Media statement - Ombudsman report

Published on 16 December 2019

In response to a report released today by the ombudsman regarding council’s corporate purchase card expenditure during 2014-16, I as acting CEO of the City of Onkaparinga and on behalf of the senior executive and administration, apologise to our communities for previous credit card expenditure.

The expenditure was out of step with our community’s expectations and we acknowledge that.

We’re continuing to work hard to regain the trust of our communities and acknowledge that more transparent and accountable work practices are required to achieve that.

The purchases highlighted as inappropriate by the Ombudsman should not have been made at the expense of ratepayers and he has advised that improvements were necessary to our policies and procedures.

However, it's important to note that the Ombudsman confirmed in his report that former mayor Lorraine Rosenberg did not commit maladministration in public administration. 

In 2017 we undertook an extensive review of our policies and controls and made changes following input from our residents, the LGA and our staff.

A public report on this feedback was adopted at the council meeting on 17 April 2018.

Following 12 month of the guidelines’ implementation, we considered further feedback from staff and our audit committee, together with an internal audit by an independent auditor.

Since 2018 we have also been publishing credit card expenditure information on our website monthly, to further improve transparency and accountability.

We have implemented the Ombudsman’s recommendation to change wording in a section of our corporate purchase card policy. 

The City of Onkaparinga today is an organisation moving forward and creating a new culture.

Council has commenced the process of hiring a new CEO, we have a new Mayor and council and we have stronger policies and procedures in place that continuously remind us we are here to serve our communities and their best interests.

Our staff have embraced these changes and are helping us shape the way forward for the organisation in partnership with our elected members and our communities.

This attitude is reflected in the final responses to the ombudsman and is also reflected in his report.

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge our fantastic team who have remained steadfastly focused on the task at hand.

They’ve continued to deliver award winning projects and programs for our residents and the feedback we’ve been receiving on that work has both been satisfying and very humbling.

We will continue to do all that we can to improve and deliver value across our rapidly growing region.

Once again, on behalf of the organisation, I apologise.

Kirk Richardson
Acting CEO

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