South Australians are being given the chance to help design a new website aimed at increasing transparency in local councils.
Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said the ‘Councils in Focus’ website will be a snapshot of local government, providing the public with useful, consistent information about all 68 South Australian councils, such as how they spend rate-payers’ money.
“This is about giving people more information about how their council works,” Minister Chapman said.
“Councils do a lot more than emptying your bins– they provide a wide range of services that most of us take for granted.
“They provide services that the community relies on, generate revenue from a wide range of sources and make decisions that can impact us all.
“’Councils in Focus’ will help you find out what your council is spending money on, where that money comes from and how it contributes to the wellbeing of your community.”
Minister Chapman said the government was keen to hear feedback on how the platform was progressing.
“This website is designed for local communities and ratepayers, so we’re encouraging people to tell us the types of information they’d like to see published,” she said.
“You can visit the YourSAy website to learn more about the platform and give us your ideas.”
She said the data would also support councils in their own internal analysis.
“The information contained on this site will help councils dig down deeper into the data for more granular information to help with strategic planning and benchmarking activities,” she said.
“We’ve been working closely with councils as well as the Local Government Association to develop these more in-depth, council-specific reports so that they can best meet the needs of the sector.
“A lot of this of data will be pulled in from existing sources so it’s not diverting council resources.
“It will instead bring all of this information together to help support their decision making.”
The ‘Councils in Focus’ website implements a key recommendation of the South Australian Productivity Commission’s inquiry into local government costs and efficiency.
“The Commission’s inquiry found there needed to be a much greater focus on making local government information more accessible to both ratepayers and councils.
“The Commission recommended establishing the Local Government Information Framework which will essentially come to life in the form of the ‘Councils in Focus’ website.”
You can visit the YourSAy website before July 16 and provide your comments at www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/councils-in-focus-website.
The ‘Councils in Focus’ website will be launched later this year.