Council audit finds fault

WEAK corporate business controls, inconsistent management reporting, and surging spending that’s projected to outstrip revenue has been uncovered by an independent report into the City of Perth.

Councillors spent $500,000 on the independent Deloitte, “organisational capability and compliance assessment”.

At the time of the vote in March, lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the audit would show everything was running smoothly.

The authors of the Deloitte are up-front that they do a “critical assessment”, so it was never going to be a pat on the back for council, but even so it outlined 17 findings of concern and made five recommendations on how the the City of Perth could improve.

There was only one legal breach uncovered by the audit: “City of Perth Parking does not have a business plan, which is required under the Local Government Act 1995 for major trading undertakings.”

Breach

The report also found that in some cases the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing: “There is no clear alignment between organisational strategy and business unit strategy. Misalignment leads to conflicting priorities between business units.”

It also outlined concerns that “since 2013/14, revenue growth has not kept pace with expenditure growth”.

The chart shows expenditure keeps rising while the amount the city’s bringing in is starting to taper off, and it faces big expenses like the state government’s Perth Parking Levy, which took a 22 per cent chunk out of the council’s most recent budget.

The five recommendations included coming up with a “clear organisational strategy” to “make deliberate choices about the organisation’s future business model”.

At this week’s council meeting, Cr Reece Harley moved that they accept those five recommendations “in principle”.

He had support from councillors James Limnios and Jemma Green, but the rest of the councillors voted to send the recommendations off to committee first.

Following the release of the report, Ms Scaffidi said most other councils wouldn’t have the guts to undergo a Deloitte audit.

by DAVID BELL

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