Best practice in Local Government governance

Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, recently launched a new manual which aims to assist Local Governments across Australia achieve best practice in governance. Developed by Australia’s peak accounting body, CPA Australia, and supported by Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA), the Excellence in Governance for Local Government manual is designed so Mayors, Councillors, and senior management can quickly and easily assess their governance performance and management practices.

Minister Lloyd said the manual will help practitioners in Local Government achieve better outcomes. “I congratulate CPA Australia for this manual,” Jim Lloyd said.

Consultant Ron Exiner, who drafted the report for CPA Australia, said the aim is to assist Local Governments in establishing a highly effective and inclusive decision making process.

“Local Government faces many unique challenges being a non adversarial system of government so this type of framework was needed,” he said.

CPA Australia’s National President, Mark Coughlin, said good governance is not just a matter for large corporations, it is essential to the operation of both the private and public sectors.

“This is the first time local Councils in every State and Territory of Australia will have a manual to assist decision making processes, financial management and overall accountability to the local community,” he said.“We know that a one size fits all, prescriptive approach doesn’t meet every Local Government’s particular circumstances, so we encourage Councils around Australia to use the manual’s principles to adopt practices that are best for them.”

Minister Lloyd said Local Government’s role has expanded significantly in the last few decades and the Australian Government recognises this development.

“It increasingly provides services at the expense of its traditional property based services,” he said. Local Government Managers Australia, then National President, Paul Arnold, said while Australian Local Government is one of the world’s best, Councils are constantly looking for opportunities to improve and build on their existing framework.

“This manual makes a significant contribution and is sure to become a must have for all Local Government practitioners,” Paul Arnold said.

The manual features a self assessment tool enabling Councils to get a snapshot of their current governance performance and assist them with the development of plans to build on existing work place practice. Suitable for any Local Government, the manual may be used as part of an induction kit for new Councillors and to determine responsibilities among elected members.

Excellence in Local Government governance:

  • underpins the level of confidence people have in governments and public service
  • impacts on the quality of outputs
  • is a ‘value added’ activity
  • ensures that Local Government meet their legislative responsibilities
  • is a strong reminder of ultimate accountability of government and the public sector community it serves.

The manual was released as a draft in December 2004 and feedback was gathered from a broad cross-section of Councils, Local Government bodies, auditors general and academics in Australia and New Zealand.

For further information on the Excellence in Governance for Local Government manual visit