Council ‘ahead of the game’ on financial accountability

Orange City Council has already incorporated a number of suggestions, outlined in a recent NSW Government review, for better financial accountability in local government.

The NSW Auditor General recently released a report calling for the NSW Division of Local Government (DLG) to be given increased powers to ensure better oversight and public scrutiny of local councils.

Orange City Council’s Financial Services Policy Committee Chair, Councillor Chris Gryillis, has welcomed the latest review.

“The 152 councils across NSW spend more than $9.3 billion every year and employ more than 50,00 people, so it’s crucial that the right checks and balances of financial management are in place,” Cr Gryllis said.

“It’s good to see that Orange City Council has already had in place a number of measures that are now being suggested.

“Orange City Council is one of 75 councils across the State which have specialist staff to handle internal audit functions. As well as routine external audits once a year, this internal function is about looking for ways to ensure financial management runs efficiently and according to accounting standards. Orange shares this function with Dubbo and Bathurst councils.”

“There’s another suggestion that the DLG should be able to make it compulsory for councils to have the extra layer of accountability offered by an ‘Audit & Risk Management Committee’. Orange City Council already has that.”

The Auditor-General’s recommendations focus on the work of the State Government’s Division of Local Government (DLG) and whether it has enough powers to monitor the financial health of local councils.

“Council staff already provide a significant amount of data and statistics every year to the DLG,”

Cr Gryllis said. “I welcome the suggestion that the Division is encouraged to more effectively analyse and monitor the performance of councils, but I hope that doesn’t mean local councils will be burdened with a significant increase in reporting requirements.”

“Orange City Council will continue to make contributions to the state’s review processes to improve the quality of local government, as it’s done in the past with reviews of the Local Government Act, the Destination 2036 process and the Independent Local Government Review Panel.”