The Minister for Local Government today released a Final Report by appointed Municipal Monitor, Prue Digby listing her findings and recommendations following her time at Frankston City Council.
Ms Digby was appointed by the Minister for Local Government on 13 December 2017 and completed her appointment on 16 September 2019, following the recruitment of a permanent CEO.
During her appointment, Ms Digby monitored Council’s governance processes and practices, and provided recommendations to the Minister and Council on how areas of concern could be addressed.
In the report, Ms Digby assessed Frankston City Council as performing strongly in six of eight areas evaluated during her appointment.
These assessments were made against the eight pillars of the Framework for Good Governance. Of those pillars, Ms Digby found Council to be performing adequately or beyond expectations in:
- Risk and Compliance
- Structures, Systems and Policies
- Direction and Leadership
- Monitoring and Review
- Communication and Community Engagement.
Areas identified as needing further attention and future focus were Decision Making and Culture and Behaviour – which Council is committed to prioritising.
Ms Digby concluded that Ordinary Council meetings were well attended, with Councillors only absent due to approved leave or illness, and that Council’s service delivery was at or above the level expected for similar councils.
Frankston City Mayor, Sandra Mayer said she is grateful for the guidance provided by Ms Digby, and is proud of the progress Council has made.
“Prue has helped us to move forward as a more cohesive unit.”
“We are committed to positively addressing the recommendations of Ms Digby’s report, and feel we have already made huge strides towards positive change,” the Mayor said.
“We are pleased that the report has finally been made available to the public. We have a strong focus on transparency, and believe our community has the right to read the report in full.”
“At last Monday’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Councillors agreed to write to the Minister for Local Government requesting the report’s release – so it is pleasing that it is now out in the public realm,” said the Mayor.
During her appointment as Monitor, Ms Digby attended 20 Ordinary meetings, seven Special Council meetings, a Statutory Meeting, two Strategic Budget meetings, 69 Councillor Assemblies and five Councillor only meetings.
Ms Digby also attended each meeting of the Chief Executive Officer Performance Review Committee and a meeting of the Audit and Risk Committee, as well as meetings between Council and State and Federal Members of Parliament.
Ms Digby met regularly with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, CEO and senior staff to provide advice or a range of other matters.
In her report, Ms Digby said, “Frankston City Council has made significant progress since my appointment in December 2017 in the key areas of concern identified by the Chief Municipal Inspector.”
Council’s CEO, Phil Cantillon said overall he felt the report to be fair and considered, clearly highlighting the positive changes that had been put in place to address the monitor’s concerns.
“We have already made great headway in improving governance and decision making processes, as reflected in the results of this year’s Victorian Community Satisfaction Survey where Council demonstrated considerable improvement in a number of key areas,” Phil said.
Council is required to respond to the Minister by 31 January 2020, detailing its commitment to positively addressing the recommendations outlined in the report.
Ms Digby also provided a second, briefer report on the process for recruitment of a permanent CEO. Both reports are available online at: localgovernment.vic.gov.au