Council shortfalls uncovered
Auditor-General probe to aid efficient service delivery
A VICTORIAN Auditor-General’s report that aims to ensure service delivery of councils meets the needs of the communities they serve has uncovered shortfalls among five of the state’s local government areas.
The report shows that the five councils examined lack comprehensive review and planning procedures in their services that spread across social welfare, waste, recreation, infrastructure, planning and emergency management.
Bayside, Wodonga and Wyndham city councils along with Indigo and Moira shires were put under the microscope.
The auditor-general’s office also examined the role of Local Government Victo- ria (LGV) - part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) - in providing support and guidance to councils on efficient service delivery.
“Although all the audited councils can demonstrate some elements of good practice, none have a comprehen- sive approach to both planning and reviewing services,” the report notes.
“Without planning and reviewing their services in a systematic way, councils risk not delivering best value and may fail to align their services with community expectations.”
The report analysed corpo- rate services and the cost of service delivery as well and it notes that all audited councils did identify and act on some limited opportunities to improve the efficiency of corporate services.
“However, these efforts usually occur on an ad hoc basis, and councils risk missing opportunities to achieve sav- ings - for example, the use of shared services - which could be redirected to improving or expanding frontline service delivery,” the report reads.
The report concluded that more needs to be done to better understand and contribute full costs to frontline services, in particular the indirect costs or overheads necessarily incurred in supporting service delivery.