Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is MyCouncil?

MyCouncil is an initiative of the Western Australian Government to strengthen local government accountability and performance.

The website provides a geographic, demographic and financial snapshot of each local government.

Data such as council expenditure by program, rates and other revenue and service delivery can be viewed for each council and compared with others.

The financial information presented in the website is provided by local governments to the Department of Local Government and Communities and the WA Local Government Grants Commission. Demographic data is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and local governments.

MyCouncil data will be updated annually in the first quarter of the calendar year.

Who do I contact?

More information is available by contacting the relevant local government.

Why do we need the MyCouncil website?

MyCouncil is a central place to access and compare information about Western Australia’s local governments.

The website is among a number of ways the State Government is helping to build the capacity of local governments and strengthen their accountability and performance.

Local government in Western Australia is a big business and growing.

Western Australia’s local governments receive more than $2 billion in rates and $280 million in Financial Assistance Grants each year.

The total value of local government assets is more than $40 billion.

MyCouncil enables access to important information to help you decide whether local councils are providing value for money.

How much does it cost local governments to report MyCouncil data to the State Government?

There is no additional cost to report this information. MyCouncil is populated with data obtained from local governments’ existing reporting requirements.

FINANCIAL

What is the Financial Health Indicator?

The Financial Health Indicator is a measurement of a local government’s overall financial health.

The FHI methodology was developed by the Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC) with input from financial professionals working in local governments across Western Australia.

The WATC’s Functional Specification (DOCX 1.4MB) guides the FHI methodology.

The result is calculated from the seven financial ratios that local governments are required to report annually.

The approach awards a score out of 10 for each financial ratio. The weighted average of the ratios is used to calculate the overall result.

Local governments that perform better across the seven areas tend to have greater financial health.

The FHI is an indication of overall financial health and is one factor to consider in assessing overall performance. Other factors include: the range of services offered; efficiency of services delivered; and client satisfaction.

A very high or low FHI may be a prompt for questions to be asked by the community about a local government’s revenue, expenses and service delivery.

To assist local governments plan for the future, the FHI calculator enables local governments to project changes to a local government's financial position over the course of their long term plan.

The FHI calculator is available to download from the DLGC website.

What is considered a good FHI result?

An FHI of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

How is it calculated?

The Financial Health Indicator methodology was developed by the Western Australian Treasury Corporation with input from financial professionals working in local governments across Western Australia.

The basis of the FHI is the seven financial ratios that local governments report against annually.

RATES

Why can’t I compare actual rates with other councils?

There is no comparable basis for determining rates.

All local governments calculate their rates by a rate in the dollar set by each local government and multiplied by the value of land, the ‘average’ rate per property, resident or type of property.

Local governments have significant autonomy in setting rates which can make comparisons difficult. They have the option of setting different rates depending on how land is used. This means local governments may levy different rates in the dollar for commercial, residential or other property uses.

Alternatively, local governments have the option of setting a flat rate for all land uses and levying additional fees for waste collection, or recovering the costs of rubbish collection through general rates.

SERVICES

My local government has a high FHI result, but I don’t think they do a very good job – why do they look so good on paper?

The FHI is an indication of overall financial health and is one factor to consider in assessing overall performance. The FHI does not measure the range of services a local government offers; the efficiency of services delivered; and community satisfaction.

My local government says it will stop a service or close the library if they don’t put up rates – is this true?

A local government’s annual budget is informed by its Strategic Community Plan which is developed with the community. Engaging with the community enables a local government to be responsive to community needs and ensures that expenditure and prioritisation of public funds is in line with community expectations.

Local governments have a responsibility to the community to provide services that are efficient and effective.

Councils are ultimately accountable to the public for their decisions at elections held every two years.

WEBSITE GENERAL

How frequently is the website updated?

MyCouncil will be updated annually in the first quarter of the calendar year. The updates will be aligned to Compliance Audit Return reporting periods and annual financial reporting deadlines.