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To effectively manage the affairs of your council, now and
into the future, you need to have the information to judge how
your council is performing and to make decisions on how to change
or improve its performance.
It is vital to have a performance measurement and reporting framework in place. Such a system ensures accountability to the community as to how public money is being spent and the quality of the services delivered.
Your council is accountable for monitoring performance in the achievement of its strategic direction, goals and financial outcomes, which are set through the strategic plan, annual plan, financial management strategy, long-term financial management plan, and annual budget.
An annual report is a key mechanism by which your council reports to, and is accountable to, the community. The annual report outlines your council’s achievements against objectives included within the annual plan and other relevant plans.
Section 72 of the Local Government Act requires councils to prepare an annual report and make copies available for public inspection.
The Local Government Act specifies the matters that must be contained in the annual report and requires councils to invite the public to make submissions on the report. Councils are required to consider public submissions at their annual general meeting.
See the Division of Local Government’s Annual Report Guidelines for more information.
Tasmanian councils are required by the Local Government Act 1993 to establish and maintain an audit panel. Audit panels are integral to maintaining accountability through review of processes and decision making. Audit panels are also fundamental to identifying actions required to ensure your council’s legal, governance, social and ethical responsibilities, and that your financial and asset management practices are in the best interests of the local community.
Audit panels provide a check on key council activities. Primarily audit panels review councils’ financial systems and management. However, they also review councils’ broader functions to ensure that the organisation has the appropriate risk, culture, personnel, policies, systems, and controls in place for the council to function effectively, legally and ethically.
A successful audit panel will also ensure the council employs proper management practices throughout the entirety of council activities; complies with all legislative and policy requirements; and adopts leading practice with all aspects of governance. Effective use of panels should assist in reducing the workload of councils.
The Local Government Audit Panels - A Practice Guide(the Guide) has been developed to assist councils with the establishment and maintenance of audit panels. The Guide has been developed specifically for the Tasmanian context, and is consistent with the requirements under Tasmanian legislation.
As required by the Audit Act 2008, Tasmanian councils are audited annually through submission of their financial statements to the Auditor-General. Using completed financial statement audits, the Auditor-General presents a report to Parliament each year assessing councils’ financial performance, including financial sustainability.
In addition to annual financial audits, the Auditor-General may conduct performance audits in relation to the activities of local government. Such audits usually result in reports to Parliament. Details of proposed audits can be found in the Auditor-General’s Plan of Work, which is published by 30 June each year.
For more information please refer to the Tasmanian Audit Office’s website.