There are currently over 560 local government authorities in Australia, with the vast majority of them being regional/rural and therefore responsible for significant geographies. Local Government only employs around 10% of the total public sector employees (178,000 people) but has responsibility for more than $20 billion of expenditure each year on infrastructure, economic and community services for residents.
Local Government is unique in that while individual councils adopt a range of different business processes and methodologies specific to their own needs; they generally have very similar reporting and data management requirements.
Common across all local councils is the requirement to provide reporting of KPI’s for their state government departments as well their elected representatives and internal senior management. All councils must conform to a wide variety of legislation, acts and regulations even though many of these differ from state to state.
The constant challenge facing Local Government is how to make their relatively finite and mostly committed resources stretch to allow them to embark on new worthwhile initiatives. Simply put, Senior Council Management all over the country are asking themselves “how do we cover all the basics with fewer resources, in order to free up the funds we need for X, Y and Z?”
One remedy being presented to many Councils across Australia is a resurgent push for amalgamations. But this is where better business systems, processes and technologies also have real value, provided they clearly offer local government authorities greater efficiencies and tangible returns on any investment.