Guidance on Local Government Advice
On 30 April 2022, amendments to the Local Government Act 1999 came into operation. They introduced an advisory scheme that aims to give ratepayers confidence that the rates they pay are set at the level necessary for their council to provide the services they value. The Essential Services Commission (Commission) is the advisory body. The State’s 68 councils are subject to the scheme.
It is an advisory scheme, rather than a compulsive one. The scheme provides advice only, with decision making in the hands of the councils. This means that the Commission cannot require councils to follow the advice. However, the scheme requires both the Commission and councils to publish the advice and, if a council wishes to respond to the advice, that council must publish that response in its annual business plan. The advice to be provided under the scheme will provide independent and transparent information on matters which will be key to those discussions and decisions. The advice will also provide to ratepayers and other interested stakeholders an independent consideration of a council’s plans, thereby adding value across local communities.
In implementing the scheme, the Commission has published a Framework and Approach, Schedule of Councils and Information Provision Guideline. Please refer to the documents below, for further information.
Local government advice - framework and approach
Through amendments to the Local Government Act 1999, the South Australian Government has introduced a role for the Commission to provide advice to each of the State’s 68 local councils (under a Schedule on a four-yearly rotational basis). The advice relates to the appropriateness of council’s long-term financial plans, infrastructure and asset management plans, and revenue sources as outlined in the council’s funding plan.
The Commission consulted on a proposed framework and approach, and, after taking into account comments received, has resolved a final Framework and Approach, available below.
For further information on the Framework and Approach consultation, refer to the project page below.
Local government advice - schedule of councils
The schedule of councils for the local government advice scheme, starting in 2022-23 and ending in 2025-26, is available below.
All councils have been allocated into a relevant scheme year over a four-year prescribed period. The allocation has been set based on existing local government classifications. For information on the methodology used to arrive at the schedule of councils, refer to Schedule for the scheme (2022-23 to 2025-26).
Local government advice – information provision 2022-23
The Commission has released additional material regarding the information requirements for the Local Government Advice Scheme under the Local Government Act 1999 (LG Act). As the advisory body for the Scheme, the Commission has determined the information requirements which it considers reasonably necessary for the performance of its functions.
Guideline for information provision under the Local Government Advice Scheme 2022-23
- This document provides further detail on information requirements for councils participating in the scheme in 2022-23.
- It contains guidelines for the purposes of section 122(1e) to the LG Act, specifying information to be provided by 30 September 2022.
- It also indicates the general nature of information that the Commission might seek from individual councils through a formal written notice.
A sample Financial Reporting Template (unpopulated version for information – note that the Commission will pre-populate each council’s Template in practice) for 2022-23 is also provided below, for reference.