Guide to councils

A guide to councils is available at Know Your Council.

The guide explains how councils work, how they make and spend money and how they are elected. It also explains how to get involved with your local council.

Good Governance Guide

Local Government Victoria has launched the Good Governance Guide as a resource for local governments, councillors and officers, as well as communities.

The guide, created in collaboration with the Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Local Governance Association and Local Government Professionals, aims to promote and enhance good governance.

Local Government legislation

Visit Acts and Legislation to see the Acts relating to local government.

Glossary of Terms

Download the glossary of terms relating to local government functions and roles:

Glossary of Local Government Terms (PDF, 18.1 KB)

Local rates cap

Visit A Fair Go rates system for Victorians for the results of the Victorian Government’s policy of capping council rates.

Guides and policies regulating local councils

Councils may establish special committees with authority to exercise certain Council powers. Special committees must operate in accordance with Section 86 of the Local Government Act and comply with the limits imposed by the Council's instrument of delegation.

Special Committees (PDF, 274.5 KB)
Special Committees (DOC, 275.5 KB)

A number of municipalities advise that certain individuals and groups seek to challenge the power of Councils to impose rates and charges

The challenge is based on two arguments: firstly, that local government is unconstitutional, and secondly, that local government does not have the legal power to declare rates and charges.

Local Government Victoria has set out the key 'myths and facts' on these and related issues. 

Legitimacy of Councils and Rating Powers fact sheet (PDF, 35.2 KB)
Legitimacy of Councils and Rating Powers fact sheet (DOCX, 29.2 KB)

Local Government Victoria, with the assistance of the Municipal Association of Victoria, has produced a booklet to assist councillors in understanding the rule of bias as it relates to their role as decision makers.

The guide also provides advice on how to ensure that councillors' actions are free from bias, and offers suggestions on steps to take if bias may be relevant to a proposed decision.

Ensuring Unbiased Democratic Council Decision Making: Principles to Guide Good Practice (PDF, 109.7 KB)
Ensuring Unbiased Democratic Council Decision Making: Principles to Guide Good Practice (DOCX, 89.7 KB)

Councillors, council staff and special committees are required to disclose all conflicts of interest so that it is clear to everyone that they are not using their positions to serve their own interests or the interests of people close to them.

LGV publishes concise Conflict of Interest Guides for: 

Councillors (PDF, 285.4 KB)
Councillors (DOC, 404.5 KB)

Members of Council Staff (PDF, 481.5 KB)
Members of Council Staff (DOC, 383.0 KB)

Members of Council Committees (PDF, 226.0 KB)
Members of Council Committees (DOC, 260.0 KB)

The Council Staff Codes of Conduct Framework was produced by LGV in association with the Reference Group on Council (Staff and Others) Codes of Conduct.

The Framework helps Council Chief Executive Officers to develop and implement staff codes of conduct under the Local Government Act 1989.

The Framework is a also resource for Victorian Council officers involved in governance, human resources and risk management who have a lead role in assisting the CEO to develop a code of conduct.

Framework for the Development and Review of Council Staff Codes of Conduct (PDF, 352.5 KB)
Framework for the Development and Review of Council Staff Codes of Conduct (DOC, 906.0 KB)

The Mayor and Councillor Entitlements Information Guide assists councils, council staff and the community understand the entitlements of Mayors and Councillors.   

The guide addresses expenses reimbursement and the provision of facilities and resources, along with information on policy and legislative requirements, principles and approval arrangements.

Mayor and Councillor Entitlements Information Guide (DOC, 138.5 KB)

The Victorian Government appointed a Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel to review current allowances and advise on councillor remuneration. The Panel also provided recommendations on appropriate reimbursement of expenses and provision of resources support for mayors and councillors.

In April 2008 a new policy was announced.

The new package and policy took effect immediately after the November 2008 Local Government general elections.

The Office of Women's Policy, Department of Planning and Community Development funded the Attrition Among Women Councillors in Victoria research project.

The project was undertaken by the Victorian Local Governance Association and the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Moving On sets out the qualitative findings of this research project.

Moving On: Women and Retirement from Local Government (PDF, 354.4 KB)

Governance Reports

Under the Local Government Act 1989, the Minister for Local Government can appoint municipal monitors to:

  • observe governance processes
  • provide advice to councils that are experiencing governance difficulties.

At the end of their appointment, the monitor provides a report to the Minister.

Where more serious governance failures are identified, the Minister can appoint Commissions of Inquiry to investigate governance processes at councils.

At the end of the inquiry, the Commission provides a report and recommendations to the Minister.

Municipal Monitors

Mark Madden and Bill Mountford were appointed as Special Inspectors earlier this year to assist Darebin Council address outstanding issues identified by municipal monitor Mr Peter Lewinsky during his term at the Council. The Minister for Local Government has released their final report.

Documents and the provision of advice in relation to the Darebin City Council - PP 62 2015

Darebin Municipal Monitor’s Report (PDF, 4.4 MB)

Special Inspectors report (PDF, 5.4 MB)
Special Inspectors report (DOCX, 135.7 KB)

Following the Victorian Ombudsman's report into the Casey City Council's Special Charge Scheme in Market Lane in June 2016, the Minister for Local Government appointed Bill Jaboor as Municipal Monitor to monitor the Council.

Mr Jaboor worked with and interviewed council staff and the Mayor, and talked to community groups and members. Mr Jaboor’s report outlines how the ombudsman’s recommendations and other concerns have been addressed by the council. It also assesses the actions taken aimed to ensure similar governance issues do not arise again.

Municipal Monitor’s Report for Casey City Council 2016 (PDF, 117.3 KB)

See also Ombudsman’s Report of Investigation into Casey City Council’s Special Charge Scheme for Market Lane

Municipal Monitor Bill Jaboor was appointed to Central Goldfields Shire Council in October 2016. Mr Jaboor provided support during the council's caretaker period while an investigation by the Local Government Compliance and Investigations Inspectorate was underway.  

Municipal Monitor’s Report for Central Goldfields Shire Council 2016 (PDF, 475.7 KB)

LGV Legislation reports 2000 - 2009