The cost of innumerable audits has been revealed as one councillor says red tape is increasingly diverting staff from service delivery and duplicating information which "probably isn't even read".
Corangamite Shire coastal ward councillor Jamie Vogels used the monthly council meeting on Tuesday to voice concerns about the volume of state government performance reports.
"What is the cost associated with completing these 82 mandatory indicators that cover service performance, financial performance and sustainability?", he asked.
"How many council staff members are being diverted from delivering services to our ratepayers and community or diverted from improving services to run around gathering duplicate information for the state government that probably isn't even read or used?".
The answer was 10-12 staff, director corporate and community services David Harrington revealed, to an estimated internal cost of $15,000 in time.
"I question the burden this places on our staff and the cost it has for the community by diverting staff away from real jobs from direct service delivery," Cr Vogels said.
"Various state government agencies continue to use their own separate process to collect council data. This duplicates efforts for both councils and the state government at least through inefficiencies and inconsistencies.
"In business and another organisations the type of performance reporting is found in the annual report and correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't council also prepare an audited annual report which includes all the information in the LGPR and more?
"The annual report is also submitted to the minister for local government and tabled in state parliament.
"... It's just the tip of the iceberg for things coming through council that's reporting on reports on reporting. It does take up a lot of time for our high-end officers whose time could be much better used."
The reporting framework for local government performance was introduced in 2014 to reduce the volume to a once-a-year single summary.
In 2019 the Victorian auditor general found the framework had not achieved the aim of reducing the reporting burden on councils, Cr Vogels said.
North ward councillor Nick Cole agreed the requirements were extensive.
"It seems we're being audited on anything now - any local charity that's got some government influence is being audited on a regular basis as volunteers but who's checking the checkers?," he asked.
"It's all at a cost, someone has to do it but it bogs the system up as far as I'm concerned.
"I do agree there needs to be auditing but there seems to be more and more auditing going on checking all sorts of things and as councillor Vogels says, does anyone actually read these things in the end or do they sit in a drawer somewhere?".