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WHAT IS GOOD GOVERNANCE?

Good governance is about the processes for making and implementing decisions. It’s not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about the best possible process for making those decisions.

Good decision-making processes, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects of local government including consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols, councillor and officer conduct, role clarification and good working relationships.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE?

Good governance is accountable

Accountability is a fundamental requirement of good governance. Local government has an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions it has made on behalf of the community it represents.

Good governance is transparent

People should be able to follow and understand the decision-making process. This means that they will be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made – what information, advice and consultation council considered, and which legislative requirements (when relevant) council followed.

Good governance follows the rule of law

This means that decisions are consistent with relevant legislation or common law and are within the powers of council. In the case of Victorian local government, relevant legislation includes the Local Government Act 1989 and other legislation such as the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

Good governance is responsive

Local government should always try to serve the needs of the entire community while balancing competing interests in a timely, appropriate and responsive manner.

Good governance is equitable and inclusive

A community’s wellbeing results from all of its members feeling their interests have been considered by council in the decision-making process. This means that all groups, particularly the most vulnerable, should have opportunities to participate in the process.

Good governance is effective and efficient

Local government should implement decisions and follow processes that make the best use of the available people, resources and time to ensure the best possible results for their community.

Good governance is participatory

Anyone affected by or interested in a decision should have the opportunity to participate in the process for making that decision. This can happen in several ways – community members may be provided with information, asked for their opinion, given the opportunity to make recommendations or, in some cases, be part of the actual decision-making process.

It is important to remember that under the Local Government Act 1989 the council is required to either make decisions or delegate the decision-making power to officers or Special Committees. For more information see How decisions are made.

FACT

“It’s the decision-making process, not what the decision is about.”

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