The Local Government Compliance Framework outlines the department's
approach to ensuring that the integrity of the local government sector
is of the highest order.
The framework provides transparency and gives the local government sector and the public certainty about department's approach to managing complaints made against the sector (or individuals within it). The department's aim is to build good governance
by promoting and enforcing compliance and encouraging all local governments to move beyond minimum compliance through continuous improvement. The department also aims to ensure that there is proper accountability of local governments to their communities.
Under the Local Government Act 1995 and associated legislation
and regulations, the department is responsible for the regulation of the local government sector in Western Australia. Its responsibilities are to:
The intent of the framework is to:
The compliance framework is not a legal document; it is provided for the purposes of information and does not limit the discretion of the department to take any action it sees fit under the Local Government Act 1995 and associated legislation.
The compliance strategy is built on the following principles:
The department supports the local government sector to build its capability through the provision of education, advice and other services. The department is committed to providing accurate, consistent and timely information to help the sector understand
its obligations, and does this by:
When requested, the department will endeavour to provide interpretive advice relevant to the legislation but it is not able to provide legal advice or opinions nor (in most cases) share with the sector or other stakeholders legal advice it seeks or receives
in respect of the statutory framework.
The department deals with non-compliance by focusing reactive audits and investigations on those who have chosen not to comply, or where there is evidence of serious non-compliance, regardless of the reason for this.
This is done by:
Where a formal investigation or authorised inquiry is undertaken, the department will:
The compliance model assumes that the local government sector will, by and large, comply or seek to comply with its statutory obligations. Therefore, it is not appropriate for the department to respond to all compliance issues in the same way; it will
seek to educate and inform where genuine attempts at compliance are being made. Equally, the department will impose the full force of the law when there is evidence of a serious non-compliance or systemic or repetitive breaches.
The department 's approach to compliance aims to be holistic.
The department can use a variety of tactics to obtain information about governance standards and/or in response to complaints about particular practices. These are outlined in the following table along with an overview of why the department
might take a particular approach.
The department 's response will vary depending on the risk level and possible consequences. The response approach is generally as follows:
In addition to the actions the department is mandated to take (as outlined above), the Minister for Local Government may establish an independent inquiry into a local government where there are concerns about high level and/or systematic governance issues.
The department may be asked to provide advice to the Minister prior to such a decision being made, however the decision to establish an independent inquiry can only be made by the Minister (these powers cannot be delegated). Such an inquiry has the
powers of a Royal Commission and operates independently of the department (although departmental staff may be seconded by the inquiry to assist it to fulfil its responsibilities).
Do not submit enquiries with this form.