“Know Your Council”

The State Government's “Know Your Council” website compares the performance of Victorian councils against a series of indicators.

Greater Shepparton City Council is committed to being open and transparent and to delivering the best value services for our community.

All Victorian councils differ in size, people and culture, and with the Know Your Council website Greater Shepparton’s service delivery and performance is compared to the following councils:

Council Population
Greater Geelong 224,926
Greater Bendigo 106,971
Ballarat 100,283
Latrobe 73,653
Greater Shepparton 63,269
Mildura 53,036
Wodonga 38,131
Warrnambool 33,501
Wangaratta 27,117
Horsham 19,691

We are lucky enough to be located in one of regional Victoria’s most varied municipalities.

While Know Your Council offers benchmarking information in a way that's easy to understand, it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. To help clarify some of the points of difference, we've created the information below.

Animal Management

Council promotes responsible pet ownership and provides animal management services to the community including monitoring, registration, enforcement and education. There are almost 13,000 registered cats and dogs in Greater Shepparton, but the statistics in Know Your Council also refer to animals not registered.

"Animals reclaimed from Council" are those animals collected by their owners from the Animal Shelter. Our figure looks very low because most of the cats that come into the shelter are not registered or identifiable, and are therefore difficult to return home. If non-registered cats and dogs were removed from the figure, the rate of animals reclaimed from Council would be much higher. Council continues to work on raising the percentage of registrations through responsible pet ownership programs.

GSCC’s "cost per animal" comprises all operational expenses including running of the shelter, legal expenses, veterinary costs and animal rangers and shelter attendants’ salaries. All animals are also microchipped and registered prior to release from the animal shelter. The income from animal registrations and other income has not been deducted which would lower the cost per registered animal if applied.

"Animal Management prosecutions" are successful prosecutions, i.e. those taken to court that resulted in a successful outcome for Council.

See our Animals section for more information.

Aquatic Facilities

Provision of indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities to the community and visitors for wellbeing, water safety, sport and recreation.

Greater Shepparton City Council aquatic facilities include Aquamoves and the Merrigum, Mooroopna and Tatura outdoor pool facilities.

In addition to periodical inspections undertaken by health inspectors all pools are managed as per the direction for the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations and incorporates full testing prior to opening and on-going testing every four hours every day while any pool is open to the public to ensure water quality is closely monitored and maintained at a safe and hygienic standards.

Greater Shepparton City Council takes into account reportable safety incidents for both employees and members of the public at aquatic facilities. It is believed GSCC is unique in reporting incidents involving non-employee (member of public) involved in an incident on a work site (Aquamoves) and this is the primary reason for the higher number.

Through a strong focus on quality programming Aquamoves has been able to provide a service that supports higher visitation and the generation of higher levels of revenue than many comparable facilities with comparable catchment populations. Aquamoves continues to provide one of the best value indoor pool facilities in Victoria at 69 cents per visit. Over 650,000 people visited Aquamoves last financial year.

The $9.46 cost compared to similar councils is an average of 10 councils including Greater Geelong with a population of almost 222,000 and Horsham of around 15,000. The overall result of $12.78 provides a more realistic benchmark and indicates Greater Shepparton at $15.78 is slightly higher. Council has been undertaking the development of a seasonal pools review and strategy which incorporates a detailed investigation of the operations of the pools, the performance of pools right across Victoria and a comprehensive community consultation program in relation to the service to provide information to support direction relating to the provision of seasonal outdoor pools in the short, medium and long-term future. The report is almost complete as a draft and expected to be available for community feedback early in 2015.

The strong result on visits to aquatic facilities per head of population is reflective of the focus on programming at aquatic facilities across the municipality.

See our Aquamoves and Swimming Pools section for more information.

Food Safety

Provision of food safety services to the community including registrations, education, monitoring, inspections and compliance.

Even though the percentage of required food safety assessments undertaken is slightly lower than other councils due to staff shortages last financial year, Council continues to place food safety as a high priority.

The food safety service cost includes all salary costs for Environmental Health Officers, management and administration costs. It also includes the cost of the food sampling program contributing over 35 per cent of the costs for food safety service.

See our Safety, Health and Wellbeing section for more information.

Governance

Provision of good governance to the community including making and implementing decisions with reference to community engagement, policy frameworks and agreed practice.

The results in this section indicate that Greater Shepparton City Council is doing better than most Councils in some areas of Governance.

Council’s community satisfaction with consultation and engagement and with Council decisions is higher than similar councils and all councils in Victoria, as is councillor attendance at council meetings.

Our cost of governance per councillor is also lower than similar councils indicating efficient management of governance.

See our Governance section for more information.

Home and Community Care

Provision of support to frail older people and younger people with disabilities living at home and their carers whose capacity for independent living is at risk.

Greater Shepparton City Council’s Home and Community Care (HACC) program undergoes regular quality audits conducted by an independent quality review team on behalf of the State and Commonwealth Governments. Council is pleased that our robust systems and processes have been shown to deliver a quality service to eligible residents.

The HACC Program is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and State governments. In order to meet the needs of our community, now and into the future, Greater Shepparton City Council requires more funding to be allocated by the Federal and State governments to its HACC program. Council is also undertaking a service review to ensure the program can be delivered to more eligible people in the municipality.
Greater Shepparton City Council acknowledges that in some CALD communities care is provided informally by family members rather than through a formal HACC service due to a reluctance to engage with formal services.

See our Aged and Disability Services section for more information.

Libraries

Provision of print and digital based resources to the community in a variety of formats including collection services, e-services, research tools and interactive learning programs.

Library Services in Greater Shepparton are delivered by Goulburn Valley Regional Libraries Inc. This is a partnership agreement between Greater Shepparton City Council, Moira Shire and Strathbogie Shire and is run by a board of management with Council representation. The library data is reflective of the regional nature of this service and supports the Board’s strategic plan to renew facilities and resources and market membership to our libraries.

During 2014 the Shepparton library was closed for renovations for four months, dramatically impacting the number of loans possible and visits made as a result. The cost per visit then becomes higher than normal as less were made.

Whilst the library’s resources show approximately one third of all stock is less than five years old it also reflects a lower level of investment was necessary for new books and DVDs etc over an extended period.

See our Library page for more information.

Maternal and Child Health

Provision of universal access to health services for children from birth to school age and their families including early detection, referral, monitoring and recording child health and development.

Our actual participation rate in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) first home visits is over 100 per cent which accounts for families who live outside the municipality but chose to use services in Greater Shepparton due to their participation in other activities in our municipality such as education, employment, sports/recreation, family connections etc.

Infant enrolments in the MCH service and participation in the service is similar to other local government areas. work hard to continually improve our participation rates, and that again local and state data shows that many of our funded 10 Key Age and Stage visits have higher participation rates for the last financial year than the previous one, which is postive. GSCC reviews the data regularly to monitor this – it has been difficult to maintain some of the very high participation rates Council achieved with added resourcing (i.e. enhanced Best Start funding), but have managed quite well given this drop.

GSCC reviews data relating to participation of Aboriginal children regularly and the slightly lower participation rate is something identified as a particular focus area for improvement. GSCC has managed to increase participation rates for Aboriginal Children in 8 of the 10 Key Age and Stage visits last financial year.

We believe the data published is taken from a data collection source that was not treated equally across the state - questions were interpreted differently by different local government areas.

See our Maternal and Child Health section for more information.

Roads

Provision of a network of sealed local roads under the control of the municipal council to all road users.

GSCC’s statistics on sealed local road requests are lower than other councils because GSCC has a proactive sealed roads asset inspection system. This computerised system ensures that roads are monitored more closely and that fewer requests are received.

Cost of sealed local road reconstruction per square metre is much lower which could be attributed to GSCC’s use of a mix of contractors and in-house teams and the sharing of resources with neighbouring councils.

Our cost of sealed local road resealing per square metre is lower as other Councils may include the cost of initial treatments followed up by final treatments in their costings.

Council recognises that community satisfaction with sealed local roads is slightly lower possibly due to a backlog of sealed local roads requiring rehabilitation.

Statutory Planning

Provision of land use and development assessment services to applicants and the community including advice and determination of applications.

The time taken to decide on planning applications depends on many factors including resources, number of applications and the complexity of applications. In this respect GSCC is performing better than all councils in Victoria. GSCC is also on a par with similar councils in regards to planning applications decided within 60 days which reflects the work undertaken through continual process improvement initiatives.

The cost of statutory planning service per planning application is lower than all councils and slightly lower than similar councils which is reflected in both time taken to decide applications and permits decided within 60 days.

The percentage of Council planning decisions upheld at VCAT is much higher than all councils. VCAT supports experienced officer’s recommendations even if Council may not always support those officer recommendations at Council meetings.

See our Statutory Planning section for more information.

Waste Collection

Provision of kerbside waste collection service to the community including garbage and recyclables.

In terms of waste collection Greater Shepparton City Council is obviously providing a very good service in terms of the requests per 1000 households and bins missed.

Our lower cost per bin for garbage may be due to overhead costs not being included. Our cost per bin for recyclables is slightly lower than other councils.

At this stage we have no diversion from kerbside collection waste but will do so once the new Cosgrove 3 landfill site is up and running.

See our Waste Management Strategies and Policies section for more information.

Financial Performance

Provision of relevant information about the effectiveness of financial management in local government including efficiency, liquidity, obligations, operating position and stability.

Greater Shepparton City Council is below similar councils and just two per cent above the all councils average on the average residential rate per residential property assessment. Other councils could have lower averages because they have more residential assessments than our Council (i.e. metro councils) but it also depends on their individual rating strategies as to how much comes from residential versus commercial and industrial.

The total expenses per property assessment include some large one-off expenditure items (i.e. writing off assets we have disposed of and recording a liability for the future rehabilitation of Cosgrove landfill). If these items were excluded GSCC would be a lot closer to the similar councils. Also, larger councils with greater number of property assessments (i.e. larger populations) will often record better results than GSCC through economies of scale.

We have a lower staff turnover than all other councils which is reflected in the high staff satisfaction rate with the workplace gathered from twice yearly Mood Meter surveys. GSCC also implements a number of staff programs to provide all staff with health and wellbeing activities and reward and recognition.

In the section on current assets as a percentage of current liabilities (also known as Liquidity or Working Capital) the aim is to always have more current assets than you do current liabilities (so you know in the next 12 months you can pay all of your bills). Our ending cash balance is high because we received our 15/16 Federal financial assistance grants early, which is the same for every council hence why the all councils average is around the same mark.

Our unrestricted cash as a percentage of current liabilities shows that GSCC has a large amount of cash that is being held as restricted investments (e.g. over $10m in reserve for waste). While our working capital is strong it is largely committed.

GSCC loans and borrowings as a percentage of rates is clearly low compared to other councils. GSCC will be borrowing over $4m this year for the Greater Shepparton Regional Sports precinct and in response to rate capping will be developing a debt strategy to identify future opportunities for borrowings. The percentage of 22.51 is like someone with an annual income of $100,000 only having total loans of $22,510.

Non-current liabilities as a percentage of own source revenue – also known as indebtedness – aims to highlight how much long term debt can be covered by Council’s revenue it generates itself. The lower the better from a financial sense however this would increase the more borrowings GSCC takes on.

Adjusted underlying surplus (or deficit) as a percentage of underlying revenue section aims to highlight true financial performance (i.e. profit or loss). GSCC has a negative deficit because of the decision to record a liability for the future rehabilitation of Cosgrove landfill (also recorded as an expense).

Rates as a percentage of adjusted underlying revenue aims to show how much of Council’s revenue comes from rates. This is within the state average and shows GSCC relies less on rates than other Councils).

Rates as a percentage of property values in the municipality aims to demonstrate the burden on the ratepayer and the lower the figure the lower the burden. Councils with larger valuation bases and economies of scale will generate lower scores than us.

See our Rates, Finance and Property section for more information.