A recently launched integrity management programme centres on educating member councils to identify activities that minimise claims frequency for Councillors’ and Officers’ cover.

Community trust in local government is at risk. Research shows that there’s been a marked increase in local government experiencing problems with corruption, bribery and financial manipulation over the past five years. Council reputations are being eroded and costs are heading north.

Since 2010, claims from our Councillors’ and Officers’ policy have tripled, with outgoings increasing from $500,000 to nearly $3 million. Recently referred cases to ICAC have caused losses in excess of $1 million.

“The good news is we’re doing something about it,” said Bill Warne, Chairman of Statewide Mutual. “Realising that if we could promote better governance practices across local government and a clearer understanding of senior leaders’ roles and responsibilities, we could sow the seed for fostering more positive cultures.”

Launched in Sydney on 12 June, the Integrity Management for Local Government programme was devised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The first part is delivered as an interactive training programme for senior management and elected officials. It’s sure to help participants identify key factors that contribute to damaging workplace cultures and develop skills to implement an effective Integrity Management System Framework.

One-day courses have been conducted at three regional venues so far, with a further 12 planned for regional centres across NSW. Arrangements are being made with each region to determine the most suitable dates.

The second part involves applying these learnings in the workplace and implementing the framework to prevent integrity breaches and claims in terms of the Councillors’ and Officers’ policy. In a nutshell, the programme is essentially a risk management initiative. It signals our adoption of a proactive stance to upholding integrity within our membership.

To register your interest in attending one of the programme’s training sessions (PDF, 147kB) please contact Eva Sarah at JLT on (02) 9320 2705 or email eva.sarah@jlta.com.au. Statewide Mutual will sponsor two delegates from each member council – all other attendees will be charged at cost.

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