Inspectorate as the dedicated integrity agency for councils in Victoria. I am very proud of the LGI team and their achievements over the last decade and as we start preparing for the 2020 election year, we will continue our focus on improving integrity, accountability and transparency in local government.

David Wolf, Chief Municipal Inspector

Reviewed 27 November 2019

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