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LACKING FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY

ISSUE

Councillors who accept the advice of their portfolio councillor without question are not doing the work they should do.

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SCENARIO

An inner urban council has a system of portfolio councillors. Lily is the portfolio councillor for finance. She has assured her fellow councillors that they don’t really need to worry about studying the financial accounts this year because she has been through them with the CEO and can guarantee that they are all well and truly in order.

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WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

Council is collectively responsible for the council’s finances and each councillor is responsible for their own vote. All councillors must ensure that they have all the information they need so that they can make informed decisions and vote accordingly on financial matters.

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HOW TO TACKLE THIS SITUATION

  • financial reports need to be presented in the most accessible way possible so that all councillors can understand the information
  • councillors must ask questions about any information that is not clear
  • council needs to ensure the portfolio system (if applicable) is seen as a means of improving information exchange and communication, not as a means of outsourcing accountability.

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