CoGG: Candidate letter to editor

Candidates say
23 October 2017

INTRODUCTION.


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By Peter Mitchell, candidate for Brownbill Ward

STATEMENT

Long version:

I have been looking through the commissioner’s report on the previous council and talking to other candidates who have had experience with the council operation – either internally or externally.

The report recommends that a review be conducted in the Council operations to identify how effectively and efficiently it delivers services. I don’t know to what extent this review has been performed by the administrators but even if the review is done, making the actual changes for any major overhaul of operations usually takes years.

I have some experience in business transformation programs, and the usual first step is to define exactly what it is that the organisation does. Every group of people working together has a set of capabilities which define it, some of which are common to any organisation and some of which are specific to each one. The business capabilities include more than just the services it offers but also basic tasks such as HR or Finance, IT and business planning. To be clear, the description is about WHAT is done, not HOW it is done or WHO does it.

If such a business capability mapping has been done for the council, I think it would be a great idea if it could be published online. I would not expect anything confidential or controversial to be included and it would give all ratepayers an idea of how complex an organisation they support. I believe this would be the first step in ensuring an open and transparent view both for constituents and for the council staff themselves.

For the council itself, such a model is a starting point for working out where there are gaps, or overlaps, in operations and gives a view of how the business should be logically separated. This is essential in breaking down siloed structures and improving both efficiency and effectiveness of the council.

From my reading of the commissioner’s report I believe that the front-line staff are doing a good job but there are some concerns about co-ordination and communication across divisions. These are the aspects that a good business architect would be able to address.

As a councillor I would be very interested in suggestions by public or staff on ways of improving the council operations, based as they would be on a clear description of what the council actually does.

Example diagram for generic business. Council services would fit in the middle (Operate) region. Councillors mostly operate in the top (Manage) area.

 
Diagram is embeded on this post
 

Short text sent to as letter to the editor of Geelong Advertiser:

One of the recommendations in the Commissioner’s report on the last council was a review of the organisation and operations. From reviews and strategies I have done in the past, one of the first things created is a view of exactly what the council does. I don’t know how far along this review is, but I would expect at least that part would be available.
I don’t mean just a list of services that the Council provides, although that is critical as well. A proper Business Capability Map includes internal operations such as HR and Finance as well as governance items like strategy and planning. To be clear, the model includes WHAT is done, but not HOW it is done.
The point I am getting to is that I think it be a great idea if the model could be published online. I would not expect anything confidential or controversial to be included and it would give all ratepayers an idea of how complex an organisation they support. I believe this would be the first step in ensuring an open and transparent view both for constituents and for the council staff themselves.


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