Welcome to the first edition of integrity matters for 2021 in what we hope will be an easier year for the Victorian community – and the local government sector.
The past 9 months was an extremely challenging time for the sector and my team again wishes to extend our thanks for your patience and understanding.
We have been through the 2020 council elections with 76 elections being conducted by postal vote and the majority of campaigning being conducted online for the first time. Social media continues to play an increasing role in election campaigning and activism over local issues and we will discuss some of the issues and challenges this created in our upcoming election report. I wish to acknowledge the hard work of councils and the Victorian Electoral Commission in preparing for and handling a very different election period.
The next stage of Local Government Act 2020 reforms, including new governance rules, expenses policy and committee rules, were implemented by 1 September 2020 and electoral rules came into force on 26 October.
On to current events and the Victorian Government commenced the phased return of Victorian Public Service (VPS) staff to workplaces from Monday 18 January 2021.
Along with many other non-frontline government departments and agencies, the Inspectorate has begun a gradual return to the office with up to 25 per cent of staff. Working from home arrangements will continue in line with government restrictions and advice.
In this edition, we:
- look at interest returns summaries
- preview our election reporting
- look at our annual report highlights
- welcome a new team member with significant local government experience
We look forward to engaging with you throughout the year and providing support and advice where possible.
Dr John Lynch PSM
Acting Chief Municipal Inspector
Reviewed 03 February 2021