Accountability Disclosures by Queensland Local Government Councils: 1997-1999
Ryan, Christine M., Stanley, Trevor A., & Nelson, Morton (2002) Accountability Disclosures by Queensland Local Government Councils: 1997-1999. Financial Accountability and Management, 18(3), pp. 261-289.
The annual report is promoted and regarded as the primary medium of accountability for government agencies. In Australia, anecdotal evidence suggests the quality of annual reports is variable. However, there is scant empirical evidence on the quality of reports. The aim of this research is to gauge the quality of annual reporting by local governments in Queensland, and to investigate the factors that may contribute to that level of quality. The results of the study indicate that although the quality of reporting by local governments has improved over time, councils generally do not report information on aspects of corporate governance, remuneration of executive staff, personnel, occupational health and safety, equal opportunity policies, and performance information. In addition, the results indicate there is a correlation between the size of the local government and the quality of reporting but the quality of disclosures is not correlated with the timeliness of reports. The study will be of interest to the accounting profession, public sector regulators who are responsible for the integrity of the accountability mechanisms and public sector accounting practitioners. It will form the basis for future longitudinal research, which will map changes in the quality of local government annual reporting.
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