Service Planning – Stream One

by Malcolm McKenzie, Regional Manager Victoria/Tasmania

With the financial sustainability for councils being a significant issues for the industry, councils are constantly seeking ways in which they can become more efficient and effective in their service delivery. Recognising this Local Government Victoria announced the establishment of the Finance and Accounting Support Team (FAST) program. The FAST program was announced in the 2016-17 Victorian Government budget and is delivered in three streams by Local Government Victoria (LGV).

CT Management has the privilege of being one of the preferred consultant providers for Stream One which provides specialist accounting and finance advice and support to rural councils on a project-by-project basis. The core emphasis of Stream One projects is the internal capability development of the participating councils. The program is now in to its fourth year of funding with around twenty Stream One projects being approved to date. Typical Stream One projects have included; Service Planning & Service Costing, Long Term Financial Plan assistance, Updating Chart of Accounts, Development of Asset Management capacity, review of Procurement Models.

Projects of note that CT Management has been involved in include Improving Asset Management Capacity. This project involved assessing the current Asset Management capacity of the shire and developing an action plan for improvement activities for their Asset Management systems, policies and processes. This included; development of revised Asset Management Policy, Strategy & Plans, projection of Council’s future renewal funding requirements and providing Asset Management training to councillors and staff.

We are also undertaking a Service Planning project, where we are assisting Council to understand whether the range of services they provide are aligned to their strategic direction and whether the level of service is sustainable and affordable in the long term. The process we are undertaking also provides a framework for making comparative choice about the range and levels of service it provides. It builds a service focussed culture and capacity within the organisation that supports a journey towards sustainability.

Following the Service Planning exercise, Council can expect to understand:

  • The long-term financial sustainability of the current service delivery model.
  • What services are not aligned to the current strategic direction.
  • What service levels need to be adjusted to ensure future sustainability.
  • Whether its Long-Term Financial Plan as it currently stands can fund its current range of services at the current level of service.

This will assist in:

  • Identification of opportunities for resource sharing with other Councils.
  • Providing capacity to commence community consultation.

Funding for the current round of FAST funding has closed however the capacity of CT Management to deliver programs of this nature provides an excellent opportunity for council’s to review the sustainability of the services they provide. One of the product offerings we provide is the ‘Sustainable Council Program’ which is designed to provide an assessment of council’s capacity to meet the future service requirements of its communities.

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