This month, Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) released a statement about the procurement processes being utilised by some Victorian councils.
IBAC Commissioner, The Honourable Robert Redlich QC, said, “Allegations of corruption associated with council procurement practices and processes are a recurring theme in the complaints received and investigated by IBAC.”
The following day the report was written up in the newspapers and mentioned on the television news. Once again councils had done the wrong thing, albeit a couple of years ago, and both councils named had already put systems in place to strengthen their procurement systems in the future.
The Australian Local Government Association puts the number of council staff, not only in Victoria, but also across Australia, at around 189,500. The additional 6600 councillors bring the total to over 196,000 people working around the nation for their communities.
Councils have an annual operational budget of over $36 billion and in any organisation with that number of people and that amount of money it is not surprising there are some people who will do the wrong thing.
The number of negative stories the public are exposed to about councils is a constant surprise. If someone embezzled money from a bank or a large corporation it would attract the same coverage but the difference is the many things that councils are doing well don’t receive the same coverage.
There is one thing I do know and that is Local Government FOCUS has a huge number of positive stories in this edition from cover to cover enjoy the read.