State wants council anti-corruption committees

Councils across NSW would  be forced to appoint an anti-corruption committee under a proposed anti-fraud framework.

The framework released for public feedback this week will require councils to appoint an audit, risk and improvement committee to stamp out corruption.

Councils would also be forced to implement a risk management framework and to undertake internal audits to ensure corruption safeguards are effective.

Shelley Hancock

NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock described the framework as “the strongest risk management and internal audit framework in Australia.”

The framework will see the state’s 128 councils appoint a risk committee by March 2021 – a safeguard that 70 per cent of the state’s councils already have in place after amendments to local government laws in 2016 made it mandatory for councils.

“The end result will be councils making better decisions and better use of their resources to deliver for their local communities. It will also help ensure councils create a culture of continuous improvement, accountability and transparency” Ms Hancock on Tuesday said.

The Office of Local Government on Tuesday released a draft framework, which is modelled on international standards and NSW and federal public sector agencies.

Under the framework, councils will be required to comply with nine different requirements including establishing an internal audit function, establishing audit reporting lines, developing an audit program and reporting on audits.

By 2026, the committee’s role would branch out to include compliance, fraud control, financial management and governance, according to the proposal’s timeline.

Feedback on the proposed framework is open until 31st December 2019.

Submissions can be made here.

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