Methods and key findings from the review

Survey on councillor support

In July 2019, council governance staff at all 79 councils were sent a survey requesting information on the level of support provided to councillors for items such as information technology, travel costs, training and childcare.

We also asked for expenses data for the 2017-18 financial year, and a list of resources provided to councillors, such as vehicles, office space or mobile phone plans. We received responses from governance staff at 76 councils.

All mayors and councillors were sent a survey in August 2019 seeking their opinions on councillor allowances, resources, and expense reimbursement. We received responses from 187 councillors and 39 mayors, nearly 40 per cent of those contacted.

Audit of selected councils

We conducted a separate audit exercise in relation to councillor expenses at seven councils in late 2019 and early 2020 to ascertain whether:

  • documented policies and procedures were followed
  • significant deviation from policy and practice existed
  • practices met public expectations
  • any significant risks existed.

The exercise included an audit of up to six months’ worth of councillor expenses reimbursement documents and discussions with council staff about the expenses processes.