GDC Customer-focused Council Project Handover Report To Council
Grey District Council’s project to put our customers at the heart of our business is pushing ahead to the next stage, with the Council to receive a report next week about work to date and next steps.
The Customer-focused Council Project was launched in June this year in response to an organisational review that highlighted key issues for the organisation, particularly around internal leadership, strategic direction and ability to address future challenges.
Chief Executive Paul Morris says it’s been a busy five months of internal review, issue identification and work to put the foundation changes in place to drive customer-focused improvements.
“Our staff have been heavily engaged in this process of change, working with external advisors to identify key issues and suggest options for how we make future improvements.
“We’ll welcome a new Executive Leadership Team in the new year who will now champion improvements for the future. The report being presented to Council next week is the culmination of efforts to identify issues right across the organisation, consider these against best practice and present a range of options for how they are addressed,” he says.
The Customer-focused Council Project Team Handover Report identifies various opportunities for improvement across eight council areas of work. In addition to future recommendations, key achievements to date in these areas include:
- Development of a new organisational structure, through a consultative change process, to lead the council through future issues and improvements.
- Work to improve customer services, including a focus on staff training, consolidating customer services activities, and ensuring use of customer request logging systems and reporting.
- Development of an ICT Strategy.
- Establishing IT support and introducing software improvements to support organisational activities.
- Development of a specialist Project Management Office.
- Governance-related improvements to support the elected council, including updating the council meeting process and decision-making documents such as the Delegations Register.
- Identification of opportunities to improve iwi relationships.
“I am being clear with staff that the issues identified are reflective of systemic problems. They are not a criticism of any one staff member or any particular team within the organisation. In fact, our Strategic Review noted that we have a good group of people doing their best – it’s our systems, processes and strategies that we need to work on to make it easier for everyone to do their jobs,” Mr Morris says.
Many of the recommendations for future improvements relate to ways of working and the introduction of processes that will streamline activities and make it easier for staff to do their jobs for the community. It is expected that many of these recommendations will create efficiencies and/or save money, however some (such as introducing new software or programmes) may require additional future cost.
“There’s no doubt the process has identified some significant need for change. It’s important now that our staff, led by a new strategically focused team, take on responsibility for making the changes needed to serve our customers and prepare for future changes in the local government sector,” Mr Morris says.
Mayor Tania Gibson says the Council has been supportive of the objectives of this process from the beginning.
“We are pleased with the improvements made to date and the continued focused the organisation is putting on our community.
“At the end of the day, we’re here to serve the people of the Grey District. It’s never easy to take a hard look at yourself and talk about what’s not working so well, and there have had to be some tough decisions made, but I think people will see that these improvements are going to benefit our community.”