A FLAWED and BIASED PROCESS FROM THE START.
Following the ILGRP report the Government instituted the FIT FOR THE FUTURE (FFTF) process and developed criteria that councils had to meet to demonstrate that they were “Fit” for the future. These included “Financial”, “Efficiency”, “Infrastructure Management” and “Service Delivery” criteria, as well as a nebulous criteria called “Scale and Capacity” .
“Scale and Capacity” was poorly defined, but required councils to demonstrate that they would have the same “scale and capacity” as a theoretical (plucked from the air) mega-merged council that was the “preferred option” for their council, put forward in the ILGRP report.
This was despite the fact that:
a) there was no empiric evidence to indicate that the theoretical mega-merged council was in fact of optimal scale and capacity and not “overscale”, and
b) there was no standardised method of actually measuring “scale and capacity” to determine what was the optimal scale and capacity for a particular council in the first place.
Councils across the State had to put in submissions to demonstrate whether they were “Fit for the Future” based on these criteria or not.
KEY CRITERIA WERE MISSING:
There were no criteria that measured the importance and / or value to the local community of levels of local representation, or of local autonomy and influence over character and development of their local areas.