04/05/2015 - 06:26

Organisational revamp spurs management change at City of Perth

04/05/2015 - 06:26

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The City of Perth is embarking on significant organisational overhaul, which will result in an expansion of its directorships, a flatter structure, and more emphasis on economic development.

Among other developments will be a new focus on data information systems, a more streamlined approach to managing capital investment projects, and significant investment in customer service.

The strategy was approved by council on Thursday night last week, and the city will be advertising for three of its expanded five-person directorship team, including a new role to head economic development and activation, and two vacancies created by forthcoming retirements.

City of Perth chief executive Gary Stevenson said the council had been awaiting the outcome of the state’s failed local government amalgamation mission before embarking on the organisational change process.

It pressed the button in February, engaging with staff and elected officials as it developed the model to update the management structure of the state’s premier local government.

Mr Stevenson said he expected a handful of new jobs to be created in the top three levels of management, although he also anticipated some redundancies where staff chose not to be deployed when their role was split.

“The aim is not cost cutting,” he said.

“We are very sustainable as we are; in fact we see growth.”

Big developments in the CBD, such as Elizabeth Quay, as well as some boundary expansion will result in additional resources being applied to asset management.

In addition to this expansion, the council has increasingly put itself forward as the gateway to Western Australia through its various international networks and lobbying for specific legislation defining it as a capital city.

With that in mind, Mr Stevenson said the role economic development and activation had become more important and would now report directly to the CEO via the new director.

“That is a focus on growing the city, bringing events to the city and enhancing and enriching the lifestyle our city enjoys,” he said.

“We are already pretty good, in some respects we are at world-class standard, but we can keep driving that.”

In terms of data management, the city is leveraging the $500,000 grant it received from IBM's philanthropic Smarter Cities Challenge project in 2014 through which it analysed how to better integrate data from essential services so potential problems can be anticipated and addressed in advance.

The city plans a new unit to manage the collection and sharing of data, both within the council and with third parties.

Mr Stevenson said the city was planning to create a customer service contact system to deal streamline the process of dealing with the council.

He said the old structure made it too hard for people to locate the right department and there were too many departmental layers to work through.

The objective he said was that 80 per cent of customer dealings could have one point of contact.

 

 

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