Sweeping reforms result of review

THE Central Highlands Regional Council will dismantle its five operational departments and spill all general manager positions in sweeping organisational reforms announced this week.

Mayor Peter Maguire said three new divisions aimed at improving efficiencies and providing better customer service would emerge as the result of an eight-month independent review.

“We have no intention to sack hundreds of workers, that is not what this is about,” Cr Maguire emphasised. “... Specifically we want to see an improved response time to customer inquiries and a quicker turnaround for applications and requests for service made to the council in all areas whether it’s road repairs or building playgrounds.

“We need to do better - show value for money and report back on how we have allocated and spent our revenue.”

The positions held by five council-employed general managers will no longer exist, but all will have the opportunity to apply for the three new head of department positions and a number of other vacancies to be created under the restructuring.

Cr Maguire said the council initiated the review of the organisation several months ago in a bid to understand the complexities of doing business in the post-amalgamation environment.

“We started this process mid-last year, we got outside help to come in and provide a complete review, highlighting areas and opportunities for improvement,” Cr Maguire said.

“They looked at everything, across the whole board and came back to us with 34 recommendations on how to improve.”

The recommendations for the new structure and implementation process were outlined to the council by the chief executive at a workshop on June 27 and adopted on Monday.

Key changes included the establishment of a Strategic Management Team reporting directly to the chief executive.

The departments of Commercial Services and Civil Operations will combine to become the Department of Infrastructure, Assets and Public Facilities.

The two other new departments will be Community and Development Services and Organisational Support Services.

All general manager positions will be spilled and advertised.

Council will also advertise for a chief financial officer and executive manager administration and customer services.

Cr Maguire said the organisation would be moving into the new structure and reporting arrangements once the senior appointments were made.

“We always knew we had to do this at some stage after amalgamation, it is important that we look at our roles and work out what areas need improvement,” he said.

“There are perceptions out there that service levels in some areas have dropped and we need to address that.

“We are a big organisation, and this is about stream-lining customer services so we work more effectively across the board.”

“While we may have liked to implement this earlier, we are clear that the model that has been proposed will help drive the organisation to implement the changes that are needed to improve our service and deliver results for our community.

“We understand that this may mean some significant adjustments for staff, and we have developed a process to ensure they have been informed about the changes and will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions.”

Cr Maguire said a key component of the change was monitoring and measuring performance.

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