The Lord Mayor and Councillors
City of Melbourne
Report on the publication and management of the City of Melbourne's Travel Register
This report shows that the City of Melbourne has spent close to $400,000 in the past year on overseas and intestate travel exceeding the previous record of the cost of last years travel - No budgets not constraints.
The Travel Register is a public document and should be readily available for public inspection and scrutiny with publication on the Council's Internet site being an efficient and cost effective means of providing public access to public documents.
The associated costs and extent of avoidance and effort undertaken by the City Council administration to prevent the publication of this information is extraordinary. The estimated costs of the Council administration's avoidance mounts into the several 10's of thousands of dollars. It should have costed the Council nothing as this information is already required to be maintained and available to the public.
The Council's Travel Register is poorly managed
Data quality recorded on the Council's Travel Register was poor with double-entries, incorrect dates and inconsistent data recorded.
The design of the Travel Register is akin to an Electronic Whiteboard with data readily modified or deleted with no accountability or proper records. Without a sequential Record ID it is virtually impossible to audited or provide reassurance that information has not been unduly altered or removed.
The Council should review the management of its register with responsibility for maintaining this information removed from the Governance section and handed over to the Financial Accounts department.
Consideration should be given to recording register information in a database as opposed to a spreadsheet. This would allow for more secure design and more efficient management and reporting. This could be undertaken in house utilising existing staff resources and technology.
Council needs to set a budget of overseas travel for each department and for each trip. The allocated budget should be listed in the travel report and recorded on the Travel Register.
The name and date of authorisation of any overseas and interstate travel should be recorded on the register. This is currently done as a notation in relation to Councillor's travel but it could be better designed and managed.
Regular summary reports should be tabled at the Council's Finance Corporate Performance Committee Meetings
The Travel Register should provide a break down of costs (Accommodation, Travel, Communication, Conference Fees and sundry)
The Travel Register should be published on the Councils internet site within 24 hours of any updates, changes, or additions to the register.
I request that this report be tabled and considered at the next Council's Finance and Corporate Services Performance meeting.
Further that Council adopt a policy to ensure that all public documents are accessible and published on the Council's Internet site.
Should you require further Information I can be contacted via return email
Anthony van der Craats