VAGO Service Planning Audit – Delivering Local Government Services – Managing Director – Michael Courtney

The recent VAGO Service Planning Audit (September 2018) undertaken at Bayside, Wyndham, Moira, Wodonga and Indigo essentially indicated Councils needed a service planning framework, a consistent approach, and a concentration on overhead distribution.

One of the key points the audit missed was the cost of the assets that underpin service delivery. The importance of this consideration is that infrastructure assets depreciation, renewal and upgrade are considerable. Council ideally would only want to fund assets that support service delivery.

At CT Management, we have developed a Service Planning Framework that addresses all of the issues raised in the VAGO Audit. We have worked with over a dozen Councils applying this framework and in the main, Councils discover that their current range of services at their current level are not sustainable into the future.

Our framework provides a series of steps, supported by tools, to ascertain the sustainability of the current range of services at their current level of service over 10-20 year timeframe. The framework examines strategic alignment, service demand and service priority enabling Councils to settle on as future sustainable service mix.

This then leads to detailed Services Reviews, discussion around ceasing some services or decreasing services levels, and/or a review of service demand on high priority services and so on.

These options are all generally evaluated as Council management costs to improve the Council’s long-term sustainability.

There is no doubt most Councils have lost significant revenue raising capacity due to rate capping, and the only significant way to manage this is to reduce expenditure.

“The key is to develop a Service Planning Framework where decisions about service priorities, reduced investment in infrastructure, cessation of services, can be made transparently and collaboratively.”

Should you require assistance with Service Planning or Operational Service Reviews, please contact Malcolm McKenzie in Victoria or Owen Harvey in Queensland on 1300 500 932.