Recently I had the honour of representing LG Professionals Australia at the SOLGM Conference in Rotorua New Zealand. And, with all the other international delegates, was greeted with a wonderful evening at the Te Puia which features the Pohutu Geyser. Witnessing the work of Mother Nature in between getting to know members of the SOLGM Board was amazing. To be a part of the traditional welcoming ceremony was truly a moving experience and afforded all delegates a glimpse into the Maori culture which is so special to New Zealand.
I was pleased to be a part of the International Panel which also featured Marc Ott, Executive Director of ICMA; Lee Feldman, President of ICMA; and Mark Haynes of SOLACE, as we discussed some of our International success stories and important issues facing our local government authorities. (Dennis is second from the left)
“Infor Public Sector delivers a robust and easy to use asset management platform. This in turn allows our planning engineers and asset managers to make sound and confident decisions regarding the operation, management, and future of our assets.” Palmerston North City Council
The Australian Government has launched the Digital Economy Strategy consultation paper encouraging all Australians to have their say on the digital future of the nation. The consultation paper is available from www.industry.gov.au/digitaleconomy.
When the strategy is published in 2018, it will outline the benefits of Australia’s digital transformation, focusing on how the government, the private sector and the community can work together to:
You have until November 30 to share your ideas:
• Make a submission through our Consultation Hub www.consult.industry.gov.au
• Email us at email@example.com
• Mail your submission to: Digital Economy Strategy team,
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601.
LG Professionals Australia is a host organisation for the 2017-2018 Australian Awards Fellowship. As part of the fellowship, September saw 15 delegates from Nepal visit Australia to learn more about local government. As part of the visit, the delegates spent 5 days in an Australian council.
Here, Dennis Hovenden, CEO of Frankston City Council in Victoria shares his thoughts on the visit
Frankston City Council was fortunate to host five delegates from across Nepal.
The opportunity to spend time with the delegates, and to get to know them and understand their needs and issues, has been mutually beneficial. They were engaged and engaging and very keen to learn from us and equally keen to share their experiences and express their needs.
Obviously, Frankston is very different from Kathmandu and even more different when compared to rural or regional Nepal. For a start, we have a beach which most of the delegates had never seen before!
This year's International Mentor Program – which connects seasoned professionals from Australia's local government sector and industry with young people from Nepal and Cambodia to run community-improving projects – is currently in progress. Dr Shayne Silcox is the Program Director, and was recently in Nepal to kick-off this year's program, which is sponsored by OurSay and InSync.
According to Shayne, who is also CEO of the City of Melville in Western Australia, this year sees the program running with 29 mentor-mentee partnerships, and an excellent lineup of projects with focuses including providing materials and books for primary schools, economic and social Inclusion of people with disabilities, raising gender equity in the workplace, and reducing open defecation in rural communities.
Each mentee is given an orientation and trained in developing a business case to support their project. Mini assignments are given to help mentees and mentors discuss accountability, resume writing, leadership, and trust and resilience. The program runs from July to the end of November.
With three councils now having removed reference to Australia Day on January 26th, there have been plenty of murmurs that councils should stick to the basics. But Australia Day is not the only social change councils have been working towards. For instance, Geelong Council has recently used its powers to ban soft drinks from community cafes and canteens, and Port Phillip City Council, which runs the popular South Melbourne Market, is considering stopping stallholders handing out single-use plastic bags by 2018.
An interesting article in the Age recently took a closer look at what local government can weigh in on.
According to the preamble of Victoria's Local Government Act, 'It is the role of council to provide governance and leadership for the local community through advocacy, decision-making and action.' The act itself says, 'The preamble and the local government charter are not to be construed as having the effect of limiting the functions and powers of councils under this act, or any other act.'
Professor Roberta Ryan, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Sydney's University of Technology, said local government had a history of influencing state and federal government issues, from lobbying for women's right to vote, to pushing for gender equality in the workforce and same-sex marriage. . . Reflecting the views of local communities and advocating their views to other levels of government is actually the fundamental role of local government, . . . Councils are much more than just a service provider because they are the level of government closest to the people, so there is a democratic dimension you don't get from any other level of government.'
Too often local governments don’t receive the credit they deserve for the good work and enlightened policies they deliver. Often they are called upon to deliver the unpopular policies of state or the Commonwealth Government, and resources aren’t provided to help them enable communities to reach their full potential.
Housing is one of those areas where the important role played by local government is often unappreciated and unacknowledged. In recognition of this, researchers at the University of South Australia and the University of Technology Sydney are looking at the vital contributions local government plays to the planning, supply and maintenance of housing and residential environments. Part of this research is a web-based survey, targeted at CEOs or other senior staff within local governments and we would encourage you to contribute to this important work by bringing it to the attention of the responsible staff so that they can complete the questionnaire.
The following is adapted from a piece I wrote for GovLink a couple of months back, soon after the launch of the inaugural State of the Sector Report. It's timely now as we begin the consultation process to gather your thoughts on what should be included in the 2018 Report.
The value of the data that local government collects, manages and produces cannot be overstated. No other organisation or level of government has access to such detailed information on communities, or the ability to paint the local picture, quite like councils can.
As the local government sector changes, and is expected to do more with less, the need to advocate, convince, and connect with our communities, other levels of government, businesses and collaborators increases. Councils are forming more complex collaborations with other organisations, and relying more and more on efficiencies to get the job done. In a myriad of ways, this leads to a more sophisticated relationship with data. Why? Data informs decision-making, is essential in getting others on board with initiatives, and can be compelling when competing for scarce resources.
We need data – but the amount of data we are generating and gathering is growing at unprecedented rates. While knowledge is power, in the data age it’s the ability to organise, analyse, and tell the real story of the data that matters.
Earlier this year our partner .id, the population and economic analysts, helped a number of local governments create funding submissions for the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
Many of those bids were .successful, and in more good news, the analysts at .id are willing to share what they learned from the process. What they can tell us will be useful for other funding applications, AND, there's also budget provision for a second-round of funding, expected later in the year.
For everyone who has read our State of the Sector Report – which was launched with our partner .id, the population and economic analysts at the LG Professionals Australia National Congress in May, and is available on our website – you'll be aware of the incredible amount of data and analysis that .id houses on its website. But .id don't just have a bunch of numbers. What they really specialise in is story-telling using the numbers as backup. It's that story-telling that has helped them help local governments around the country create compelling submissions for funding.
What makes a good report, or a good funding submission, or a good community campaign is a good story.
On a side note, if you have read the State of the Sector Report and used the links it contains, it is worth taking another look now as the data has been updated over the last month or so with the release of more data from Census2016 by the ABS.
January 26 has been a national holiday celebrating Australia Day since 1994. The date marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. It is a day many Australians come together to celebrate, however some Australians join Invasion Day rallies to protest what they see as the dispossession of the continent's Indigenous people.
While several local governments have been discussing changing the date of their Australia Day celebrations, Yarra City Council is the first to have its right to hold any citizenship ceremonies removed.
Late last year, WA's Fremantle council moved its official Australia Day celebrations to January 28.
UPDATE: Darebin Council has voted to change the date, and like Yarra City Council, has had its right to hold any citizenship ceremonies removed by the Federal Government.
by M Mizanur Rahman
‘A systems thinker sees feedback loops everywhere, either balancing or reinforcing.’
My aim is to help you see these loops around you, in things you look at, think about and even in things you read. In the last article, I talked about how integrating systems thinking within strategy can help foresee and minimise the unintended consequences of interventions. In this article, I talk about a real-life application of this tool, which might help you create a habit of identifying feedback loops in things around you.
With Infor, you can easily find the right solutions for every aspect of your business. We build complete industry suites in the cloud and deploy software that puts the user experience first, leverages data science, and integrates easily with your existing systems. Over 90,000 organizations worldwide rely on Infor to help overcome market disruptions and achieve business-wide digital transformation.
Do business better
Infor Pathway is a modern, web-enabled solution developed to meet the specific requirements of local authorities in Australia and New Zealand. Developed by industry experts, many with more than 20 years' experience serving the enterprise software needs of local government, Infor Pathway delivers the comprehensive functionality councils and other local authorities need to meet their customer-service objectives. Infor Pathway provides capabilities to improve the efficiency of your business processes, including people management, land and property management, revenue management, and regulatory management. If you are interested in reading more about Infor’s Pathway for local government solution click the banner
Critical feedback on some element of your work or your work approach can be difficult to take. However, have you ever found yourself reacting differently based on whether it's a man or a woman providing the feedback?
This article in the Atlantic offers food for thought on the stereotypes and expectations we might be holding that make it more difficult to accept critical feedback from a senior woman than it is from a senior man. For example, if you're a woman, do you allow yourself to imagine that more senior women view you as competition, or at the other end of the scale, do you expect that because you are both women, that she should totally support everything you do?
Letting go of these stereotypes, might enable you to work with the feedback to become better at your job.
by M Mizanur Rahman
Smart organisations grow – but smarter ones grow smarter. Many organisations expand over time, but few sustain a significant growth trajectory. In fact, to get the desired results, it can become more important for organisations to know what not to do than what to. And sometimes, even hitting the key performance indicators doesn’t help achieve medium and long-term goals; which is quite weird, isn’t it?
Whatever the nature of the organisation is, when it functions within a small boundary, the operation of the business is somehow naïve and even an average leader can sustain the growth. But, as the need for growth is intrinsic in business, leaders must constantly move to generate more profit or push their services to more people. It’s the norm – yet many organisations fail to do that. But why?
CEO, LG Professionals Australia.