NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE - 15 FEBRUARY 2012

 

LATE AGENDA                                                                                        Page

 

 

 

   

L        General Manager Report

9.2     Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff    

 

 

 


       


General Purpose Committee                                                                                           15 February 2012

General Manager's Report

ITEM 9.2      SF1653            150212         Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

A summary is not required.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council consider the submissions from the Consultative Committee, Council staff, Unions and the feedback from Local Government Management Solutions in relation to the report on the Organisation Review.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

There are no options.  The views of these stakeholders need to be considered.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Council’s Consultative Committee met on 9 February 2012 to consider the recommendations in the report on the Organisation Review.

 

The minutes of the Consultative Committee meeting are attached.

 

In relation to the Organisation Review the Committee resolved:

 

1        That the Organisational Review Report prepared by Local Government Management Solutions be returned to the authors requesting that they amend the errors and undertake benchmarking against Division of Local Government Group 11 councils (ie councils identified as being Rural/Agricultural/Very Large/ Population 10,001 to 20,000) as identified in the Division of Local Government’s publication: Comparative Information 2009/10. Also benchmarking for DA processing against Group 11 councils as outlined in the Department of Planning’s publication: Development Performance Monitoring 2009/10.

 

2        That Council’s senior management structure comprise three (3) directors.

 

3        That, if the Director Corporate Services position is re-instated, senior management establish and lead a continuous improvement program across the organisation to achieve productivity savings and efficiency gains to offset the cost.

 

There was good discussion about the report, and in particular whether Council’s senior management structure should be two or three Directors.  Despite the commentary in the minutes that the staff, “generally support” the three Directors model, it would be more accurate to say that all of the Committee, except for the General Manager, supported the three Directors model.

 

Also attached are other submissions to the organisation review received from the following staff:

 

Asset Manager

GIS officer

Administrative Support Officer

Executive Assistant

Manager Community & Cultural Services

Senior GIS Officer

Finance Team

Manager Technical Services

Manager Information Technology

Director Environment & Planning

L Hall, B Parkins, T Boorer, E Shaw, C Lopez, P Foss, L Hemsworth

Local Government Management Solutions – feedback on GM’s report (placed in blue on a PDF doc.)

United Services Union

Information Technology Officer

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

The report is the outcome of consultation on the Organisation Review Report prepared by Local Government Management Solutions.

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

To the extent that the organisation review allocates resources to Council’s functions it does potentially impact on the Council’s environmental performance.

 

Social

 

The Council is one of the largest employers in the local government area and decisions to make positions redundant, and particularly forced redundancies will have a social impact.

 

Economic

 

There are no significant economic implications.

 

Risk

 

There are potential industrial issues with the Organisation Review Report.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Many of the submissions request additional staff resources, remuneration and training.  These all have budgetary impacts.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

There is no impact on working funds.


 

Attachments:

1View

3260/2012 - Minutes - Consultative Committee Meeting 9 February 2012

 

2View

3310/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Asset Manager

 

3View

3311/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - GIS Officer

 

4View

3281/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Admin Support Officer

 

5View

3296/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Executive Assistant

 

6View

3320/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Manager Community & Cultural Services

 

7View

3331/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Senior GIS officer

 

8View

3368/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Finance Team

 

9View

3301/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Manager Technical Services

 

10View

3374/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - Manager Information Technology

 

11View

3306/2012 - Organisational Review Submission - Director Environment & Planning

 

12View

3307/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - L Hall, B Parkins, T Boorer, E Shaw, C Lopez, P Foss and L Hemsworth

 

13View

3394/2012 - Feedback  from the Local Government Management Solutions

 

14View

3400/2012 - Organisation Review - Submission from USU

 

15View

3312/2012 - Organisation Review Submission - IT Officer

 

  


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

PRESENT

 

Employee Representatives: Max Bryen, Rhys Edwards, Selina McNally, Jason O’Donnell (Chairperson), Chris Smith, Keith Williams; Management Representatives: Michael Coulter, Paul Gallagher, Greg Meyers and Secretary: Joanne Hudson.

 

 

APOLOGIES

 

Rick Watts, Graham Zell.

 

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

The Chairperson welcomed new employee representatives: Selina McNally and Rhys Edwards.

 

 

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

 

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 7 December 2011 were presented for confirmation.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held 7 December 2011 be confirmed.

 

 

BUSINESS ARISING

 

 

ITEM 1         SF275                090212      STAFF UNIFORM

 

 

A submission has been received from a number of staff in relation to the recommendation by the Committee to change uniform providers. At this stage, there have been no changes implemented to the current policy.

 

The General Manager explained that there appeared to be considerable staff time involved in administering the indoor staff uniform policy and questioned whether there was a more efficient way. For instance, paying the subsidy direct to the employee as a uniform allowance and employees purchase their own uniform outright.

 

The Director Engineering Services explained that the purchasing of shirts under Council’s Sun Protection Policy had been transferred to the Store. He also clarified that all shirts were to have Council’s logo on them.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

1        That the General Manager report back to the next meeting on proposed changes to Council’s Uniform and Dress Code.

 

2        That it be noted that all shirts ordered under Council’s Sun Protection Policy are to have Council’s logo on them and shall be ordered through the Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3         SF118                090212      SALARY PACKAGING

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Selectus be invited to make a presentation to interested staff and senior management.

 

 

 

ITEM 4         SF275                090212      REVIEW OF TRAINING POLICY

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That a date is to be set for Council’s HR Manager and Narelle Rich to review the policy and then report back to the Committee.

 

 

BUSINESS

 

 

 

ITEM 5         SF275                090212      PROPOSAL TO MOVE TO FORTNIGHTLY PAYS

 

 

The proposal to move to fortnightly pays is aimed at generating productivity improvements and cost savings. However concerns were raised that fortnightly pays would put financial pressure on employees. There was also concern that already tight timeframes would be even more difficult to meet.

 

The General Manager advised that a meeting was scheduled to be held with Bellingen Council about an alliance.

 

The Manager Human Resources was also to look into electronic leave applications for indoor staff.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

That the Manager Human Resources report back to the Committee.

 


 

 

ITEM 2         SF1653              090212      ORGANISATION REVIEW

 

 

During the discussions, the following points were made:

 

·      Staff generally support the three directors model

·      The Review Report prepared by Local Government Management Solutions should not be accepted because of the errors in the Report.

·      Operational efficiencies with regard to outdoor operations should also be looked at.

 

There were a number of areas flagged for efficiency gains ie ranger services, revenue raising (fees, charges and fines); section 68 contributions. 

 

The General Manager advised that he had questioned whether it was a mistake not to replace the Director Corporate Services but the cost ($160k) of doing so didn’t pass the common sense test when  looking at the finances of the organisation, particularly in regard to infrastructure. He said if we spend $160k, the expectation will be an improved level of performance. Governance is a bottomless pit; you could put on two extra governance officers and the public would not see an improved level of service. A Director Corporate Services could get consumed with all that and not make any difference.

 

The General Manager said that if Council reinstated the Director Corporate Services position, it would be imperative to establish a continuous improvement program which would involve working across teams on process improvement and improving communication between Departments.

 

Recommendation:

 

 

1        That the Organisational Review Report prepared by Local Government Management Solutions be returned to the authors requesting that they amend the errors and undertake benchmarking against Division of Local Government Group 11 councils (ie councils identified as being Rural/Agricultural/Very Large/ Population 10,001 to 20,000) as identified in the Division of Local Government’s publication: Comparative Information 2009/10. Also benchmarking for DA processing against Group 11 councils as outlined in the Department of Planning’s publication: Development Performance Monitoring 2009/10.

 

2        That Council’s senior management structure comprise three (3) directors.

 

3        That, if the Director Corporate Services position is re-instated, senior management establish and lead a continuous improvement program across the organisation to achieve productivity savings and efficiency gains to offset the cost.

 

 

NEXT MEETING

 

The next meeting of the Nambucca Shire Council Consultative Committee is to be held 23 February 2012.

 

 

CLOSURE

 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 10.45 am.

 

Confirmed and signed by the Chairperson on

………………………………………………………….

JASON O’DONNELL

CHAIRPERSON

 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

From:Peter Baynes[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=PETERB]

To:Michael Coulter[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=Michaelc]

Received-Date:20120209

Received-Time:3:49:07 AM

Sent-Date:20120209

Sent-Time:3:49:07 AM

Subject:Organisation Review

 

Michael,

 

 

 

A few comments regarding the organisation review report.  I know I have made some of these comments to you previously, but for the sake of completeness I thought I’d summarise them in an email.

 

 

 

General

 

 

 

The position of Manager Assets was created (I believe) to provide a focus on establishing an asset management strategy and develop asset management plans for Council’s infrastructure assets.  A key driver for this was the IPR process and the need for increased community consultation and the determination of agreed service levels.  Initially the position was advertised as reporting to you, however between my interview and commencement the reporting arrangements had moved to DES.  I understand this was done on the basis that the majority of known issues were associated with physical assets which were built and maintained by the engineering department and that working more closely with the engineering team would facilitate gaining knowledge of these assets.  I don’t disagree with this arrangement, indeed in many organisations I am aware of “asset management” is seen very much as an engineering function.  I just raise this as a bit of background and to set the context for some following comments regarding workload and priorities.

 

 

 

I also wish to acknowledge that in a small council such as this there is a need for us all to share the load and at times assist with duties and activities that are outside or peripheral to our core activities.  As we have previously discussed I have found that, at times, attention to these other duties and activities has been a distraction from my core role of the development of asset management strategies, IPR documents and asset management plans. 

 

 

 

Some of these issues are in-house to the engineering department and changes the new DES has introduced have helped clarify the role of individual managers within the department and are leading to more efficient and effective work flows.

 

 

 

To some extent I suspect there is some uncertainty as to the role of this position throughout the wider organisation and, as almost anything tangible can be considered an “asset”, there can be a tendency to assume the “asset manager” is the appropriate person to deal with all asset related issues.

 

 

 

Organisation Review Report

 

 

 

In terms of the proposed changes in the organisation review report the particular recommendations that relate to this position are that the Property Officer and GIS team report to Manager Assets.

 

 

 

As I have said in an earlier email I don’t think GIS in itself is an IT function… it is a service to the whole organisation that relies heavily on IT and I assume that is the reason for its current location.  That’s not to say it is an Asset Management function either but I do see that as we develop our asset management capabilities there will be a need for closer integration of asset data with spatial representation thorough the GIS.  I have seen examples of structural arrangements with GIS reporting to IT or to an asset management team… both have worked.  In light of my comments about distractions from the core purpose of my position I think that having a whole-of-business function such as GIS reporting to me would further exacerbate this as I would inevitably be drawn into issues relating to aspects of GIS service provision that do not relate to asset management or engineering functions.

 

 

 

In terms of the Property Officer I would think that only a relatively small proportion of that role’s position would relate to actual asset management of infrastructure such as the aquatic centre and saleyards.  It would seem the majority of that position’s role relates to land management and development of business opportunities relating to Council owned land and facilities… once again not necessarily an engineering, let alone asset management, function and I feel that having the Property Officer position report to Manager Assets would not be appropriate.

 

 

 

Report to Council

 

 

 

I note that in your report to Council on the Organisation Review Report you comment:  “It is agreed that more resources need to be applied to the collection of asset data.  Council’s Asset Management Plans will only be as good as the available data.  That data currently has gaps and other data needs to be updated.  The Manager Engineering Services proposes to use existing staff, electronic tablets and the existing Reflect software to improve the quality of data on Council’s assets.”

 

 

 

I agree that additional resources dedicated to collection of asset data will be of great assistance in accelerating the development of Asset Management Plans and concur with your comments.  As mentioned previously we currently have an arrangement that some of the GIS Support Officer’s time is intended to be used to provide assistance with asset data capture and ensuring asset information displayed through the GIS is accurate and current.  To date we have only availed ourselves of this assistance on an ad-hoc basis, perhaps this support can be further utilised into the future wherever the GIS team is located as a means of contributing to the resource requirements for asset data collection and validation.

 

 

 

I also remind you that acquisition of an Asset Management software package (previously deferred) during the 2012/13 FY will further enhance our capabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

For your consideration.

 

 

 

Regards,

 

 

 

Peter Baynes

 

Manager Assets

 

Nambucca Shire Council

 

PO Box 177 Macksville NSW 2447

 

Ph: (02) 6568 0253 Fax: (02) 6568 2201

 

Mob: 0427 202 476

 

peter.baynes@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

Organisation Review Submission

To whom this may concern,

This submission is in regards to the recent organisation review and the relocation of GIS. Below you will find my observations and opinions since commencing work for the Nambucca shire Council about a year ago.

I understand that the GIS section was placed in Information Technology (IT) to be a centralised function for all of council to allow jobs to be evenly prioritised.  The work conducted in the Engineering and environment/planning departments is more relevant to GIS than the work done in IT. GIS still needs to be a centralised function for the whole organisation, work will need to be evenly prioritised among departments.

GIS uses computer software to conduct our work, but so do many other positions within the organisation (e.g. finance use Authority and engineering designer uses AutoCAD). Does this mean all positions that use computer software should be in IT?

If GIS was to move away from the IT section, we could solely focus on our job GIS and let the IT Manager and Officer do their job IT. This would allow GIS to focus on map production, system maintenance and data collection/processing /validation, for the two main departments we deal with Engineering and Environment/planning. We should be more focused on data collection and validation to produce a highly accurate and informative system. The work we do with corporate services is minimal and going to the department meetings is generally irrelevant to our role within the organisation.

The GIS is underutilised in parts of the Engineering department (excluding water and sewer) and could be used more effectively to graphically show and store information (e.g. traffic counts, road hierarchy, history of pavement rehabilitation/resealing etc). I would be willing and able to collect and manage engineering related data into the GIS system.

In my previous role (Scientific Observer/data collection for Australian Fisheries) I collected data for CSIRO and related industry organizations on the field in challenging conditions. To collect accurate data in the most efficient method need would need a GPS/data collection device, transport and direction on what information is needed by each section. 

To conclude, I think change is a good thing within the organisation, it takes people out of there comfort zones and allows them to grow and develop new skills. For some change can cause unease as they have been doing the same thing for so long, but organisations change in time (e.g. technology, organisational requirements and budget constraints).

The GIS is a powerful tool for council and to take full advantage of this tool there needs to be effective communication between departments. We must work together as one organisation, not separate departments.

 

Luke Moane

GIS Officer

Nambucca Shire Council

PO Box 177 Macksville NSW 2447

Ph:(02)6568024 Fax:(02)65682201

Luke.moane@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

www.nambucca@nsw.gov.au


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

SUBMISSION

NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL ORGANISATIONAL REVIEW REPORT

LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS (LGMS)

NOVEMBER 2011

 

I am taking the opportunity afforded to us to pen a submission in regard to the above report, as I believe that the report is fundamentally inaccurate and there are many anomalies contained throughout the report, albeit my main concerns, in my capacity as an Administration Support Officer, (ASO), in the Environment and Planning Department, are with both Recommendations 8 and 9.

 

I have applied my name to a submission already received by Council, which the majority of the ASO’s in our Department have also endorsed, however I wanted to make a further submission in regard to issues raised in both Recommendations 8 and 9.

 

Concerns re Recommendation 8 (1. Creation of Director Corporate & Community Services Department) p71

 

          Whilst I do agree that a Director of Corporate Services would be a “Best Fit” in a Department that is currently struggling, as noted in the report, from lack of leadership, management, compliance and communication, it should not be at the cost of dessimation or demolition of our Department that is, again as noted in the report, functioning relatively successfully, regardless of the recent voluntary redundancy and resignation of key managerial and senior positions.

 

          If Council were to adopt a three (3) Director structure, as is already modelled in 17 of the 21 Group 11 Councils, the need to “pull apart” other departments and remodel and restructure the positions of support staff and other senior positions would become obsolete. Perhaps this is a simplistic approach, however “simple” can more often than not be more beneficial and less disruptive, and in turn much more productive and cost effective.

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Page 1 of  6
Concerns re Recommendation 8 (4. Establish a Business Support Unit) p75

 

          The opening statement of this point identifies that “many staff expressed concern about the lack of customer service presence on the front counter now that it is a part time role.” I cannot acknowledge that the establishment of a Business Support Unit, (BSU), would rectify this issue. On the surface, a BSU would be a “fix” to the perceived issues of customer service, but it is NOT the ideal solution.

 

          Again the “simple” solution would be to make the position of Customer Service Officer (CSO) currently attached to the Department of Environment and Planning, a full time employee (FTE) adding an additional 15 hours to the payroll. LGMS identify that the FTE could be increased by 0.5 – hence this is what this is! This addition would negate the need to the disruption of all the ASO’s, all the Executive Assistants (EA’s), and the remodelling of their current roles to incorporate them into a BSU.

 

          If a new “unit” is definitely perceived to be necessary, why not pool the cashiers, the switch, the rates support staff and a FTE CSO into a Customer Service Unit, (CSU), that is rotational? This structure would virtually be unchanged from the current one, as the unit could be headed by the Rates Officer, who currently is responsible for these staff members already, with the exception of the CSO, currently in the Environment and Planning Department. The only change would be the CSO go from part time to a full time position – and this is already identified as a cost by LGMS. This solution would not open Council to the possibility of redundancies, as identified in the report.

 

          The specialised roles of all the ASO’s and EA’s could not be learnt or taught in a short period of time – the costs of efficiency, time and training are not identified in the report as a “cost” of the establishment of a BSU. The potential for errors by “multi skilling” across a BSU open up a minefield of potential litigation, issues with GIPA, and dissatisfaction with service as perceived by the wider community.

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Page 2 of  6
Concerns re Recommendation 9 (1. Make the position of Director of Environment & Planning Redundant) p78

 

          I cannot perceive that a report recommending the redundancy of a Director who “has respect from the staff as a leader, an essential element of organisational change” can in any way be taken seriously. No other Director, in this report, was afforded the same accolade, and yet it is only this Director and his Department that is to be “pulled apart” under the proposed restructure.

 

          LGMS state that they “believe this may not be the best decision based on the short term risks of losing a Director who has the apparent respect of staff and by limiting the skill set required for future General Managers to be aligned to Planning.” So the question is: why even pen the recommendation?

 

          To identify that the General Manager, (GM), could take on the role of Director of this Department also, seems absurd in the extreme. Where will the GM find the time to be available for Counter enquiries, advice in regard to planning issues, DAU meetings, and other general day-to-day issues along with his GM duties? The current GM cannot carry out Class 1 inspections, and the current DEP is now the only officer inside Council’s organisation that can undertake these inspections, as a result of the recent resignations of both the Senior Health and Building Surveyor and the Manager of Building Services.

 

          The absence of the DCS since 2007 and the inability of the GM to cope with the additional roles required in regard to this position such as management, communication, compliance, staff discipline, etc would be evidence enough that to “hand over the role” of DEP to him would result in the same issues, albeit in another Department, regardless of his “Skill set”.

 

 

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Page 3 of 6


          The 3 Director structure, which would incorporate our current Directors with the addition of a Director of Corporate Services, (DCS), would negate the need for a lot of the proposed restructure and allow time for the resolution of significant noted issues such as the concerns over civil works, staff morale and lack of communication between management and staff in Corporate Services.

 

          In the long and short term, a 3 Director structure would, I believe, prove to be the most beneficial, efficient and cost effective structure available to Nambucca Shire Council.

 

Concerns re Recommendation 9 (3. Achieve greater efficiencies within the Health & Building Services Department) p80

 

          Sections of this recommendation contain inaccuracies in regard to percentages and statements in regard to operations.

 

          Whilst Council has utilised external contractors for inspections of Onsite Sewage Management Systems (OSMS) and Food premises, these inspections have been undertaken in a timely manner and we have met our requirements. The report notes that only 40% of inspections were achieved in regard to Food inspections, however in the year 2010/11 100% of primary inspections was achieved and this was forwarded to the Food Authority as part of our annual reporting requirements.

 

          Council is required to carry out at least one primary inspection of every food premises that fits into the categories of P1, P2 or P3, and in the last financial year Council achieved this. Some of our inspections last year were undertaken by “in-house” staff, however we had the benefit of 2 additional staff members then, being the Manager and the Senior to assist with other matters. (The figure of 40% as indicated by the LGMS report and recommendation, appears to be inaccurate).

 

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Page 4 of 6

 

          Employment of an Environmental Health Officer to carry out these inspections would be a huge benefit. The ability to “keep on top” of all the requirements and keep the inspections “in-house” would be both cost and time efficient.

 

          In Option 3 LGMS state that “Council would need to start operating a dog pound if the service was taken in-house. Costs would be associated with such a change.” Council currently does operate a dog pound that is situated in Kelly Close, Macksville behind the Works Depot off River Street. Whilst the contracted Regulatory Officer from Beach to Bush Animal Control does carry out functions on behalf of Council within the dog pound, such as impounding animals, euthanasing animals, feeding and maintaining impounded animals, etc, the costs for this are borne entirely by Council, both as part of the contract with the Regulatory Officer, and in payments to creditors for materials required for the ongoing and day-to-day operation of the pound. All release and maintenance fees are payable to Council and are included in Council’s Revenue Policy.

 

          I would, however, agree that the provision of this function “in-house” would significantly enhance Council’s image with the community in that it would be a Council employee not a contractor and functions are more easily regulated, supervised and monitored, and would be much more cost efficient.

 

General Concerns

 

          The workshops attended by staff, with limited time allowed by LGMS, were not adequately reflected, in my view, either in the report or the recommendations. It would appear that a lot of the “pros and cons” noted on the white board were not purported to be of any consequence in light of the final report. Certainly, in our workshop, there were more pros than cons, however this does not come through in the report.

 

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Page 5 of  6

 

          The report has only succeeded in increasing pressures and lowering the already perceived low morale of staff.

 

          Also, the cost of this external review has only added to Council’s current financial pressures, and in light of the anomalies and inaccuracies it cannot be deemed as money “well spent”.

 

Conclusion

 

In closing, I again thank Council for the opportunity to write a submission.

 

I would ask that Council carefully consider the ramifications of implementation of recommendations contained in the Organisational Review Report, particularly Recommendations 8 and 9 with regard to the establishment of a BSU and the forced redundancy of the DEP. These particular recommendations are not in any way beneficial to Nambucca Shire Council.

 

I would also ask that LGMS be requested to review the report to remove any inaccuracies and errors, and to look at a structure similar to those Council’s within Group 11 that have 3 Directors, being almost 81% of those Councils.

 

It could also be beneficial if Council reviewed its financial policy in regard to assets and civil works to prevent the potential for crisis and catastrophe as identified. LGMS should be asked to review their recommendations in regard to the Engineering Services Department taking the above into account.

 

 

Teresa Boorer

 

 

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Page 6 of 6

 



General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

 

Submission re Organisations Structure Report

 

Dear Michael

 

It will probably come as no surprise that I do not support Recommendation 9.1 to make the Director Environment and Planning redundant. 

 

A well-written report would provide a background, rationale and discussion so that when the conclusions arrive they are almost expected.  In my opinion that is not the case with the Consultant’s report on the Organisation Review. 

 

The recommendation to make an effective and respected Director redundant seems to arrive out of left field as if drawn from a different set of observations and discussions.  Did the same person actually write the whole report? 

 

It appears incongruous that the report which praises the actions of the Director Environment and Planning, then recommends he be made redundant.  Further, the supporting evidence is shallow and based on an unproven financial assumption that you can simply trade one Director for another.  The report appears to make this recommendation and then argue against it simultaneously.  A confusing message to staff and Council. 

 

The report also recommends improvements in communication, leadership and strategic direction. (pages 60-62) It is therefore bewildering why a Director who has been proactively working with these principles at the fore, would be regarded as unnecessary to the organisation.  Just one example would be the regular DEP staff meetings which Greg uses to instil proper management, forward planning and teamwork into his staff.  It is my view that his approach is to be valued and that Greg could capably assist the Council to deliver Recommendations 1, 2 and 3. 

 

Council already has the 2-director model and it does not work given the evidence from the report.  Further, given that there is no time frame attached to the report, there is the added risk that that Council may have to operate with 1 Director for a time – possibly an extended period, should the DEP be made redundant and the recruitment of a suitable Director Corporate Services not fall nicely into place.

 

If Council supports recommendation 9.1 it risks re-creating the problems manifesting in corporate services and losing a valuable team leader. 

 

I also question a number of assumptions made under Recommendation 8 and how well thought through these are. 

 

Why move community services?

 

The Report recommends the creation of a “Corporate and Community Services” department but the reasoning is shallow – it is based on narrowing the scope of an Environment and Planning Department, nothing more.  In an apparent contradiction, the report also states that the section would only require “overall stewardship” so why move the section at all?  Further, there has been no evidence presented which would show a positive outcome for corporate services if there are any.  There has been no consideration as to how the merger would financially impact on the levels of corporate support from externally funded projects given that they would be placed within the department. 

 

 

Also, should community services be merged with corporate services there would need to be a corresponding increase in support staff to provide services provided by the current DEP administration support team.  I would like to think that this was a consideration in proposing a business support unit.  Although one should ask, why does the proposed business support unit exclude some key administrative support positions?

 

Moving Community Services without administration support unit would create new pressure on the corporate services department’s few administration resources.

 

Community services and libraries have been moved from corporate services in the past.  Some 15 years ago, Council decided it was more appropriate for corporate services to focus on providing services to internal customers.  Community services being an external service provider focussing on community development, was merged into planning and development where it has successfully sat since then.  Libraries was added in 2007 and has been a very successful arrangement in my opinion. 

 

That leads me to offering a positive comment regarding the Organisational Review report and to put forward my support for the recommendation for additional library staff.  I have documented this in various reports to Council and wish to make it clear that we cannot run our own stand-alone library service without additional staff to provide the services previously supplied by Clarence Valley Council and the Regional Library.  I recommend the creation of a new Librarian position as suggested and their appointment as soon as possible (regardless of the outcomes of the Review).  In addition, 1 additional full-time equivalent position is required, possibly by increasing Library Officer or Assistant hours and then adding a new part-time staff member if necessary. 

 

Libraries DO need additional staff and very soon.

 

 

Recommendations:

 

1.   Re-establish the three Director model and recruit for a Director Corporate Services.

2.   If necessary, assess administration support by including all support positions.

3.   Leave community services with Environment and Planning.

4.   Adopt the community services team structure on Page 90.

 

 

 

CORAL HUTCHINSON

MANAGER COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL SERVICES

 

 

 

Note:  The community services team on Page 90 should show:  Community Development Officer (Aboriginal); Youth Development Officer; Library Officers (2 part-time not job share), Library Assistants (3 part-time).

 

 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

Organisation Review Submission by Scott Mair, Senior GIS Officer, 10/02/2012

 

TheSenior Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Officer and GIS Officer positions are currently structured within the Corporate Services Department, reporting to the Manager Information Technology.  The Organisation Review recommends moving these positions to the Engineering Departments, reporting to the Manager Assets.

 

Both GIS positions are located within the Corporate Services Department because the centralised function and service these positions provide relates to all of council, not a single department.

 

When the GIS Officer position was first created in the early 1990’s, for a short time it was structured under the Engineering Department.  The GIS Officer was moved to the Corporate Services Department because tasks and projects were Land Information, Engineering and Town Planning related, and as stated above not single department related.

 

The Organisation Review did not provide representation at Director or Manager level to staff in GIS, IT or Records.  Staff in GIS, IT and Records at the time of the Organisation Review reported directly to the General Manager as the Manager Information Technology position was vacant and Director of Corporate Services was not replaced.  It is questionable how the consultants made these recommendations relating to GIS, IT and Records without Director and Manager representation.

 

My experience working in Corporate Services without a Director (and Manager) demonstrates the need for a Director position in all Departments.  It is difficult getting advice on operational and strategic matters and at times I am required to get this advice from Managers and Directors I do not directly report to.

 

My role as Senior GIS Officer and also the GIS Officer position covers the “Land Information” function by maintaining councils Property System.  The Property System is a key module within the Authority corporate IT system.  Staff who maintain other modules of the Authority corporate IT system such as the Rates system and Development Applications system rely on GIS staff to create and maintain property records before records can be created in their systems.  By placing more emphasis on Asset Management, the impact of not prioritising Property System maintenance will cause more stress in the Environment and Planning Department and further impact DA processing times.

 

In addition to my role as Senior GIS Officer I am required to provide IT technical support, advice and assistance to council.  If the IT Manager or IT Officer are on leave or unavailable, I am frequently the only staff member who can provide this service to council.  As council is dependent on corporate IT systems and technology, it is important that council have skilled staff onsite at all times to provide this service.

 

Of the comparative coastal councils,a majority of GIS positions are either structured within theIT or Planning Departments.  Where GIS is structured under Engineering or Asset Management, those positions relate only to Asset Management and not other work areas or departments.Many of the comparative councils employ “Asset Officers”or “Technical Officers” who haveskills operating GIS technology and additional skill in areas such as asset management and civil engineering.

 

An agenda item at the most recent MIDGOC GIS Group meeting was “Asset Management staffing”.  Of these councils, GIS is also structured in either IT or Planning, and some of these councils employ “Asset Officers” or “Technical Officers” within their Engineering or Asset Departments. Some are planning and proposing to move the “Asset Officers” or “Technical Officers” function to a centralised GIS work groups.  The recommendation to move GIS to Asset Management does not align with other Councils in MIDGOC.


 

Asset Management

Nambucca Shire Council does not have Asset Management software,computer software specifically designed to manage asset such as roads, bridges, footpaths and water/sewer infrastructure.  Poor data management practices currently exist by maintaining and storing asset data within excel spreadsheets.As the asset data is stored unstructured within excel spreadsheets, it is currently impossible to link or associate these excel spreadsheets to councils GIS or other corporate information technology systems such as Authority or TRIM.  These poor data management practices are impacting GIS and other work areas including finance.

 

Adding staff resources (Senior GIS Officer, GIS Officer) will notassist the Asset Management workgroup until Asset Management Software is implemented.

 

 

Senior GIS Officer’s Recommendations:

·     Employ a Director in each Department.

·     The Senior GIS Officer and GIS Officer positions continue to report to the Manager IT within the Corporate Services department.

·     The GIS function stays centralised providing a service to all departments of council (including Asset Management).

·     Begin Asset Management software implementation planning, determine organisational requirements for Asset Management software.

·     Improve communication between all staff involved in Asset Management (possibly by reforming Asset Management workgroup/committee).

 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

9th February, 2012

 

The following is a submission by Council’s finance team to the recent Organisation Review Report conducted by ‘Local Government Management Solutions’.

 

It is fitting to firstly point out previous submissions to past organisational restructures in particular to the omission of the Director of Corporate Services (DCS)  from the structure and subsequent reviews of that change.

 

Back in October 2007 the finance team provided a submission to the General Manager’s request for ‘views by council staff on the non-replacement of Director Corporate Services’. Whilst pointing out that the finance section were not resistant to the proposal and acknowledging that change is an important process for the development of Nambucca Shire Council as an organisation, the submission highlighted a number of issues discovered and perceived as a result of the trial non-replacement.

 

Noteworthy was the issue of loss of labour resources i.e. Director (35hrs) & Part-Time Clerical Assistant (21hrs) impacting on planning time and future identified projects such as asset management. It was also pointed out that the Manager Financial Services (MFS) position would be impacted in relation to the role in budget and management plan formulation previously provided by the DCS. Importantly, it was foreseen by the finance team that the culture of the exceptional commitment of staff to their various roles in the team would be eroded through a perceived decline in morale from the intensified workload and pressure mounted on members in the team.

 

In 2009 it was requested that consideration be given to the reinstatement of the DCS position or inclusion of a financial administration position that would relieve the corporate, legal and reporting workload that were previously provided by the DCS & Senior Administration Officer (SAO) positions. It was also pointed out by the finance team that despite the new Trainee Accountant developing well, workloads were influencing the meeting of statutory deadlines and strategic contribution and that undue pressure on positions would continue.

 

The future conversion of the corporate software system compounded the above issues despite the request by finance to utilise a conversion timeframe of 18 months rather than six. It was pointed out in 2010 that the above coupled with the 

completion of the financial statements and budget reviews have built pressure causing an increase in anxiety and stress levels in the finance section. It was also expressed that previous high standards of administration professionalism had appeared to have fallen in the Corporate Services Department.

 

As shown above, there were many issues presented as concerns, that were drawn from relevant long term experience, well before the brief review conducted by the consultants from Local Government Management Solutions.

 

In relation to the report by Local Government Management Solutions the finance team provide the following points of view:

 

v Concern that  the report was made widespread.

 

·    Due to the abnormalities and objectionable information associated with the report and recommendations plus the explicit advice by the consultants, the report should have remained confidential to the people expressed in the report.

·    The report insults the professional reputation of employees within the organisation and outside with the community and industry.

·    The release to all staff has created a sense of shock and a further hindrance to morale and productivity.

·    The understanding was that the report was to be presented to the General Manager (GM) and Council in the first instance. This is logical so that inconsistencies and anomalies could be corrected for a definite decision on the appropriateness and the future of this report could be made. The stress and heartache that has resulted to date could have been reduced or even avoided through this process.

·    The consultants also point out in their executive summary that further information and assistance is available to Councillors or the Executive. Staff feel isolated from the consultants, compounding their anxiety.

 

v The body of the report

 

·    The report contains generic Organisational Development statements throughout (which are easy to include and always difficult to argue against), with little specific information on issues needing improvement.

·    What is described as a constant review of the structure since 2006 when a position becomes vacant is felt more likely by staff as just non-replacement or ‘dumbing down’ the position and asking remaining staff to do more with less. If more with less is the strategy then people need to feel like they are respected and part of a trusting team, treated fairly and equally.

·    It is understood that some of the councils mentioned for comparison are not Group 11 councils.

·    There are positions that have been completely left off the recommended new structure, but no mention of this is in the report.

·    There is no disclosure of where the financial information presented was obtained.

·    The point that Council is facing its hardest budget in at least 5 years is inflated as council has been aware and lived with this scenario for many years.

·    Also on page 87 it is pointed out that an IT and payroll alliance may be able to be formed. This would be difficult though, as each council has a different corporate software system.

·    Council have been continuously advised of its cash financial position and impending asset distress despite the insinuation on page 31.

·    Unrestricted cash has been utilised in a strategic way on projects through internal loans contrary to that mentioned by consultants on page 32. Also the high interest revenue that the consultants keep referring to primarily relates to restricted reserves such as water & sewerage. The consultants look at the two areas mentioned above to back the argument to look for efficiencies in financial management then note that financial analysis is beyond the scope of the review. Why include?

·    Late lodgement of the financial report is mentioned as ‘particularly’ noteworthy, but what the report fails to mention is that Council has been granted extensions except for last financial year. Many of the councils including close neighbours have been late to very late in submitting financial reports in the past.

·    It is noteworthy that the consultants failed to pursue more management structures other than the ‘available’ Narrabri one as mentioned on page 38.

·    It is also noteworthy that Council and the community do not consider financial management as an issue requiring addressing.

·    Many points noted from staff appear ill informed and it would have been prudent to uncover the accuracy of the information.

·    Many of the issues noted in the report have not been addressed in the recommendations, particularly ones noted as ‘crisis’, ‘poor planning’, ‘communication’ and ‘accountability’. Where is the consistency?

·    On page 57 with regard to Waste Management there is little commentary and explanation which is in contrast to other sections. Where is the consistency?

·    Page 94 in the Implementation Strategy there is another example of token information with no detail actions just motherhood type statements. 

·    Not helping the integrity with staff of  this report was the feature that the recommendations weren’t part of the original report and that a period of two weeks lapsed.

·    There are no quantifiable statements. To make informed decisions costings need to be produced. Employee time is mentioned quite often which suggests a large additional cost. Further, particularly if the current working environment continues, there could be additional costs in relation to sick and stress leave, even workers compensation claims.

·    It is difficult to understand why the report focused on indoor staff and leave out the greater portion of council’s human resource being the outdoor staff with regard to human resource issues.

 

v Recommendation 8

 

·    Under recommendation 8 on page 71 it is noted that compliance is the issue for finance and that the development of effective talent management strategies is required for HR. Therefore it is illogical that the most technical proficient, experienced and qualified human resource in finance be deleted.

·    With regard to the extension of time on page 72, Council have been continuously kept up to date with the timeliness of the financial reports and the impediments that have caused this.

·    With regard to training, the amount offered at the time of software conversion would have been sufficient except for the complication of irrelevant data and inexperienced trainers as well as the rushed process mentioned earlier which together hindered the learning environment and therefore staff were unable to gather the new processes and functionality.

·    Consultants were informed by MFS that working relationships were not affecting reporting compliance. Relationship issues were causing concern among staff and these issues could have quite easily been addressed if a mentor position such as the DCS was available. The statement on page 73 (1.) that a relationship issue “is having a significant negative impact on all finance staff……a direct impact on Council’s ability to meet the required deadlines for submission of the audited financial statements” is not agreed to. It is disappointing that the Responsible Accounting Officer namely the MFS was not given an opportunity to dispel this view. There were other issues that created problems for the financial statements such as other departments being unable to submit or supply the required information and the fact that this was the 1st year Council used the Authority program for end of year statements.  Page 55 states “Civil Works is tracking towards a crisis, with a reportedly strained relationship between two key staff”. Based on face value, the question is asked where is the consistency in the recommendations? “If you had a sore festering you would treat it, you wouldn’t leave it to become infectious”. Council’s finance section has worked exceptionally well as a team despite the recent issues regarding, no replacement of DCS, software conversion and Integrated Planning & Reporting implementation. The team’s regular monthly meetings have dealt with all work related issues which have been raised.

·    On page 73 (2.) the advice by the consultants to engage trainers of the Authority system to conduct face to face in depth training would come at a significant cost. This is not mentioned in the cost  points of this recommendation.

·    Further to page 73, it is pointed out that the finance function has not been delivering on expectations. It is pertinent to refer back to the stakeholders view earlier where financial management was not an issue of concern. The finance section feel they are held in high regard by foremost parties such as Council, Council’s auditors, industry groups and the community. It is acknowledged that service delivery has dropped but as mentioned above there have been abnormal circumstances that have contributed notwithstanding a drop in skill levels through staff departures.

·    Option 1 page 74 states that finance staff have accumulated significant amounts of leave. Once again the workload issues mentioned are the main factors for the leave accrued in the finance section. Further, staff were instructed not to take leave through the conversion of the new corporate software system.

·    Option 2 on page 74 appears misleading as there would be the possibility of more redundancies than mentioned given the significant changes to the structure. The consultants recommend option 2 as a strategic resolution, this is difficult to comprehend as it is reactive and would likely mean experienced, skilled and qualified staff being made redundant.

·    On page 76 it again is confusing whether the consultants are talking about people rather than positions in stating “introduce a Business Support Team, headed by the current Environmental & Planning Executive Assistant”. It is understood that new positions need to be advertised with selection based on merit. Although this proposal will enable staff to learn other skills and allow a better rotation of staff, it is difficult to understand without more detail how combining all Customer Service into one will provide the customer service that is presently lacking. The experience of finance staff on the counter is that a real benefit to the public will be realised with a full time counter staff member alongside the cashier. The position would also relieve the workloads of other staff.

·    The Business Development function already reports directly to the GM contrary to the comment made by the consultants on page 77.

 

v Other recommendations

 

·    Only a portion of the concerns expressed by the consultants in the final paragraph on page 58 appear to be addressed in the recommendations. Where’s the consistency?

·    Councillors’ expressed concern about the level of skills within the organisation on page 43. Again it appears that this point is ignored by the recommendations. The recommendations seem to contradict the councillors view of the GM’s job scope being too heavy.

·    The executive summary makes the point that if significant issues aren’t addressed, structural change will have little impact. The recommendations though relate to structural change rather than dealing with the issues head on.

·    In Recommendation 1 page 60 “Council’s Integrated Strategic Plan” and “four-year Delivery Program” are quoted. As a Group 3 council, Council was still under the Management Plan process and development of these documents is only now occurring. This is one of many examples that the report appears to ‘copy and paste’ from past reports on other councils.

·    It is recommended that regular meetings both within and across groups occur (page 61). Regular finance meetings were introduced years ago which is still continued.

·    Recommendation 2 being a Strategic focus on Organisational Development (pages 61-64) is littered with criticisms and lack of application with regard to Council’s Human Resources function but only watery conclusion to rectify these issues and to have these critical processes implemented. The opening comment that the HR function ‘appears to be a having a minimal, if negative impact on the organisation’ is alarming enough. Based on face value, the question is again asked, where is the consistency?

·    With regard to Recommendation 4 on page 66 it is highlighted that the relationship between Council and staff needs to gain mutual respect. It seems illogical that only the councillors and the leadership team meet to discuss these issues. Given the fact that staff have expressed a lack of confidence in management, they should be given an opportunity to meet with council also.

·    The discussion on page 67 points to high number of s.355 committees which suggests more involvement in council from the community it also reflects savings in staff time with regard to administration on the care, control and maintenance of council’s assets. Although efficiencies may be found in the number of agenda’s and council meetings more staff time would eventuate in the operational roles of the s.355 committees.

·    GM taking on a hands on role in Environment & Planning as recommended on page 78 would impinge on previous comments made by the consultants that a “strategic direction is required with a more effective, engaging and consultative leadership, effective management to achieve a culture of accountability”. Will future GM’s need to have Environmental & Planning qualifications and experience? Legal and liability issues are also a perceived concern with this recommendation. It appears to be just shifting the same problems Corporate Services has to Environmental & Planning. Departments’ also benefit by having a designated leader.

·    Contrary to that discussed on page 84, Council has been made aware on numerous occasions via budget reviews and end of year financial reports that council’s budget delivery and works program are affected by impromptu deviations from the budget.

·    Page 85 recommends the movement of some procurement issues to a manager in Corporate & Community Services but as part of the recommendations there will be one less manager in that department.

·    It is mentioned on page 86 of the criticalness of centralising the management of assets, yet very little detail of this strategic role is mentioned in the commentary with no concrete suggestions to moving forward. As finance provide support to the asset management function, it would have been prudent to discuss with members of the finance section the role of finance which is extensive and the information required for effective asset management. All sections and departments rely on each other to function effectively and serve our ratepayers.

 

 

In conclusion, the finance team see organisational development as a proactive process but the anomalies, misinformation and inconsistencies contained in the report make it a difficult mechanism to be utilised for such a process. It is hoped that Council can see a way through the indifferent information presented from various sources to set a path of rectifying the now obvious organisational and human resource issues.

 

In moving forward and at the same time ensuring financial sustainability, the finance team believe that a strategy be instigated to ascertain Council’s current service levels and community expectations with heavy involvement from all staff and to address potential savings, efficiencies and reductions in the areas of low priority. Consultation through workshops are seen as beneficial forums. With the advent of the new Integrated Planning and Reporting process setting out on this path is timely.

 

The dangers of making structural change without appropriate costing including opportunity costs is clearly apparent with regard to the non-replacement of the Director Corporate Services and this cost appears to be still growing.

 

At the end of the day revising the organisational structure may need to occur in areas identified by the organisational development process. A consultative approach should soothe fears. Finance staff have ideas. Notwithstanding, there needs to be commitment to ensuring outstanding tasks are brought up to date which may mean the engaging of consultants in the short term i.e. for financial compliance issues.


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

M E M O R A N D U M

 

 

TO:                             GENERAL MANAGER       

 

FROM:                       MANAGER TECHNICAL SERVICES

 

SUBJECT:               ORGANISATION REVIEW

 

DATE:                        9 February 2012

 

FILE NO:                   SF1653

 

 

Michael

 

Please find my submission to the Organisation Review 2011/2012 below for consideration.

 

Comments on the Proposed Structure

 

Directors

 

If council decided to continue with a structure containing 2 Directors as apposed to 3, I would strongly disagree with the recommendation of deleting the Director Environment & Planning from the organisation structure, moreover losing an experienced Director who is considered a valuable member of senior management and held in high regard by staff throughout the organisation. Greg has the full support and confidence of his staff (extremely valuable), not only does he afford the benefit of his experience and support to his own staff, his influence also extends to other departments. Personally Greg provides me with quality advice and is always ready to help with issues beyond my experience.

 

We have already lost enough experienced staff (quality team members) in the last 6 months who will be not only difficult to replace but also, bringing new employees up to speed to a level the previous incumbents were at is timely and costly.

 

Reverting back to 3 Directors will benefit the staff/organisation and Nambucca shires ratepayers as a whole, (without them physically realising).

 

There are obviously costs associated with reverting back to 3 Directors. There are a number of decisions made throughout the year that far outweigh the additional cost of a Director, i.e. bridges constructed to benefit few residents, retaining saleyards that again benefit an extremely low percentage of residents.

 

Engineering Services

 

Trainee Engineer is shown in the proposed structure, during a previous Consultative Committee meeting it was agreed this position will be retained and advertised as an Engineering Technical Officer or similar.

 

 

 

It appears from the proposed structure the Executive Assistant (ES) and Engineering Support Officer (ESO) will remain within Engineering Services as apposed to being swallowed up by the Business Support Team, this is good news, however additional support will be required if, as shown additional positions are moving to this department.

 

 

Engineering Services Executive Assistant already provides valuable support to a large number of staff, exacerbated by the recent addition of Assets and Buildings to the Department, she works far more unpaid hours than she should and cannot be expected to provide support to additional staff.

Quality Admin support is essential if staff further up the chain are allowed to carry out higher level duties, as they are expected to and paid for.

 

The report also suggests that a Special Projects Manager would benefit the organisation by taking responsibility for seasonal projects such as landslips and take greater control over the use and manage the outcomes of external contractors. This position has not made its way to the proposed organisation structure; therefore the additional responsibilities as outlined continue to fall on existing staff. I believe the addition of the abovementioned position would be of great benefit, when not dealing with landslips or contractors he can look at mitigation measures to circumvent landslips and property damage during intense rain events. This position can be closely aligned with the Manager of Civil Works who, as recommended should become more project management focussed.

Result: Efficient management of projects and potential mitigation of landslips and property damage resulting in reduced claims against council and hopefully fewer costly landslips.

 

Traffic Officer or Development Engineer – In vain I’ll continue to ask for the reinstatement of a full time position dedicated to traffic (council previously had a full time Manager of Traffic) or alternatively a Development Engineer.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Comments on the LG Management Solutions Report

 

In terms of remuneration the report suggests there are an adequate number of managers within the organisation, however from observations and as the report also suggests there is an insufficient number of support staff and outdoor staff for the organisation to run efficiently.When compared to other councils, Nambucca employs significantly less than the median,and spends close to the median per FTE”.

 

For a majority of the recommendations in the report the cost for implementation appears to be employee time, particularly at management level. How is this employee time going to appear? The proposed leadership development program is no doubt a good idea and may be of benefit, however resources would need to be provided to cover for attendees.

 

Efficiency - Many of the managers within the organisation are far too operational fielding day to day enquiries that could be dealt with by a competent officer or in fact support staff, this would then in turn free time for managers to concentrate on higher level strategic duties and risk management.

 

Recommendation 2 - Employee retention strategies and succession planning are needed ASAP, the report identifies incumbents of several key positions will be retiring within the next 3 years, in fact councils registered surveyor is likely to retire in 12 months. Council needs to identify the key positions that will be difficult to replace and act now on succession strategies

Recommendation 9 – Staffing levels in the Planning section and now Health and Building need to be addressed, council has already lost quality staff in this area. The Planners need a Supervisor/Manager for the exact reasons outlined in option 1: supervision, operational guidance, peer review, complex enquiries, cover for absent staff and a career progression opportunity for existing staff. “With the removal of the Manager Planning and Assessment position, the council now has 3 FTEs less than half of the median, which stands at 5”.

 

Recommendation 10.1 Review the level of resourcing in outdoor staff

 

It has been identified within the report that outdoor staffing levels are below that of comparison groups and “that resourcing requirements for Engineering should commence immediately”. If council wants staff to clean up after natural disasters, complete the capital works program as well as provide acceptable service to the public this recommendation should be taken seriously after all “Civil Works are tracking toward a crisis”.

 

Council needs to decide if it wants to become an “Employer of Choice” by investing in their brand or wether to continue with its existing path of high staff turnover, declining morale with limited opportunities for career progression. “ It appears that morale is low in part due to the constant change and reduction of positions in the organization”.

 

If staffing levels cannot be increased, or in fact they are cut, staff and the public need to be informed as to what levels of service are going to be sacrificed or reduced.

 

 

 

 

KEITH WILLIAMS

 

 

 

 

 

 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

From:Daniel Finlayson[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=DANIELF]

To:Michael Coulter[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=MICHAELC]

Cc:Joanne Hudson[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=JOANNEE]

Cc:Scott Mair[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=SCOTTM]

Cc:Jenny Standfield[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=JENNYS]

Cc:Karen Ferris[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=KARENF]

Cc:Loreto Wright[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=LORETOW]

Cc:Luke Moane[EX:/O=NSC/OU=NSCDOMAIN/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=LUKEM]

Received-Date:20120209

Received-Time:9:55:16 PM

Sent-Date:20120209

Sent-Time:9:55:15 PM

Subject:Submission

 

Hi Michael,

 

See below for my submission to the Org Review.

 

 

The IT section at Nambucca Shire Council currently encompasses three distinct functional units representing Information Technology, GIS and Records Management. All three units currently report to the Manager of Information Technology. The report presented by the consultants makes a number of recommendations regarding this structure.

 

 

 

First and foremost it is recommended that the GIS section become part of the Engineering section and report to the Manager of Assets, with a secondary reporting line to Environment and Planning. This would seem to be a logical placement for GIS resources with their primary function being to service requirements from these sections. However there is the obvious issue of potential resource contention and conflicting priorities. Remaining a part of Corporate Services may alleviate this somewhat. Additionally, GIS resources have also traditionally provided backup for IT when staff may be over burdened or away.

 

 

 

Secondly, the report recommends that Records Management become part of the proposed new business unit. Records Management is strategically aligned with IT primarily because of the advent of Electronic Document Management Systems (e.g. TRIM) and their ability to effectively manage electronic records. However, in terms of policy development, standards, compliance etc records can only be described as loosely aligned with IT, with Information Technology being simply an enabler. As such, I agree with the recommendation that Records staff no longer report to the Manager of Information Technology, and instead become either an independent section reporting directly to the Director of Corporate Services, or as part of the proposed business unit.

 

 

 

Regards,

 

Dan 


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

























General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 







General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 



















General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

NR/GS

DATE

Mr Michael Coulter

General Manager

Nambucca Shire Council

Address 1 

Address 2

 

By email: michael.coulter@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

Dear Michael

Re:    Proposed Organisational Restructure

We refer to Council’s proposed Organisational Restructure Report and recommendations provided by Local Government Employment Solutions.

Firstly, the repercussions of Council placing the Report on public exhibition, despite the advice of its authors to the contrary, not only beggars belief but has also further contributed to the low morale which is evident among Council employees and particularly Union members.

The Union has sought input from our members in significantly affected positions and those members have serious concerns regarding the report and in particular the number of times the recommendations of the report are not supported by the report itself. It is our understanding that these submissions have also been provided to Council, however, we can pass on copies if this is not the case.

We believe that deleting a Directors position is not the solution to this problem, and for previous history on this type of solution, Council only need look at the deletion of the position of Director Corporate Services, and the difficulties, many of which have been identified within the Report.  However, those problems too should be resolved; the solution is not just to make positions redundant to suit the current situation.

The Report from LGES contains many errors and it is our suggestion that these should be rectified and they be asked to provide an opinion on the best way to have this matter resolved, rather than having to work within specific parameters which are given to achieve a desired outcome.

Further, we suggest that Council retain the current structure with the addition of the position of Director Corporate Services for a period of 2 years and allow that structure to settle, prior to making any positions redundant and conduct a monitoring and review process during that period, with good organisational support, we believe good outcomes will be achieved, rather than reacting to a flawed report.

As our Official Narelle Rich will be attending a meeting with members at Council next Tuesday at 3.00 pm, she welcomes the opportunity to speak with you further about this matter then.

To even provide a summary of the submissions from our members would be a mammoth task so we suggest that consideration should be given to reviewing these submissions prior to the meeting on Tuesday.

Should you have any queries regarding this matter, please contact Regional Organiser Mrs Narelle Rich on 0419 447 054.

Yours faithfully

 

 

GK

GS


General Purpose Committee - 15 February 2012

Organisation Review - Submissions from Council's Consultative Committee and Staff

 

Submission to Nambucca Shire Council Organisational Review Report

 

Proposed Structure – Information Technology

 

·     I believe that the Information Technology Department did not get full representation at the time of the review as there was no management representative for the section.

 

·     I do not agree with the splitting up of the current Information Technology structure and would recommend it stay as it is.  To ensure delivery of current services, to keep up with the ever increasing workload and now taking Libraries on board from 1st July, we need to at least retain current staff members.  To move GIS services to another department would deplete our expertise.  During times of leave and high work demands the skills and availability of our GIS staff are vital.  They currently service all departments within Council and I fear this would be lost if they were to move into the Engineering/Assets unit. 

 

·     I don’t believe that Information Technology resources can be shared with other Council’s as each Council uses site specific IT infrastructure.  In the event of hardware/software failure it would be extremely frustrating for any staff member if they could not carry out their normal duties if we had to wait for someone to arrive on site, from say Bellingen/Kempsey (especially in times of floods).

 

Proposed Structure – Corporate Services

·     I believe that the position of Corporate Services Director should be reinstated so all relevant sections under that Director will once again have a voice.  For the past eighteen months we have not had a Manager Information Technology (one was appointed as at 16th January 2012) nor a Corporate Services Director, as a result, a lot of issues have not been brought to the attention of General Manager due to his current workload and availability.

·     The incumbent of this position should have IT background as well as a finance background.

 

Proposed Elimination Director Environment & Planning

I don’t believe that this should even be considered given the negative experience of not having replaced the Corporate Services Director; it is just shifting the problems to another area.

 

Proposed Structure – Business Support Unit

If this Unit is established I would like to see the position for Coordinator advertised externally and internally.  There seems to be an assumption that this position would be given to a current staff member.  Advertising externally will ensure that the most qualified and appropriate person is appointed and in keeping with EEO requirements.  I came from a Victorian Council which went through the amalgamation process and all positions were declared vacant, thus current staff had to reapply for their own jobs as well as having the opportunity to apply for any other position in the organisation.  All top line management positions were advertised externally.

 

Comment on Current Staffing

Not filling vacant positions does have a negative impact on staff for varying reasons, since the commencement of the review there have been more staff departures, placing more pressure on already depleted staff, I fear this will lead to more departures before the process is completed, thus putting more pressure on remaining staff to take on extra workload without any extra salary or thanks.

 

Comment on Recommendations

·     I believe that more training is needed for appropriate staff but wonder if this will come to fruition given the level of budget cutbacks, plus salaries on offer do not attract people with higher qualifications and appropriate skills.

·     I agree that something needs to be done to the staff appraisal system as this is not workable in its current form.  Some staff have been disadvantaged by being at the top end of their level for years with nowhere to move.  In the past, Information Technology Department staff appraisals were never done on a regular basis. 

Jenny Standfield – IT Officer

Nambucca Shire Council                                                                8th February 2012