NOW The community can expect a more structured approach to ensure that council’s strategic plans and decisions contribute towards defined long-term goals while considering the community’s aspirations. Council staff can expect that their work will be more directed towards strategic outcomes as defined in an integrated planning framework. The new mayor and councillors can expect that the strategic plans and strategies they approve in the future will be reflected and actioned in consequential operational plans and actual services delivered by council staff.
WHAT WE DID A Transformation Project team was established to review the budget framework. The following outcomes were achieved by the team: A budget and Long-Term Financial Forecast (LTFF) framework that succinctly outlines the process for the preparation and adoption of budget and LTFF, including roles and responsibilities, was created; This framework details documents and plans that will inform the budget process to ensure an efficient and well-informed budget that aligns with council’s corporate plan, infrastructure and asset management plans, etc; A review of council’s Services Catalogue was undertaken to ensure the catalogue details reflect the services council provides to the community; and The Services Catalogue will be used to build and inform council’s annual budget. NOW The community can expect that council’s budget and Long Term Financial Forecast will accurately reflect and fund the key strategies of council, align with council’s key plans, and ensure the efficient and effective use of council’s resources. Council staff are expected to deliver consistent, appropriate and sustainable core services to the community in accord with a budget and LTFF that reflect and fund the services defined in council’s Services Catalogue. The newly-elected mayor and councillors can expect the budget and LTFF provided to them in April/May 2020 will be based on a more accurate reflection of the key strategies of council, align with council’s key plans, and ensure the efficient and effective use of council’s resources and the financial sustainability of your council.
4.2 BUDGET FRAMEWORK It is mandatory that each local government across Queensland prepare an annual budget. It is entirely reasonable for Ipswich residents and ratepayers to expect that council’s annual budget is prepared under a transparent process that reflects the corporate plan and other long-term planning frameworks. BEFORE ADMINISTRATION While your council had a relatively comprehensive process when compiling its annual budget, the process was not clearly outlined or communicated, nor integrated effectively with council’s critical planning process (i.e. corporate plan, infrastructure plans, asset management plans) to ensure projects funded through the budget were clearly aligned with council’s overall strategy. Council’s Services Catalogue – the basis on which your council’s service standards are set and hence budgets defined - was also well out of date and did not accurately reflect the services council was then actually providing to the community.