Australia Democracy, devolution and governance, Personal and organisational development

Live Panel: Beyond the council plan – creating impact with a corporate plan

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

The recent LGiU live panel, Beyond the council plan: creating impact with a corporate plan, featured Zoe Pappas from Right Lane, Ricky Tozer from Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and Phil Medley from Maroondah City Council.

In the panel, Ricky was able to reflect on the experience of 10 years of integrated planning and reporting and the lessons learnt through the amalgamation of Queanbeyan and Palerang councils. Phil shared how his council is adapting and responding to Victoria’s new integrated planning and reporting requirements. Zoe drew on her extensive experience with local governments and the private sector to identify what she sees as the key questions councils should be asking to ensure they can deliver their corporate plans.

Zoe commented on the gap she has observed in how well prepared councils are to implement their council plans, recognising that these highly strategic documents, developed through extensive community engagement, are outward-facing documents. The need, as Zoe sees it, is to develop a corporate plan that sits alongside the council plan to allow for effective delivery. As an internal document, the corporate plan should be informed by a series of questions: How the organisation might need to transform? What capabilities do we need? What resources do we need, and how will we source them? How are we structured? Do we have the culture we need? Do we have the technology we need? The council plan should answer how the council will set itself up for success internally.

Reflecting on the merger of Queanbeyan and Palerang Councils, Ricky identified the importance of setting the foundations internally – understanding what they were doing and why. He went on to share the ‘internal fact finding’ process his council underwent to create an ‘owners manual’. This included investigating the services council delivers, working with managers to understand what they do, how it links to the council plan, what council’s role is, and why they do it. The council also identified the links to state plans and internal and external partners, along with the programs and their outputs – what was being delivered and how it was performing.

This ‘owners manual’ enabled council to show new councillors and others the services council delivered internally and articulate the standards of service. An unforeseen benefit was being able to show employees the direct line of sight between their role and council’s strategic plan, resulting in good staff involvement with the plan.

In Victoria, Phil shared Maroondah’s strategy of putting ‘golden thread’ in place – which links what they do to their organisational goals. A key element of the golden thread is ensuring employees understand their role. The council has developed guides and training, mapping the alignment between strategic documents, and has a centralised register of strategic documents. Seven ongoing community advisory committees play an important advisory role.

The conversation unpacked these key ideas along with a discussion of how councils are working with their communities to develop their corporate plans and their internal process to achieve efficiency and accountability.

To find out more about Queanbeyan and Palerang Councils ‘owners manual’, Maroondah’s ‘golden thread’ and Zoe’s reflections on strong internal process to ensure councils are well placed to deliver on their corporate plans, view the event recording here, or watch below.

 

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