Sector profile

Prevention and detection strategies for local government

Insights on specific corruption risks for the local government sector, councillors and employees, as well as related prevention and detection strategies.

Favouritism, including poorly managed conflicts of interest

  • Have clear conflict of interest policies on how to identify, declare and manage conflicts of interest. These should also state the consequences of failing to comply with the policy.
  • Maintain an up-to-date register of conflict of interest declarations that notifies line management of conflicts.
  • Conduct regular audits to look for trends and patterns in the awarding of funds, such as community grants.
  • Separation of duties for designing and applying the planning scheme. For example, planning decisions could be made by council staff with councillor oversight. For example, IBAC’s recommendations for reform arising from Operation Sandon.

Corruption related to procurement

  • Procurement policies should set out competitive processes for the selection of suppliers, as well as the minimum requirements set out in section 108 of the Local Government Act 2020. Where competitive processes are not required, controls should be in place to manage fraud and corruption risks.
  • No single employee should have end-to-end control over a procurement. Appropriate supervision and approval processes should be in place for procurement decisions. LGV Procurement Guidelines suggest different people should draft and approve tender specifications; raise and approve purchase orders; receive goods; approve related invoices; review and reconcile financial records; and perform inventory counts.
  • Conduct regular audits to check compliance with policies and procedures. High risk areas (for example, contract or purchase order variations, use of contingency funds and information) should be closely monitored.
  • Train and empower staff responsible for processing invoices to raise concerns.

Unauthorised access, disclosure and use of information

  • Secure information management systems and a positive information security culture, including requirements around content quality, storage and access to information and systems. This promotes accountability and can guard against unauthorised access to information.

Building a culture of integrity

  • Mechanisms to encourage and support councillors, staff and suppliers to speak up and report suspected misconduct and corrupt conduct. These could include having information available on public interest disclosures or having a reporting telephone line either council operated or outsourced.
  • Mandatory regular training and awareness raising to be conducted for employees and contractors.