How will the information on the Councils in Focus website help me?

    As a ratepayer, you might be interested in how much your council spends on a certain issue in your community.

    For example: Your council might spend a lot on maintaining roads compared with another council. You could then contact your local council to learn more about their decision-making process.

    The website ultimately helps you have a better understanding of how your council works.

    Can I compare any South Australian council?

    The website will allow you to compare similar councils. This means you will be able to compare data from councils that have equivalent characteristics.

    Some councils in South Australia cover a much larger geographical area than others. It would be reasonable for a regional council to spend more money on maintaining their roads than a much smaller metropolitan council.

    Where does the information come from?

    The data for Councils in Focus has been sourced from several places, including:

    • the South Australian Local Government Grants Commission
    • each council’s financial statements, annual reports and a number of council returns
    • other authoritative sources like the Office of the Valuer-General and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

    The information on the site will be drawn from existing data collections, meaning there will be no additional reporting burden for councils. 

    Why is this project happening?

    The South Australian Productivity Commission (SAPC) was tasked with investigating local government costs and efficiency. It made a number of recommendations, with a particular focus on making information available for improved decision-making.

    To meet this need, the Office of Local Government is co-designing a Local Government Information Framework (LGIF) with the Local Government Association 

    The LGIF will be the consistent, statewide data that will be used for both Councils in Focus and reports to councils. The framework will come to life in the form of Councils in Focus - a new, interactive website that will provide access to a range of data and generate comparative reports. 

    You can read more about the Productivity Commission’s inquiry and final recommendations.

    A number of other jurisdictions around the country have also created similar websites over the past few years to provide councils and the community with this data.

    What are the benefits of this project?

    The Councils in Focus website will bring together a range of information about your local council’s services, operations and performance in one place.  

    Better understanding and engagement for the community

    • To better inform ratepayers and citizens of their council’s performance
    • A stronger understanding of the functions delivered by councils and the costs of delivery 
    • An increased engagement with councils and their decisions, 
    • An incentives for councils to improve performance 
    • Increasing engagement between ratepayers and councils 

    Better consistency and transparency for councils

    • Greater consistency in reporting and presentation of information about councils  
    • Reduced repetition and disparity of council information 
    • Increasing transparency of council planning, updates and implementation 
    • Better use of existing data sources
    • Supporting council members’ understanding of their council’s performance to inform their decision making
    • Supporting councils to identify where resources can best be invested to explore and deliver efficiencies through detailed benchmarking work 

    What's the difference between Councils in Focus and the LGIF?

    While the Councils in Focus website will be available to everyone, the Local Government Information Framework (LGIF) will support councils to drill down further for more granular detail to help identify areas for their own internal analysis and improvements. 

    If you are interested in seeing how the LGIF will work as a whole, you can read the detailed information provided to councils.