17-16 – Transition from Administration to the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework for merged councils
What’s new or changing
- This Circular provides advice to those councils proclaimed in 2016 (see list below) in relation to Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) in the lead-up to their first local government elections on 9 September 2017.
- The 26 councils whose ordinary elections have been deferred by Ministerial order (including those that were proposed to merge but were advised by the Minister for Local Government in February 2017 that the merger will not proceed), should continue to refer to Circular 16-50, as the information it contains still applies.
What this will mean for your council
- This Circular applies only to the 20 councils proclaimed in 2016, listed below:
- Armidale Regional
- Central Coast
- City of Parramatta
- Dubbo Regional
- Edward River
- Georges River
- Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional
- Inner West
- Northern Beaches
- Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional
- Snowy Monaro Regional
- Snowy Valleys
Roles and responsibilities
- The Administrator will continue to oversee the implementation period, up until the election of the new council in September 2017.
- Leading up to this time it is critical that the Administrator undertakes the appropriate preparatory work and allocates sufficient resources to ensure the newly elected Council can meet its statutory planning and reporting responsibilities under the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework (IP&R) and successfully complete the transition process. IP&R will be the incoming council’s central planning, delivery and accountability system and it is important to ensure the groundwork is prepared.
- Once the election is conducted, the newly elected Council will be responsible for commencing its first cycle of IP&R.
2016/17 Annual reporting requirements
- The Annual Report is a key point of accountability between a council and its communities. For new councils, the Annual Report also provides the opportunity to outline its achievements in delivering its implementation plan.
- Due to the election timing, the finalisation of the 2016-17 Annual Report will be the responsibility of the newly elected council. It is critical that the Administrator undertake the necessary preparatory work to ensure that the Council is able to comply with the annual reporting requirements of the Act.
- The Annual Report must:
- contain Council’s audited financial statements and notes;
- include the information required by the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005;
- be prepared within five months of the end of the financial year (i.e. by 30 November); and
- be posted on Council’s website and provided to the Minister (by sending an email including a link to the report on Council’s website to email@example.com) within 28 days.
- The following exemptions relate to the 2016/17 annual report for new Councils:
- The requirement under sections 428 and 428A of the Local Government Act 1993 for a council to include in its Annual Report a report as to the state of the environment, and an outline of its achievements in implementing its Community Strategic Plan (CSP).
- There are no exceptions to reporting requirements under other Acts, nor to the data provision requirements of other agencies. Councils should continue to meet these obligations where applicable.
- During the pre-election period, the Administrator must:
- ensure that Council’s Engagement Plan is reviewed and, by the final Council meeting before the election, endorse a draft Community Engagement Strategy. The strategy should include processes for engagement with the community on a vision and priorities for the Council area, to help lay the foundations for the first CSP of the new Council.
- provide for the newly elected Council any documentation that will support it in developing its first CSP by 30 June 2018, noting that new councils are at various stages of supporting CSP preparation.
- adopt a new Operational Plan (2017-18) by 30 June 2017, supported by an integrated annual budget (2017/18). Council will continue to operate under this Operational Plan and budget until 30 June 2018.
- There is no requirement for the Administrator to prepare an End of Term Report. Consideration should be given to the preparation of summary documents that both inform the newly elected Council as well as summarise the key milestones and achievements delivered throughout the implementation period.
- These activities are the responsibility of the newly elected Council.
- Council must adopt its suite of IP&R documents (ie: the CSP, Delivery Program, Operational Plan and Resourcing Strategy) by 30 June 2018.
- In doing so, the newly elected Council should take an approach that incorporates the following:
- Council should review the draft Community Engagement Strategy and adopt the final version by 31 December 2017. The Community Engagement Strategy will guide the community engagement that informs the development of the first CSP.
- The CSPs of the former councils, as well as any analysis of these plans undertaken during the implementation period, and any documents provided by the Administrator are valid reference documents in the development of the newly elected Council’s first CSP and Delivery Program.
- Outstanding activities of the newly elected Council’s implementation plan should also be considered in the development of the Delivery Program.
- The 2017/18 budget will remain in place until 30 June 2018 to guide council activities during that period, alongside the Operational Plan and implementation plan. The budget will also serve as an important reference document to inform the development of the newly elected Council’s first Long-Term Financial Plan, and the broader Resourcing Strategy.
Where to go for further information
- Further information can be provided by contacting your Implementation Liaison Manager or from the OLG Development Team, which can be contacted on 02 4428 4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- More information about the IP&R framework can be found on OLG’s website: https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/councils/integrated-planning-and-reporting
Acting Chief Executive