Local Government - Looking Back and Looking Forward


I am making this report to place on record my perspective on the changes in local government administration during my term as Auditor-General, and to offer my views on the future challenges for both local government and the Audit Office.

Local government – by which term I refer collectively to all three types of local authority under the Local Government Act 1974 – has undergone significant change during my term of office from April 1995 to May 2002. The way the Audit Office fulfils its functions in relation to local government has had to reflect that change.

When I became Auditor-General, local government was near the end of implementation. These reforms had radically changed the face of local government with:

  • extensive amalgamations of boroughs and counties;
  • the creation of regional councils; and
  • the absorption of minor authorities such as drainage boards and pest destruction boards.

At the same time, a new accountability regime was introduced which outlined more clearly the functions of local authorities and the manner in which they should operate, and prescribed new accountability mechanisms.

The new main accountability documents were the Annual Plan and the Annual Report. In addition, accounting was required to be in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice, and non-financial performance had to be reported and audited.

D J D Macdonald
Controller and Auditor-General

3 May 2002

The full text of this report is available in PDF format (377kB).

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