Councils have significant responsibility and autonomy in providing services for their communities. It is important that these services meet the needs of the local community and are provided effectively, efficiently and equitably.

When assessing or comparing the performance of councils, it is important to remember that local circumstances can influence how well a council provides its services. There are often good reasons why it is harder or more costly to provide certain services in some local government areas than in others, or why a different mix of services may be delivered. In some cases, councils may have made conscious decisions to provide lower or higher levels of services depending on local needs. It is also important to remember that key performance indicators, when used on their own, do not give the full picture of a council’s performance. Although they show the differences between councils across a selection of specific activities, they do not explain why these differences have arisen. The figures are indicators only and conclusions should not be drawn without qualitative assessments being made.

Key resources