Local Government Victoria should provide updated policy guidance in the new Regulations regarding the minimum toolkit of resources and support seen as necessary to effectively perform the role of councillor and mayor.
All councils should adopt the position that private vehicle use claims are reimbursed at the Australian Taxation Office rate (currently $0.72 per kilometre travelled, as of 1 July 2020).
LGV should provide guidance regarding training and development courses to be completed by councillors and mayors over the course of their terms.
Councils should educate councillors about the resources, facilities and support available to them during councillor induction training and should re- educate them mid-way through the councillor term.
Councils should individually survey their councillors regarding their needs for resources, facilities, support, and skills and knowledge training during the induction process.
LGV should provide guidance to councils on the definitions of the five expenses categories in the 2014 Regulations and how to report on expenses that do not fall within these categories.
Councils should provide councillors with their expenses data for review on a quarterly basis.
Councils should report councillor expenses and reimbursement claims to council and council’s Audit and Risk Committee on a quarterly basis.
Councils should publish councillor expenses data on their websites on a quarterly basis, at a minimum.
LGV should consider a more detailed model councillor expenses policy and claim form, which councils can adopt to suit their individual circumstances.
Councils must publish their current Council Expenses Policy on their website.
Councils must train councillors on the Council Expenses Policy during their induction training and provide refresher training on the policy mid-term.
Councillor expenses must be authorised by council employees with the appropriate financial delegation, not the mayor.
Councils should regularly review their councillors’ mobile phone and data plans and investigate alternatives, in order to achieve cost savings.
Councils should engage with MAV procurement for guidance regarding their ICT contracts and should explore the possibility of moving to a TPAMS contract to see if it will achieve costs savings.
Councils should regularly review their councillors’ phone and data usage to ensure the adequacy of the plans.
For councillors who have elected to use their own handsets and seek reimbursement, councils should regularly monitor usage to prevent inappropriate reimbursement for private use.