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                    [post_content] =>  



 

Local government experts are predicting a serious shortfall in skilled staff within ten years as Gen Y’s shun local councils and Baby Boomers clinging on until retirement start to fall off their perches.

A four-year benchmarking survey led by Local Government Professional Australia, NSW involving 135 NSW, Western Australian and New Zealand councils, found that while council workforces are ageing they are finding it hard to attract and retain younger people, especially Gen Y’s.

Councils analysed their own performance on a range of indicators, including service provision, finance and operations, risk management, assets and leadership but it was the makeup of local council workforces that set alarm bells ringing.

Gen Y’s are woefully underrepresented in councils and they are also much more likely to quit within a year when they do get local government jobs. The situation is most acute in NSW.

CEO of LG Professionals, NSW Annalisa Haskell predicted a staffing crisis within a decade if the generation gap was not addressed.

“You’re looking at a major, major issue. We won’t be able to do the work in the future,” Ms Haskell said.

“Due to a uniquely old age profile quite at odds with the Australian working population, NSW local government is failing to significantly attract and retain new staff, especially Gen Y, who are twice as likely to leave a council than other generations,” she said.

She said the battle over forced council mergers in NSW had also sapped the sector’s energy and pulled the focus away from what was arguably a much more serious issue: staffing.

“We are having the wrong conversation. We need to move from the structure debate of mergers to understanding why local government is not positioned as a vibrant place to work compared to other Australian sectors, nor the place to invest in a career.”

In NSW councils, Gen Y’s represent about 40 per cent of the Australian working population in 2016 but they only make up 22 per cent of NSW council workforces. In WA it is 26 per cent and in New Zealand Gen Y’s make up 28 per cent of the council workforce.

While Baby Boomers are sticking around for decades and hoarding their leave, particularly in NSW, Gen Y’s that do start working for councils often don’t stay long.  

In NSW, 19 per cent of Gen Y left within a year, compared with a 9.9 per cent turnover of all staff. It was higher in WA, where one in five Gen Y’s quit within a year, but the all staff turnover was also higher, at 13.8 per cent so the gap was less. 

Meanwhile, Baby Boomers represent 35 per cent of the Australian working age population in 2016 but 44 per cent of NSW council staff.

In contrast, New Zealand does not have a problem with staff turnover, attracts more Gen Y’s and does a much better job at attracting women to local government, particularly at supervisory level or above.

Women represent 57 per cent of new starters in New Zealand, compared with 50 per cent in WA and 43 per cent in NSW.


Why is Gen Y turning away from councils?

Ms Haskell says that local government in NSW has a serious image problem and Gen Y’s viewed it as staid, slow and technologically backward. Council jobs also seemed to lack economic prestige.

“The sector isn’t appealing to Gen Y. They like the experience to be good,” Ms Haskell said. “Councils are by nature conservative and regulation bound and [generally] not very high tech. They are driven by compliance and the regulatory point of view.”

She said Gen Y were likely to ask why things were not instant and people not engaged. They were digital natives too.

 “The problems we have are here now and will take time to fix - it is most apparent that we need to better promote local government as a compelling career sector,” she said.

The falling numbers of Gen Y girls taking subjects such as maths and sciences had also been felt in certain areas of council work, such as engineering and environmental jobs, which were often quite specialised.

Baby Boomers entrenched in their jobs meant there was an older leadership, sometimes at odds with Gen Y’s, and no obvious stepping stones for younger people.

“There is a generational split. The leadership is old and it’s not moving. Gen Y’s are likely to ask: ‘where is my career path and is this really me?’ ”

Mergers may also have been partly responsible for Baby Boomers staying in their jobs and accruing leave – a real liability for councils – because of the uncertainty of job losses generated by amalgamations. In contrast, New Zealand’s councils had little leave on the balance sheet.


No Plan B

Worrying, Ms Haskell said that the majority of councils had no succession planning in place. Rather than training Gen X and Gen Y to step up when senior staff retired, corporate memory walked out the door when Boomers left.

Only 13 per cent of NSW councils had proper succession planning in place in 2016, a drop from 20 per cent the previous year.

“With the Baby Boomers it’s all in their head and they’ve been the [council’s] anchor point. They haven’t got a succession plan ready. I’m surprised,” she said.

GMs sometimes had to quit suddenly because of serious health issues or accidents and external managers were parachuted into the role temporarily, rather than moving somebody into the role in-house.

Many councils did not have a deputy general manager, for example.

Ms Haskell said: “[We’re] dependent as a sector because of the nature of politics: ‘no-one else can do it except the GM’. That’s a real gap and we have to take responsibility.”


What can be done?

Ms Haskell said that encouraging Gen Y’s to network online and to share their ideas and experiences and to lead on certain issues would help.

Councils also needed to change the way they worked, connected and communicated. For example, making customer experience central and working back and supporting staff to deliver on this.

“Some councils are trying to get there but they’re in the minority. Gen Y’s have to drive it themselves,” she said.

Councils could check in with Gen Y recruits at the three-month stage and ask them about their experiences and perceptions anonymously and exit interviews were useful to find out what had gone wrong and how it could be fixed.

She said the sector needed to work together to motive people and share solutions but the threat of council mergers had hampered this spirit over the last three years and pulled councils apart, with many going into lockdown and survival mode.

Succession planning had to be faced up to and people mentored and trained to take over.

So what is New Zealand doing right?

Ms Haskell said the Kiwis were bringing in new people from non-government sectors and attracting management skills externally.

“[There are] more women in senior positions all the way up than in Australia.”

“In NSW, we appear to attract less [outside] talent to the sector and less from managerial roles that can make a difference culturally.”

New Zealand had also mounted a successful advertising campaign to attract young people to the sector.

The Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program survey, conducted in partnership with PwC, also involved nine merged NSW councils – previously 22 individual councils – and should help give merged councils a picture of their performance before and after mergers.

 PwC Partner Stuart Shinfield praised the participating councils and said CEOs and General Managers ‘have had to lay themselves bare’.

“The heroes in this are the managers of the vast number of councils involved,” Mr Shinfield said. “No-one told them they had to drill-down like this – they took the front foot and said ‘Let’s do this’, whereas in the commercial sector this high-level of analytical review usually only happens when someone has been given a directive.”
                    [post_title] => Gen Y’s shun local councils: Massive skill gap predicted in a decade
                    [post_excerpt] => Baby Boomers won't budge.
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                    [post_content] => Positive emotions of team members during staff meeting

 

 

By Tony Sandberg, Director, Solutions and Industry Marketing Asia Pacific at Polycom.

I had the pleasure of hosting discussions during the OpenGov Leadership Forum in Canberra last month. It was a chance for government departments across a broad range of sectors and geographies to collaborate and share insights on how they are hoping to use technology to ‘do more with less’ – in a bid to become more collaborative, while also transforming their workspaces and culture to create a ‘workplace of the future’ today.

Perhaps this need for change is not all that surprising given the Government’s current innovation agenda. Deloitte Australia also estimates that by simply collaborating more than they do right now, Australian businesses can add up to AUD$9.3 billion per year to the economy1. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that government will also reap massive rewards if they can successfully adopt a more collaborative culture inside their own departments.

However, in Canberra, it became apparent very quickly that, while there is clear intent to change, there is still work to be done in order to embrace the benefits of using collaboration technologies within all levels of government.

Understanding the Role of Email in the Collaborative Workspace 

It’s human nature. We don’t like to change and are often drawn to what’s familiar. The same applies to our technology preferences. For example, the majority of delegates said they still use email as their main collaboration tool because of its familiarity and ability to act as a record keeper of conversations and decisions.

Interestingly, a recent Polycom Workplace of the Future2 survey found that, despite 97% of ANZ businesses believing technology-enabled collaboration is key to remaining competitive, most still rely on 20th century technologies such as email and phone.

That said, there did seem to be a genuine desire among the government agencies present to be less dependent on emails in favour of real time communications and face-to-face collaboration.

Effective Collaboration Needs ‘Location Liberation’ 

It was also encouraging to hear that some departments are already using collaboration tools like video to meet with their own geographically dispersed teams, other agencies, and international stakeholders. These departments already understand the benefits of using face-to-face collaboration technology to improve their service responsiveness, efficiency and productivity. Interestingly, the heavier users of video conferencing had also noticed less emails being sent and less email dependency.

Today, most video collaboration within Government is still happening inside traditional meeting rooms. These spaces are often difficult to access as they are heavily booked. To overcome this meeting room bottleneck, some departments have already started using video from their desktops, mobile devices and ‘huddle rooms’ – smaller meeting spaces. For others, the need for “location liberation” was seen as key to allow them to use video more frequently outside the traditional conference room environment.

Rethinking Workspace and Workplace Policies

Government teams across industries and geography shared how they are starting to re-design workspaces and how workplace behaviour is also starting to adapt around them. It was no surprise that improving office design and layout was seen as an important enabler for the effective use of collaboration tools.

While modern government offices have been designed with collaboration spaces in mind, many older buildings still lack the flexibility of being able to access collaboration technology outside the conference room. There was also a call for less bureaucracy and policies surrounding the use of video conferencing to move it out of the boardroom, ensuring greater flexibility and alignment with end user needs.

Education Seen as a Key Driver to Workplace Adoption and Cultural Change

The cultural change of using more real time communication instead of emails was recognised as one of the main hurdles to be overcome. Employee education around the ease of use was identified as a major driver for adoption. Essentially, when people start to use video collaboration and see the benefits it can drive the change in culture. One delegate summed it up by saying “people need to talk more with each other”.

Over time it’s expected this work culture shift will also bring to the fore integrated solutions and workflows for ease of use such as integration with Skype for Business and Office 365.

Five Key Tips for Improving Collaboration in Your Workplace Today

Whether you are just starting out on your collaboration journey or actively planning the future state of your workplace, the tips below should support you on the journey:
  1. Measuring the uptake and utilisation of existing collaboration tools can help you discover quick win opportunities for improved productivity gains, e.g. number of team video conferencing meetings held in a week.
  2. Establish current collaboration usage and combine this with a strategy to address issues (such as the availability and type of tools, adoption programmes or workflows), your teams can improve their collaboration significantly.
  3. Choose a solution that is easy to use. Video collaboration adoption requires systems to be easy to use and manage, and also deliver a consistent, great experience anywhere and on any platform.
  4. Integrate and streamline, again for ease of use and quick adoption. Users need new collaboration technologies to be integrated with popular communication platforms like Microsoft Office 365 and normal day to day workflows. Choose solutions that are interoperable and provide secure access regardless of location, network or device.
  5. Work with your IT Team to update Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to accommodate the needs of flexible workers and contract staff to ensure they remain productive and connected regardless of location.
  Looking to the Future The Australian government is in many areas ahead of other Governments within Asia Pacific in recognising the importance of collaboration tools.  Additionally and perhaps reassuringly, other governments around the world also face similar challenges in regards to cultural workplace changes, adapting policies and promoting ease of access. For now though, the focus for many Australian government departments is how to take that all-important next step for a connected workplace of the future – where internet, innovation and productivity work in unison. And, they want solutions that will improve workflow, experience and productivity – today.   About the Author: Tony Sandberg, with a background in the telecommunications / IT industry, focusing specifically on Service Providers, Enterprises and Government, is the Director, Industry Solutions and Market Development for Polycom Asia Pacific. He is a leader in collaborative workspaces and interactive videoconferencing. For two decades he has held senior roles in business development, sales and marketing, solutions management and partnerships. He holds a Master’s of Science in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Växjö Sweden.   1As summarised in their Global Human Capital Trends Report 2016. 2The Polycom Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Workplace of the Future report captured insights from 1,500 plus employers and employees across ANZ. For many, the focus at OpenGov was on how to take that all important next step in their digital transformation. And they want organisation-focused solutions that will help them to create a true Workplace of the Future by improving workflow, experience, the workspace and ultimately, stakeholder satisfaction. [post_title] => Unlocking the benefits of collaboration for government [post_excerpt] => Shift to face-to-face technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => unlocking-the-benefits-of-collaboration-for-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-01 09:16:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-31 22:16:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25442 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24242 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-27 11:43:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-27 01:43:33 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24243" align="alignnone" width="239"]Rob Fitzpatrick_opt AIIA chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick.[/caption]   [By Rob Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive, Australian Information Industry Association] Government use of digital technology is booming, if the number of entries in this year’s iAwards are any indication. The iAwards is Australia’s leading awards for innovation in ICT, honouring organisations, researchers and students at the cutting edge of technology innovation in Australia. With over 600 entries this year, the number has almost doubled from last year, boosted by a very strong showing from the public sector, at all levels of government. Hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) for the last 22 years, the awards recognise and reward ICT innovations that make a positive impact on the community. There have been many entries from government in the past, but this year they comprise the majority. It is not hard to see why. The movement to open data – where governments make their information available to developers to build new applications – is revolutionising the way governments interact with citizens. This year’s record number of entries display the great diversity of applications that employ digital technology, but perhaps the most remarkable thing is the proportion that come from government (31 per cent of overall award entries came from one or more government-owned entities) and in particular public health. These days it is hard to be innovative without using digital technology. Governments at all levels are embracing the technology in a big way. When citizens and businesses get better access to the data generated by governments, which ultimately belongs to the public in any case, all sorts of applications are made possible. Open data enables better supply and demand management, more responsive emergency services, and the more timely and targeted delivery of a whole range of other government services.   Collaborative momentum grows There is a growing momentum around the connections between Australian ICT developers and government authorities. A lot of communities are really latching on to the wider availability of broadband and smartphones to build applications that provide better services to the community. Consider the work that the federal government has been doing around the NationalMap, putting all manner of spatial data into the public domain and letting people determine the best places to do things like plan community events, build schools and sell homes or just finding their way to get to work. We have reached something of a tipping point in Australian society. We have a government and an opposition both talking about innovation. It’s almost as if we have been given permission to have ideas. It’s something people want to talk openly and proudly about. And it’s not just the way governments are interacting with citizens. Government departments are working differently between themselves as well. That’s one of the areas the new Digital Transformation Office is targeting, improving efficiency and the way government departments work together. We're seeing examples at the federal level, with MyGov, and in most of the states. New South Wales in particular is really showing the way, as the number of entries about NSW government services in the iAwards show. In NSW you can walk into a government service centre and talk to any of their staff about different services, including some federal government services like Medicare.   Pervasive Digitalism All levels of government are digitising. The delivery of digital services is happening across the board. A look at some of the entrants in this year’s iAwards shows the diversity of applications. Hume City Council has developed a digital workflow and decision support system, a single application that captures forms, approvals methods and workflows across all local government services. Melbourne developer Ladoo has developed the Know Your Council website in conjunction with Local Government Victoria, which uses custom web services to handle and present data submitted by councils, allowing the government and the community to assess and benchmark individual council performance. There are so many examples. Addinsight is a traffic intelligence system built around a network of Bluetooth receivers that measure travel time on Adelaide roads, monitoring for unusual conditions, alerting traffic managers to potential problems and broadcasting congestion information to drivers via a smartphone app. Also from South Australia is BlueBays, a free mobile phone app to help people with disability locate and share information about accessible car parking spaces. Child Protection Intake Monitoring provides Victorian Health and Human Services staff with information about clients that will assist them to make better, quicker and more informed decisions about vulnerable children. Common Ground makes it easy to access maps and gives simple explanations of mining and exploration titles. The Federal Government Free Trade Agreement (FTA) portal helps business to seize export opportunities flowing from Australia's FTAs with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.   Health e-Nation But perhaps the biggest revolution is in the application of digital technology to public health. There are dozens of entrants from the sector this year. Examples include Better Health Explorer (BHX) to help users to find online health information, ClinTrial for collaboration and better access to clinical research trials, DoseMe for clinicians to determine a patient's ability to absorb and process drugs, 3D training simulation for nursing, and a number of electronic patient record systems. The range of applications, from all parts of government and from local, state and federal, is astonishing. The growth in the number of entries from the public sector is a great thing for the iAwards, and for Australia. In the past, the public sector hasn’t often shone a light on the good things it has been doing. That has really changed – people feel good about these new applications. A revolution is underway in how governments deliver services to their citizens.   Rob Fitzpatrick is CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association [post_title] => Government projects dominate Australia’s biggest tech innovation awards [post_excerpt] => Public sector solutions stand out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-innovations-dominate-iawards-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-28 10:29:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-28 00:29:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24242 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23359 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-03-16 15:59:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-16 04:59:05 [post_content] => Handcuffs   Women are fast catching up with men and increasingly committing serious fraud within the Australian Public Service (APS), a new report has found. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) investigated the most serious cases of internal Commonwealth fraud in its report, Fraud within the Commonwealth: A census of the most costly incidents, 2010 to 2013, released this month, and found that women made up 46.6 per cent of suspects in 2012-13 compared with 40 per cent being men. A total of 7,809 incidents were reported by 137 Commonwealth departments or agencies over the three years and the report drills down into the 124 costliest cases, which are estimated to have cost the federal government almost $3.2 million. All Commonwealth agencies are legally required to complete an online questionnaire about fraud and stipulate their fraud control arrangements, although a few did not bother. One of the research paper’s aims is to build up a profile of APS occupational fraudsters by examining how and why the most costly fraud is committed and who is doing it. Gaining a deeper understanding of what drives people to commit fraud and how suspects rationalise their actions can improve fraud control and prevention and deter those who may be at risk of committing fraud, or reoffending. The AIC report said: “The evidence available from fraud profiling can be used to identify those at highest risk of offending who can then be provided with additional support and advice to help them to act honestly in the workplace. “As with other areas of crime control, intervening at the earliest opportunity has considerable benefit in terms of reducing losses and harms and enabling otherwise productive employees to continue to pursue risk-free patterns of work." The revelation that female suspects overtook males in the final year of research contrasts to earlier research into public sector fraud, which normally identifies men as being more likely to commit fraud. While men tend to commit larger frauds, the largest single incident of fraud reported in this study was perpetrated by a woman. But the AIC figures should be viewed in context. Many government agencies and departments failed to specify a suspect’s gender and the proportion of women working in the APS is relatively high, at 57 per cent. Cases One of the most serious cases of internal fraud, from 2012-13, involved a female employee aged 45-54 working at APS level 1-4 who swindled a Queensland government organisation out of $240,000 over five years by creating a fictitious identity. The woman got five years in prison without parole. Only $2,800 of this has been recovered. Another case involved a man who stole nearly $130,000 of money - including petty cash – over almost four years and tried to cover his tracks using online accounting. The man was aged between 55 and 64 and lived in NSW. When confronted he admitted his crime but none of the money appears to have been recovered yet. A female suspect employed at APS5/6 with a top secret security clearance, ran up $15,000 in one month on a government credit card without authorisation. The 35-44 year-old NSW resident was caught after an external audit and subsequent internal investigation. No money was ever recovered but legal proceedings remain incomplete. In 2010, an ACT man employed at EL1/EL2 level, with a security clearance of "secret", stole telecommunications and other government equipment by illegally accessing information held on a computer over six months. He was aged 45-54 and living in the ACT and at the time of the incident and had worked there for more than four years. The amount lost was $5,076, with $2,688 recovered. Seven people were implicated in another case of internal fraud, where stock was stolen and government equipment misused by “manipulation of a computerised accounting system” and “other misuse of IT.” The government organisation lost $15,638 and recovered only $64. The suspect had also accepted kickbacks and abused his power. The deception involved collusion between the principal suspect and six others and was referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation. How widespread is internal fraud in the APS? Departments were asked to name one incident each year that had cost them most dearly and to give as much information as possible about the suspect: their age, sex, level of seniority, length of service and motivation for committing the crime. They were also asked what area the fraud was in, how it was committed and what action was taken. The greatest single loss was $598,000 committed in 2012-13 by a woman who paid it all back. Other departments had less luck. One public servant netted just over half a million dollars but he paid back only $13,330. In 2012-13, a woman defrauded her work of $239,000. None of this money could be recovered. Who is doing it? According to AIC’s research, the average APS fraudster is male, works full-time, is aged between 25 and 34 and employed at APS 5-6 level. He lives in the ACT and has been employed for more than four years. Public servants aged between 35 and 44 are the next most likely group to commit internal fraud; young people (under 25) and those over 45 are the least. Although there were slightly more male than female suspects, this changed in 2012-13, where more female suspects were reported. Prior fraud research has generally found that more men than women commit fraud. However, to get the whole picture, it is useful to note that Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force statistics indicate that the percentage of female staff went up and male participation dropped in the 2012-13 financial year. “Generally most of the suspects were assessed as being of ‘good character’ with a high proportion having some level of security clearance,” said the report. In 2011-12 the biggest group of suspects were employed at APS 1-4 (39 per cent) but in 2012-3 employees at APS Levels 5 and 6 made up 40 per cent of the suspects. Most had been in the job more than four years, indicating "that suspects had sufficient time to discover security weaknesses in management or other opportunities that could be used to perpetrate fraud." Interestingly, the research found that no senior managers were involved in the most costly 124 single incidents of fraud. This contrasts with other studies of internal fraud in the public sector, where fraudulent behaviour was detected at all levels of management and the most senior managers were responsible for the costliest frauds. How and why is it happening? The most common target areas for fraud were stealing equipment and fiddling entitlements and financial benefits and this was done most often by forging or altering documents. Failing to submit a leave application or falsifying one were also common. The most frequently given motive that respondents attributed to suspects was “personal and family financial problems”, closely followed by “greed and desire for financial gain” but a high proportion of survey respondents said they simple didn’t know why the suspect had done it. Other reasons advanced were: “to avoid staffing cuts”, the “belief it was common practice” and as “payback for unrelated alleged incident.” Other reasons put forward included drug and alcohol addiction, gambling problems and being unduly influenced by others. Some thought suspects had not intended to commit fraud but had misunderstood the rules and done something accidentally, e.g. misusing a government credit card. Another respondent said a suspect’s medical condition was behind the crime. How is fraud detected and dealt with? Most crimes were detected by an internal audit, including by the colleagues of fraudsters flagging their duplicity. Other methods included a tip-off from a family member, staff self-reporting and irregularities found during the re-evaluation of an employee’s security clearance. The most common outcomes were that the suspect was sacked or they resigned. Some were warned but kept their jobs. A handful of the most costly cases were referred to the police or for prosecution. Most people admitted the allegation in full when they were confronted. [post_title] => Making of a fraudster – ripping off the Australian Public Service [post_excerpt] => Women increasingly defrauding the APS. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-making-of-a-fraudster-internal-fraud-in-the-australian-public-servic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-17 21:30:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-17 10:30:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23359 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23318 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-03-10 13:05:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-10 02:05:50 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23321" align="alignnone" width="536"]Hurst3 Hurstville councillor and former mayor Con Hindi ... in happier times.[/caption]   Hurstville Council has reinstated its General Manager, Victor Lampe, after suspending him almost a year ago in a closed council meeting last night (Wednesday). Mr Lampe was suspended at a heated meeting in May last year, hours before he was due to comment on a staff report which recommended taking “possible enforcement action” against former Hurstville Mayor Con Hindi – who is still a councillor - for allegedly not remediating asbestos on a site he owned in Crump St, Mortdale. Shortly before Mr Lampe was due to give evidence, Labor Councillor Vince Badalati introduced a shock motion to suspend Mr Lampe. The vote was tied but Mr Hindi used his casting vote as mayor to push the suspension through. The Office of Local Government (OLG) carried out an investigation into the suspension and its timing and released a report on February 18 which concluded that the council had acted inappropriately when it suspended Mr Lampe on full pay in May 2015 and ordered that he be immediately reinstated. Despite Mr Lampe's reinstatement yesterday, some Hurstville councillors argue that it is just a front and the General Manager will be bullied into resigning. Labor Councillor Brent Thomas said: "Con Hindi and his cabal have made it clear they won't work with Mr Lampe going forward. "They continue to threaten and intimidate Mr Lampe through their public comments alone, saying the environment would be "toxic" and talking about terminating his employment if he were to come back. This bullying behaviour seems designed to intimidate the General Manager into resigning." He called on NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole, who threatened to suspend the council last year, to address what he called the pro-developer "Hindi cabal." "Our community has had a gutful," Mr Thomas said. "What will it take for Minister Toole to stop making hairy chested comments and actually start acting?" Over the last five years, Hurstville councillors have given the Kardashians a run for their money in the dysfunctional family stakes. There have been allegations and counter allegations of sexual harassment, volleys of poison pen letters, illegally taped conversations, heavily redacted reports and media leaks. The OLG report said there had been a “serious breakdown and deterioration in the working relationship between councillors.’’ There are two voting blocs in the council but unusually, they do not vote along party lines. One bloc, “the seven", is made up of three Labor councillors, three Liberals and one from Unity party. The other block, “the five” is equally mixed, with two ALP members, two Independents and a Liberal. The bitter in-fighting which has pitted councillors against one another seems to be rooted in old grudges, broken alliances, jealousy and power-grabbing. Fights over the mayoralty and party pre-selection have played a major party in the split. The OLG report said:  These voting blocs had obviously not formed along party lines, but appear to have been based on opportunism and personalities” and noted this risked “oligarchic control”, where one councillor could wield a great deal of power by controlling the dominant bloc. The OLG investigation also found that:
  • The council did not have proper procedures in place to deal with the fact that Mr Hindi was wearing “two hats”, as a property developer and a councillor, which gave the impression that he had preferential access to senior staff
  • Mr Hindi gave councillors a last minute report at the meeting, too late for them to make an informed decision and contravening normal procedure followed by a property developer
  • Complaints about Mr Lampe were not handled properly and breached the local government code of conduct
The report recommended that the council immediately reinstate Mr Lampe and that councillors had formal training in their responsibilities and codes governing meetings, procedures and conduct. It also said that Hurstville Council should review its financial delegations and the amount it spends on legal advice. A spokesperson for Mr Toole said that Hurstville City Council had until March 16 to report to the Minister on its implementation of the report’s recommendations. “Under the Local Government Act, the Minister has the power to order the implementation of the recommendations. Should the council fail to comply, the Minister has a number of options available to him under the Act to address any non-compliance. “While the report into the council has been tabled, that report suggested that Councillor Hindi’s conduct be subject to further scrutiny by the Office of Local Government. “Given that is now occurring, and given the impending report from the council on its implementation of the report’s recommendations, it would be inappropriate for the Minister to engage in speculation concerning the council.” NSW government has proposed a merger between Hurstville and Kogarah Councils but an alternative St George Council has been proposed involving Rockdale, Kogarah and Hurstville Councils.     [post_title] => Hurstville Council reinstates wrongly suspended GM after a year [post_excerpt] => Bitter in-fighting continues among councillors. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 23318 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-10 18:15:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-10 07:15:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23318 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22982 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-02-04 16:43:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-04 05:43:34 [post_content] => myservicensw_opt   New South Wales has come good on its promise to launch its own digital identifier and centralised customer account log-in for online government services, a move that will allow citizens to access services, transactions and payments across multiple agencies from one screen and session. Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Dominic Perrottet on Thursday announced that the “first phase” of the MyServiceNSW online account facility had gone live, with key players the Roads and Maritime and the Office of State Revenue being the initial agencies to plug-in customers. The go-live for the new digital identifier is a watershed moment for the state government because it begins the unification of customer access to all state government services online. That move in turn collapses the legacy of customers being forced to use dozens of individual log-ins and passwords for each agency they deal with. It’s also set to be a major cost saver for councils, now in the unpopular process of being forcibly amalgamated, because the NSW government has previously indicated it has no quibble with local governments in the state also using the service. But it’s not such great news for Canberra however, which has been experiencing its own difficulties with online service delivery. The launch of a new state-based digital identifier potentially competes with plans to expand the Centrelink created myGov online credential across multiple jurisdictions and potentially into the private sector. The revelation that NSW was planning to launch its own digital identifier last year took federal authorities, including the newly launched Digital Transformation Office, by surprise and laid bare significant differences between the states and Canberra in how government issued digital identifiers would be developed. By far the biggest sticking point between Mr Perrottet and the federal myGov credential is the amount of time it is taking to stabilise and extend the digital identifier across jurisdictions. Despite having broadly similar and sometimes almost identical visions for online service delivery, Mr Perrottet and the NSW Government have made it clear they are simply not prepared to wait on Canberra to create a single identifier to serve the state’s citizens, opting to go it alone and be the first to market. “Too often online services for different government agencies require different websites and multiple accounts,” Mr Perrottet said. “But good service means putting the customer at the centre of the experience.” “Our citizens should only have to ‘tell us once’, and that’s what we are aiming for with MyServiceNSW.” https://youtu.be/0Uh3Vd7HqmM Although NSW taking the lead will undoubtedly benefit its citizens, the move runs the risk of recreating a digital version of the infamous ‘rail-gauge’ fiasco between Australia’s states where trains had to stop at the border because of different width tracks. That scenario poses a potential nightmare for citizens because it means they could have to traverse multiple log-ins across federal, state and local government platforms when in reality many of the transactions and services are linked in one way or another – especially in areas surrounding health, welfare property and finance. As Communications Minister, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was adamant duplications should where possible be avoided. The burn for businesses operating across multiple states is even worse if the online landscape for the Australian public sector Balkanises. That’s because they will potentially have to navigate close to a dozen interfaces for compliance and other regulatory requirements governments are trying to automate in the name of cutting red tape. Businesses that have ‘Know-Your-Customer’ regulatory requirements or rely on secure online transaction and identity credentials – particularly banks – have been hoping for years that a single government issued digital identifier will become a reality because it could massively streamline customer enrolment and verification at the same time as wiping out billions of dollars of fraud. They include the ANZ bank that last year openly pushed-back against efforts to create a so-called federated digital identity framework that operates by cross checking credentials issued across multiple sources.Speaking after a presentation at the Gartner Symposium 2015 ANZ’s Chief Technology Officer Drs Patrick Maes was adamant a move to secure digital identities had to happen, but his institution didn’t need to play the role of an identity issuer. “Identity is extremely important. If we want to become a digital bank or if you want to become a digital economy it all starts with identity,” Drs Maes said. “We [ANZ] do not want to be an identity provider; that is not our role as a bank.” Despite the robust discourse, there is still clear potential for Canberra, the states and industry to collaborate on an interoperable national framework for digital identifiers with the DTO, NSW and some banks all known to be open to cooperating. Meanwhile, the NSW Finance Minister remains intent on leading by example. Mr Perrottet said the MyServiceNSW initiative formed part of the pursuit of the Baird Government’s ‘State Priority’ of digitising 70 per cent of government transactions conducted via Service NSW by 2019. [post_title] => NSW launches its own government digital identifier [post_excerpt] => MyServiceNSW isn't waiting for myGov. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-launches-its-own-government-digital-identifier [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-04 20:04:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-04 09:04:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22982 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22847 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-01-27 10:24:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-01-26 23:24:00 [post_content] =>     Trust1   The level of trust you place in others, and the reasons for that trust, are important factors in making for an effective workplace environment, says Dr Marianne Broadbent. In an earlier column I wrote about how Trust is a key part of building great teams. Since that time the whole notion of Trust has taken on even more significance in workplaces, in governments, between governments and citizens, between businesses, amongst politicians and the populace, and of course amongst ourselves, both personally and professionally. In the work that we do, the criticality of Trust – and the importance of building Trust – cannot be over-emphasised. But Trust has a bit of a jelly-like quality – it is hard to really grasp, to define, and to understand its many dimensions. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with Stephen M.R. Covey, and his work The Speed of Trust*, as facilitator at one of his major Australian business commitments. He is son of Stephen R. Covey, author of the well-known and influential 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989. Stephen Covey Jnr ended up leading his father’s business and then the merged entity FranklinCovey, as CEO. Covey makes a strong case that the ability to Trust – and be trusted – changes everything. In essence, where we trust another person, or members of our team, or our boss, or those from another organisation, we are able to get on with things much more quickly. He refers to this as ‘The Speed of Trust’ because it enables us to ‘speed up’ our interactions. We have confidence in the other person with whom we are dealing. We expect them to do the right thing.

Trust has economic value

Trust has economic value in that it is an asset that reduces our interaction time and our transaction costs. When Trust goes up, speed goes up and costs go down. It is a critical factor in the development and success of effective leaders and smart organisations. Lack of trust fosters a climate of suspicion and saps our energy as we start double-guessing situations and often doing ‘workarounds’. As Covey puts it –  ‘Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business’. In our management consultancy work we are often asking candidates or executive participants in leadership advisory work – ‘Who is the best boss you have ever had?’ or ‘What is the best peer team you have ever been part of?’ We are often seeking to understand the sort of work environment in which they really thrive; but the reasons behind their answers tend to be very consistent. We get responses like – ‘We trusted each other to get things done’ or ‘We trusted each other to do the right thing’ or ‘I felt really trusted by others, and I really enjoyed that and gave it everything’. But what is this thing called Trust? We might instinctively know that it is a good thing, but Covey’s real contribution is to elucidate what Trust is, its key components, why they matter, and what you can do about it.

Trust is about Character + Competence

We trust another person when we have confidence in them. That Trust, says Covey, is based other’s perceptions of character and our competence. We can all recall people with whom we have worked who had integrity and good intent, that is ‘character’ in Covey’s terms, but they were not very competent. Thus we could not trust them to get a job done well, and in the way it needed to be done, as it would ourselves or others at risk. At the same time, we have all come across people who had a high level of technical competence, and whose expertise were much valued by their organisation, but they were ‘not trusted’. They might be smart and know a lot about the organisation, the business, or the program or products, but their behaviour was not really consistent with what was required. Perhaps they did not collaborate well, or share information with others, or were not respectful of the work of others. They were competent, but lacking in good intent, and thus lacking in integrity. We could not trust them to do the job properly. As an aside, it is always a very powerful and positive sign when those with good expertise but bad behaviours – and who have been warned and failed to reform -  are exited from an organisation. It can be a turning point reinforcing the expectations and behaviours that will – and will not – be rewarded.

We can grow Trust and we need to nurture it

Covey provides a neat analogy of large tree, a living and growing thing. It has deep roots, large branches and continues to grow. The roots and trunk are about the character of the tree – demonstrating Integrity and Intent. That other ‘hard to define’ word - Integrity – is also simply defined as the congruence between your Intent and your Behaviour. How often have you exclaimed that ‘he just lacks integrity’, knowing this is not a good thing, but not quite being able to make it tangible. The takeaway is that a person of high Integrity is someone who does what they say they are going to do – their Intent is actioned in their behaviour. The upper part of the tree, the branches that produce the fruits or flowers, represent our Competence. Competence is about our Capabilities and our Results. Our talents, skills, knowledge, capacities and abilities go to make up our Capabilities. These provide the foundation on which we can deliver. Results are about our track record or what we have actually achieved, and Results matter to our Credibility. To sum up then: Trust is about Character (Intent + Integrity) and Competence (Capabilities + Results).

Practice the Reciprocity of Trust

While Trust can be described as a very tangible attribute and asset, gaining and giving Trust can remain a challenge. We all know people who are gullible and have trusted too many people; and we know those who are overly suspicious and who trust no-one. A key lesson for me over the years has been to always assume goodwill and good intent on the part of others. If there is a choice between conspiracy and stuff-up, I assume stuff-up every time, and 95 per cent of the time that is the reality. Keep that in mind when you reflect on your own approach to trusting others. Trust is a reciprocal virtue – that is, we need to trust others to get trust in return. In those conversations with candidates and participants I mentioned above, the positivity created by trusting others is a very powerful leadership tool.   *This column draws on the work of Stephen M.R. Covey and his work with Rebecca Merrill, The Speed of Trust: The one thing that changes Everything, NY, Free Press, 2006.   DR MARIANNE BROADBENT IS MANAGING PARTNER WITH THE LEADERSHIP CONSULTANCY, NGS GLOBAL   WWW.NGS-GLOBAL.COM     [post_title] => How trust makes for great places to work [post_excerpt] => Growing and nurturing trust. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-trust-makes-for-great-places-to-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-27 11:00:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-27 00:00:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22847 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22822 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-01-21 09:03:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-01-20 22:03:00 [post_content] => All together   Since 1988, the number of fee-paying international students at universities in NSW has increased 13-fold. Today, one in every five students studying at a university in NSW is an international student. The income generated by these students makes up approximately 17% of the state’s university operating revenues and, in some cases, has become essential to funding a range of other activities around campuses. Of course, Australian universities are not the only attractive destinations for those looking to study abroad. Increasingly, the local tertiary sector has had to compete with universities in the same state, interstate and around the world to maintain its foothold. Pursuing this steady profit stream has, however, thrown into question the academic capabilities of the international students being recruited, the legitimacy of the grades they subsequently receive, the conduct of academics as a result of added pressures and a university’s overall obligations to standards and good governance. In April, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) released its findings into a research project on these and other issues. The paper reveals that some universities in NSW are entering markets where document fraud and cheating on English-language proficiency tests are known to exist and that some are using up to 300 local intermediaries or agents to market to and recruit students, resulting in due diligence and control challenges. This has resulted in a “student capability gap” (a gap between the capability of the student and the academic demands of the course) and pressures on staff within universities in NSW to pass students in order to continue to meet recruitment and budgetary targets – pressures that are conducive to corruption. Although there are no simple solutions to these problems, the Commission has identified 12 corruption prevention initiatives that NSW universities should consider adapting and adopting as appropriate to their organisation, for example:
  • considering the full costs associated with international students of different capabilities when making marketing decisions (that is, understanding profit rather than revenue contributes to a more robust minimum capability standard being established)
  • limiting the number of overseas agents with which the universities work, where possible
  • altering incentive structures applicable to agents in order to encourage the provision of quality students (for example, performance ranking-based payments, payments linked to student progress at various stages, and payments linked to long-term performance of the agent)
  • separating the compliance function from the business development function (for example, moving the admission functions out of international student offices that are responsible for marketing and recruitment and limiting the impact of international student numbers on faculty budgets)
  • assessing risk in markets and using this to develop risk treatments (for example, strengthening due diligence on agents, targeting of specific students, increasing vetting for students from high-risk markets or withdrawing from the market)
  • building on university strengths, where possible, to develop niche international operations capable of attracting higher-capability students.
  • The report, Learning the hard way: managing corruption risks associated with international students at universities in NSW, is available from the ICAC website at www.icac.nsw.gov.au
  By Hon Megan Latham, Commissioner, Independent Commission Against Corruption, New South Wales. West’s CCC gets new chief Julian Bajkowski New South Wales and its Independent Commission Against Corruption might hog the limelight when it comes to exposing the questionable dealings of some of state’s politicians, but the august institution could soon some have competition in generating headlines from across the Nullarbor. After more than a year without a permanent head, the Western Australian government and the state’s Corruption and Crime Commission have finally announced Supreme Court Justice John McKechnie QC will now head the powerful agency tasked with ferreting out graft, kickbacks and abuse of power in law enforcement and the public sector. The length of time finding a suitable and willing candidate to replace Roger Macknay, QC, who quit on 14 April 2014, has underscored the difficulty of the job which had previously spanned across both major crime and corruption to less serious minor misconduct and governance education functions. In what appears to be a substantial concession to the CCC and an acknowledgement of the urgency and resources needed to address higher level malfeasance, WA Premier Colin Barnett and his Attorney General Michael Mischin revealed that minor and less serious casework will be run by the Public Sector Commissioner, along with education. Mr Mischin said Mr McKechnie’s appointment came after “an extensive selection process by a nominating committee presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of the District Court, and a community representative, and had the bipartisan support of the members of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission.” The Barnett government is certainly talking-up its new watchdog’s ability and determination to bite crooks. “Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1999, Justice McKechnie spent more than eight years as the State’s inaugural Director of Public Prosecutions,” the Mr Barnett said. “He has developed a formidable reputation in the investigation and prosecution of crime and will bring to the office considerable experience in the management of an independent statutory authority.” The CCC itself is selling its new head’s focus on cleaning up the state’s police force. Announcing Mr McKechnie’s appointment the CCC said he took over leadership at a time when the organisation was repositioning itself for a “second decade of operation, with a keen focus on serious misconduct and oversight of the Western Australia Police.” In February a CCC investigation led to the conviction of two WA cops for illegally planting tracking a device on the car of one of the men’s partners. The Magistrate in the case said that one of the convicted policemen probably put the tracking device in place as a favour to a mate trying to find out if his partner was cheating on him and rejected sworn evidence that one of the officers was trying to find out who was selling drugs to his partner. Qld councils cold on fraud audit The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has fired back over a sharply critical report on fraud management in the state’s councils issued by the Queensland Audit Office that has called a tougher approach to compel better reporting of losses and record keeping of allegations. The took issue with how accurate the disclosure of fraud is within Queensland councils, saying that “almost two-thirds of councils surveyed (63 per cent) claimed to have had no confirmed cases of fraud over the past five-years” – a figure the Audit Office said was inconsistent with global research. But the chief executive of the LGAQ, Greg Hallam, has defended councils’ performance on managing fraud. “We believe systems councils have in place are largely working in that confirmed fraud cases were detected and dealt with,” Mr Hallam said. “Risk management strategies, increased internal audit function requirements, registers of interest, and disclosure of conflicts of interest and material personal interests, with significant penalties for breaches, are all means by which fraud can be limited and controlled.” The peak body for councils is also pointing to the low value of fraud losses against the backdrop of large expenditure. “The Auditor-General established that councils have reported 324 cases of alleged and proven fraud between July 2009 and November 2014 involving sums totalling $8.6 million. This is against the backdrop of some $36 billion of total expenditure by local governments in this period,” Mr Hallam said. Mr Hallam said there would always be “individuals who attempt to take advantage of the system but there is no evidence of systemic failure requiring more regulatory controls.” Even so, he said the LGAQ will continue to work with the Queensland (state) Government “to ensure local councils can respond effectively to the risks of fraud.” The Audit report found, through a survey of councils it conducted, that local governments in Queensland did not provide a fraud loss value for 58 per cent of their fraud cases. Some 44 per cent of councils indicated they do not have a system to manage their fraud information, the Audit Report said. This story first appeared in Government News magazine June/July 2015.  [post_title] => Tackling tertiary corruption [post_excerpt] => ICAC corruption prevention initiatives. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tackling-tertiary-corruption [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-21 11:35:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-21 00:35:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22822 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22758 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-01-18 11:25:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-01-18 00:25:00 [post_content] => Predstava "Virtualno je stvarno"   Cyberbullying in the Australian public sector is causing stress, reducing job satisfaction and harming productivity, says a new study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The 2015 study – which involved interviews with 600 public servants across local, state and federal government – found that 72 per cent had experienced or witnessed cyberbullying over the last six months, with 74 per cent ranking their workplace as highly stressful. Dr Felicity Lawrence from QUT’s Faculty of Education said the public servants interviewed identified the existence of a “cyber-underground” where a negative online culture had sprung up which allowed some employees get away with freely harassing and bullying others. “Workplace cyberbullying is overt or anonymous person or task-related bullying where other workers or external clients use technology to instantaneously and publically broadcast a comment, video or picture, anywhere and anytime, to embarrass or defame the target,” Dr Lawrence said. “Even one defamatory video, post or comment has the capacity to go viral, and once it’s on the internet it is hard to remove and can damage an employee’s reputation, and potentially their career.” Nearly half of participants reported a negative impact on their work performance and productivity and one-third said it had made them dissatisfied with their job. Dr Lawrence said public servants were often targets for aggressive and bullying emails, YouTube videos or social media posts because they made decisions that sometimes adversely impacted on staff or clients. “Government employees view this online behaviour as more intense than face-to-face bullying as cyberbullying crosses work and home boundaries and can follow them from job to job, state to state, and is difficult to stop or remove from the internet,” said Dr Lawrence. It is not only the incidence of cyberbullying amongst the public servants interviewed that is shocking but the government’s apparent response to it. More than half of those interviewed said their organisation’s anti-bullying strategies were ineffective. Dr Lawrence said traditional workplace bullying was estimated to cost the national economy up to $36 billion each year and that the cost of cyberbullying could be extremely serious. She called on the federal government to formulate anti-cyberbullying legislation. Dr Lawrence said that her research had “significant implications” for employers under their duty of care obligations within the Work Health Safety Act 2011. “One practical solution to mitigate workplace cyberbullying would be to develop federal anti-cyberbullying legislation covering all Australian workplaces,” she said. “Organisations should also be establishing clear policies supported by management along with effective training and education programs to address the issue.” Her study is believed to be the first one into Australian public servants’ experiences of cyberbullying and the impact it can have on those being bullied. [post_title] => Workplace cyberbullying rife in Australia’s public service: study [post_excerpt] => Cyberbullying causes stress, misery and demotivation. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => workplace-cyberbullying-rife-australias-public-service-study [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-19 10:35:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-18 23:35:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22758 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22628 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-01-06 16:42:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-01-06 05:42:51 [post_content] => Ladder to heaven There’s no magic formula to getting promoted as a public sector manager, says the Australian Public Service Commission’s Human Capital Officer Ian Fitzgerald. It’s mostly a matter of just being very good at your job and knowing when to volunteer for higher duties. Marie Sansom puts her foot on the ladder. Ian Fitzgerald is clear about how to ascend the public sector management ladder but it is no easy shortcut that he offers. “The best way to get promoted is to do your current job exceptionally well,” he says. “There’s no point in seeking a more complex role if you’re still in the learning phase or your current role. You’ve got to master the job first.” He warns that people who move jobs too quickly risk never seeing the consequences of their decisions and actions. They also don’t have time to develop someone else to take over their role when they leave. Once you feel you’ve learned everything you can in your role and you feel you are doing well, what next? “Once you’re performing at a high level you’ve got to make it clear to your manager that you’re up for some other projects and other activities outside of what you normally do. Say you already love your job. Earn your rights. All of these are good ways to get promoted,” Mr Fitzgerald says. But he cautions that managers need to be realistic about what taking the next step could mean for them. “More senior roles mean more responsibility for resources, people and outcomes and over a longer term. It means more complexity and ambiguity and so you have to be centred and self-aware to manage that well. As you get more senior you have the opportunity to impact more people.” One trick to developing your capabilities, says Mr Fitzgerald, is to think about the best managers you’ve ever had and compare them to yourself. “If you wouldn’t want to work for yourself you’ve got a problem!” he says. What skills do managers need Asked what capabilities are most in demand in public sector managers, Mr Fitzgerald said it was a combination of the old school basics like managing budgets and staff performance, along with newer skills like digital expertise. He says managers need to look ahead, identify emerging trends and issues; plan a course of action and take their teams along with them, “it’s critical to policy advice and service delivery and makes teams more agile”. There are absolute key management skills in whatever sector you work: managing for high performance, managing change and helping teams engage with risk positively. Workers want managers who know their stuff and get things done. People who are ethical and straightforward and interested in their careers who they trust. Mr Fitzgerald feels that differences between managers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors have been played up in the past. “It’s about aligning strategies, organisational goals, business plans, bringing these strategies to life so individuals and teams can see how their work is connected: that strategic intent,” he says. “It’s about setting clear goals, allocating resources to achieve them, helping people to overcome hurdles and develop their skills and giving performance feedback.” Other critical skills include commercial and procurement skills, program design and IT. “For me, a prerequisite for success is to have really good technical capabilities in the area that you’re responsible for. Manager should be leading and role modelling the way ahead and they should be across the latest evidence or best practice in their area of expertise.” The public sector buzzword ‘contestability’ frequently comes up in contemporary public sector discussions t but Mr Fitzgerald says that you can’t outsource ultimate responsibility for a service. “Procurement is increasingly the idea that there is a mixed market of providers. We should always be open to the best way for services to be delivered, not just the private sector but the not-for-profit. The procurement task is about a healthy and effective working relationship with the provider.”   Differences between the public and private sector But he says there are some critical differences between the public and private sector, one of the main ones being that it is easier to measure success in the private sector by using indicators such as share prices, customer satisfaction and profits or losses. “In the public sector you don’t have any of that. There’s greater responsibility on managers to define short and long-term goals and they have really good evidence systems in place. Public value is much harder to define than economic value.” Defining public value, for example measuring the success of an education project or policy designed to tackle entrenched indigenous disadvantage, demands a long-term view. “You need to keep in perspective the long-term social gains that the government is trying to achieve and I think this is something special to public management. It requires a degree of sophistication in terms of measuring and designing programs. You need to think about evaluation. “Our job is to use scarce public resources as well as we can and that’s where trust and confidence comes from, the effective use of resources.” The APSC funds the materials for a core skills develop program for agencies to use themselves or through an accredited training provider. Mr Fitzgerald says the weakness most commonly identified in public sector managers was the inability to reprioritise work to fit changing needs and budgets. “That’s something that really well practised in the private sector – a company’s survival depends on it and you have to respond to changes in revenue, investment and budgets.” Under Pressure In his opinion, some public sector managers have been too set in their ways and closed to new ways of thinking but budget pressures have galvanised people into action and opened up new ways of thinking and doing things. “I think that we’re feeling the budget pressures now and our response needs to be to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things,” he says. While technical skills are vital, taking the leap into a more senior managerial role will demand a great deal more besides. “Once you make that transition into senior management technical skills are not enough. It’s how you bring the technical skills of many people together, situational awareness, being able to read people, collaboration. The outcome being more important than the emotional battles you might be having.” While some public sector experts have criticised public sector job cuts and redundancies and lamented the loss of corporate memory, skills and experience, Mr Fitzgerald is relatively upbeat about recent events and says that shrinking budgets have exposed incompetent managers. “The reduction in service size has flushed out some of those people out and I think that’s probably healthy. Those who perform well will be recognised and promoted.” Mr Fitzgerald said there hadn’t been a recruitment freeze in the APS but things had been “really, really restricted”. “There has been a significant reduction in the size of the public service. When you don’t have the fat in the system you need to make sure every person is contributing in the best way possible.” The focus should now be on gaps in capability, he says. Postgraduate courses for managers As well as developing your core skills at work, having a coach or mentor and volunteering to act up when you can, courses are a good way to take a breather from your daily work routine, generate new ideas and approach tasks with renewed energy. One way to boost your credentials is to consider doing an MBA. While some MBAs and other postgraduate qualifications are squarely aimed at public sector managers a broader-based MBA is also valuable, says Mr Fitzgerald, particularly because many managers are now pinging between the public and private sectors. “It is useful because of the range of disciplines it covers. Those with financial backgrounds are asked to consider issues of leadership, culture and people management. Those from HR acquire economics, finance and accounting skills,” he says. “For me personally, one of the most beneficial activities was the network learning. People from all backgrounds and sectors had to work together to unpack and solve business problems. Coming from a public sector background previously it enabled me to move into the private sector.”

 Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZOG) has a two-year postgraduate degree of Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) and also runs residential programs for managers building on core relationship, leadership and management skills.

Queensland University of Technology runs a public sector management and emerging leaders program which includes the Graduate Certificate in Business (managing and leading in the public sector), the Graduate Certificate in Business (public sector management) and a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance. There is also an option to do a more specific MBA, such as the Master of Business Administration (Health Management) offered by Tasmania University.

This story first appeared in Government News magazine June/July 2015.   [post_title] => How to get ahead in public sector management [post_excerpt] => Advice from the Australian Public Service Commission. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-get-ahead-in-public-sector-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-17 11:43:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-17 01:43:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22628 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22287 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-25 18:14:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-25 07:14:52 [post_content] => No Care 4 Cyclists     Executives and managers within Australia’s local government sector face significant upheaval over coming years as pressure mounts on their councils to pursue mergers and strategic outsourcing of core services to deal with shrinking funds and contain costs. That’s the turbulent picture painted by a new report from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government that polled 250 council leaders across 176 councils in Australia and New Zealand on the “Changing Landscape” of the sector over the next 10 years. Commissioned by UK based systems and outsourcing company Civica, the report found that “96 per cent of respondents expected to see increased local government service consolidation in the next decade” – though there was far less consensus on how this would occur. “The two biggest camps were those who believed the way forward would be an increased shift towards strategic partnerships to provide services, and those who thought fewer and larger local government areas were the most likely path,” the report said. “Some 32 per cent of local government leaders believed council mergers would be the primary operational response to the new drivers of change. Even amongst those who did not rank amalgamation as the leading characteristic, most still considered it unavoidable to some extent.” Put bluntly, should those expectations play out, the nation’s local government sector could shrink by a third; a scenario already unfolding in New South Wales under that state government’s controversial ‘Fit for the Future’ program. According to the survey, just 4 per cent of respondents “thought that there would be no consolidation in the next ten years.” A major headache for councils engaging in mergers – whether voluntary or forced – is the integration of often incompatible management and reporting software and technology systems. The upsizing of scale for councils is a double-edged sword for companies like report sponsor Civica because while bigger councils can more easily afford their products, existing clients could also potentially be consolidated. Civica also faces stiff competition for local government business in Australia from highly successful local developer Technology One that has grown to become Australia’s largest enterprise software company and retains a strong presence in state government agencies and utilities. How councils select and buy their enterprise management systems and other common software could also soon be on the procurement bargaining table. Last year New South Wales Finance, Services and Property Minister Dominic Perrottet offered to open the state government’s pre-approved procurement panels to local governments, a move that would give councils access to state agencies substantial discounting muscle. Pressure on council workforces is also increasing according to the survey, with paying people remaining one of the most substantial cost factors. “Wages and salaries are amongst the most significant expenses incurred by local governments, with more than 200,000 people employed by local governments across Australia and New Zealand,” the report said. It also noted that local government leaders said that “more flexible working policies and multi-agency teams would be the cornerstone of future operational models” and that “the diversity of roles performed by staff, as well as difficulty upskilling employees were noted as two considerable workforce planning challenges.” The report quotes Gosford City Council chief executive Paul Anderson as saying that councils require more flexibility around working hours. “There’s a broad realisation that councils need to move away from rigid schedules, roles and hours. Councils need to provide more workforce flexibility, allowing employees to work whatever hours they require to get the job done,” the report quotes of Mr Anderson. “This is going to mean removing a lot of internal mental stumbling blocks but ultimately it means providing the community with a more responsive service.” [post_title] => Australian councils face 10 years of mergers and outsourcing [post_excerpt] => “Changing Landscape” survey paints a bleak picture. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-councils-face-10-years-of-mergers-and-outsourcing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-26 18:49:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-26 07:49:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22287 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22263 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-24 15:14:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-24 04:14:04 [post_content] => 57886-Canberra [Breaking Story] Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a trifecta of top public service changes, with the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Michael Thawley and Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Peter Varghese both exiting the bureaucracy. There is growing anticipation and credible but as yet unconfirmed reports that former Treasury chief Dr Martin Parkinson will replace Mr Thawley, whom Mr Turnbull said had expressed a wish “to return to the private sector.” Drew Clarke, who was the Secretary of the Department of Communications under the Abbott government will stay on as Mr Turnbull’s chief of staff having acted in the role after the leadership change. Mr Varghese leaves public service for academia in July 2016 and will become the Chancellor of the University of Queensland. The announcement leaves open three top public service leadership positions, vacancies that are likely to act as a catalyst for more changes as the increasingly popular PM puts his stamp on reforming the bureaucracy through encouragement rather criticism. That change sentiment was on clearly show, with Mr Turnbull saying he was “very pleased that Mr Clarke will bring his APS and policy experience to my Office.” Mr Turnbull paid conspicuous tribute to Mr Thawley. “I am grateful for Michael’s support as my Department Head and I thank him for his leadership of the APS,” Mr Turnbull said. Career diplomat and intelligence chief Peter Varghese’s substantial contribution was also celebrated by the PM. “Mr Varghese has had a distinguished career in Australia’s diplomatic service, with postings in India, Malaysia, Tokyo, Washington and Vienna, and as Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. I congratulate Mr Varghese on this prestigious new appointment,” Mr Turnbull said. Two senior positions which public servants across Canberra will now be watching carefully the wake of the breaking news are that of Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd and Department of Finance Secretary Jane Halton. It is understood that since the replacement of Mr Abbott by Mr Turnbull there has been a concerted effort from the top to reset the dialogue and focus of the public service away from a punitive campaign of cost reduction to boosting productivity and innovation to modernise the public service. Mr Turnbull said new appointments to the vacant positions “will be announced in due course.” [post_title] => PM&C chief Thawley out, Parkinson return still unconfirmed [post_excerpt] => Breaking News [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => turnbull-to-restructure-aps-chiefs-thawley-out-parkinson-returns [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-26 18:49:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-26 07:49:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22263 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22118 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2015-11-11 16:26:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-11 05:26:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_22119" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Holding-Hands NSW councils are agreeing to join together, rather than risk being sacked.[/caption]   NSW councils are running scared and agreeing to merge amid real fears that they will be sacked or forced to merge with their unpopular neighbours. Yesterday (Tuesday), three inner-west Sydney councils agreed to submit a merger proposal: Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville, although all three said they remained “committed to their strong preference to stand alone.” The councils issued a joint statement that said: “In submitting a merger preference the councils seek to avert the threats of possible dismissal, appointment of an administrator in place of democratically elected representatives, and/or forced amalgamations with other councils. “The three councils have received expert legal advice that indicates the state government has the authority to initiate amalgamations without consent of councils, and suspend councils and appoint an administrator during that process. “Any such actions though could be subject to legal challenge. The councils will be ensuring the government’s process complies with all legal requirements.” NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole has already indicated he will accept this merger and the councils will not be placed under administration. The merger the trio want to avoid is that recommended by the Independent Local Government Review Panel (ILGRP) in its 2013 report ‘Revitalising Local Government”, which suggested the creation of an Inner West super council involving six councils, which would also throw Burwood, Canada Bay and Strathfield Councils into the mix. NSW Premier Mike Baird has made no secret of the fact he wants to drastically reduce the state’s 152 local councils and he has given those who have not already submitted merger proposals until November 18 to do so. Of the 139 proposals received by Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), which handed down its findings last month, 87 councils were labelled as not being Fit for the Future, with 60 of these failing to meet the government’s target of ‘scale and capacity’. Dr Bligh Grant, Senior Lecturer at UTS’ Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government (ACELG), said that sacking councils was not a particularly unusual course of action to take in Australia. Dr Grant - who freely admits he is a political scientist, not a lawyer – said the NSW government had the power to sack councils and appoint administrators and that any legal challenge by councils was unlikely to succeed. There have been many instances of forced council amalgamations over the years, for example, the Beattie/Bligh Labor governments’ forced mergers of Queensland councils in 2007-8, which condensed 156 councils into 72 and 32 Aboriginal and Island councils to 14. In 1993 Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett reduced the state’s 210 councils to 78 and councils remained under administration until local government elections two years later. In July 2008 the Northern Territory government merged 53 Community Councils into eight Regional Shires. “Sacking individual councils is a relatively common event across the local government systems in Australia,” Dr Grant – an agnostic on council mergers - said. He said if councils did take the state government to court it had the potential to “roil the courts for a while.” “Placing to one side the legal intricacies we ought to realise two cardinal points: First, the NSW government is a sovereign government in its own right of which local governments are its creation,” he said. “As such, while any legal challenge would no doubt bring out the intricacies of state-local government relations as they exist in law and potentially could be very expensive, the end-game will be that the NSW Government will prevail.” In addition, local government in Australia – unlike other countries – does not rest on a longstanding tradition of community ‘self-rule.’ “In fact, in NSW the colonial and state government struggled to get local communities to provide any services for themselves for a very long time. So we don’t have this tradition in our jurisprudence and it can’t be invoked in any legal challenges to the reform process, like for example, it is in the US under the principle of ‘home rule’ in many states.” Indeed, the ILGRP report recommended limiting the state government’s “currently unfettered right to impose amalgamations and major boundary changes more or less at will.” The report also suggested any amalgamations or major boundary change should be preceded by careful analysis and full community consultation handled by an expert, independent body and that “the Government should not be able to overrule the findings and recommendation of that body without good cause.” But the Greens claim they have legal advice which says Premier Mike Baird cannot sack or suspend councils to force amalgamations. Greens MP David Shoebridge maintains that councils could pursue injunctions and orders through the courts. “Legal advice obtained by the Greens makes it clear that neither the Premier, nor the Minister for Local Government, have secret powers to sack or suspend councils to force amalgamations,” Mr Shoebridge said. “The independent barrister’s advice confirms that the Local Government Act seriously constrains the ability of the government to undertake a political sacking or suspension of councils to appoint tame administrators that agree to amalgamations.” Mr Shoebridge said those councils who jumped ship and “give into the Premier’s bullying” will make the government’s job easier because the amalgamation proposal would then not have to be reviewed by the Boundaries Commission. Now all eyes are on what Mr Baird will do to those councils who continue to defy him and opt to stand alone. The Premier has already pledged to deny up to $25 million of funding per new council through merger incentives, as well as blocking access to cheap loans through TCorp, to those councils that do not meet next week’s deadline for merger proposals. Sacking councils would avoid an unwinnable stoush in the Upper House but merger proposals for those that did not consent would still have to involve a reconvened Boundaries Commission and precipitate a potentially damaging and drawn out public consultation.   Political Backlash Dr Grant said the government could end up paying a high price for its boldness, with Liberals and Nationals liable to suffer at the next state election in 2019. “The political backlash will be felt at the state level: If councils amalgamate – even if they don’t – I think it’s reasonable to expect some political backlash against both the Liberals AND the Nationals in the next State election,” Dr Grant said. “Certainly there are political risks for the state government in this process. For example, following the forced amalgamations of local government in Queensland in 2008 the swing against the incumbent Bligh Labor Government in the state election in 2012 was 15.7 per cent - the largest swing in Australia’s political history. “One way of reading it is that the Baird Government is exercising some political courage.” He said there were rumours that the Nationals were “spitting at the seams” because of it. It doesn’t mean voters will necessarily swing towards Labor. “The electoral ramifications of this process at the state level aren’t predictable. You might get an increase in independent candidates running for the state seats, for example.” “It’s also worth noting the flow-on effect of less people involved in local government for Australia’s three-tiered democracy. Fewer people are exposed to the day-to-day workings of the democratic system as it actually operates and that’s a bad thing.” Local councils are an important training ground for those who wanted to become state or federal politicians. Nevertheless, he cautioned against making the assumption that most of the NSW population cared deeply about council mergers. “One of the things we’ve found through our ongoing “Why Local Government Matters” research project at ACELG is that while amalgamation is hotly contested and it’s very visible this doesn’t necessarily mean that that heat is felt equally across the community.” “The local government sector is very visible and it fuels its own fire. In a sense this is perfectly understandable: people closest to local government – those with jobs and political positions – have more to lose. “Not everyone cares truly, madly, deeply about local government, believe it or not.” He said that a range of research, including ACELG’s ‘Why Local Government Matters’ work and the recent Constitutional Values Survey undertaken by Griffith University, had suggested that people identified with their local area but not necessarily with their local council. The 2013 ILGRP report appears to agree with this research. “Experience in other states confirms the finding that for most people local government reform is not a ‘make or break’ issue, and that after a relatively brief settling in period new arrangements are widely accepted,” said the report. Of course, one of the biggest tragedies for NSW councils is their other, very real, concerns have been swamped by discussions on amalgamation. Issues such as rate capping, fixing the infrastructure backlog, grant distribution, reducing compliance burdens, establishing joint organisations, training for councillors, cost-shifting between levels of government have all been completely subsumed in the fires of the forced merger debate. [post_title] => NSW council sackings threat real: local government expert [post_excerpt] => Three Sydney councils capitulate and agree to merge. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-council-sackings-threat-real-local-government-expert [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-12 17:46:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-12 06:46:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22118 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22098 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-10 11:22:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-10 00:22:06 [post_content] => MasterCard credit card   Federal government agencies in Australia could easily shave $150 million a year from their non-strategic purchasing costs by shifting from clunky, paper-based purchase orders that frustrate suppliers to virtualised credit card transactions. That’s the strong message on savings that senior government financial and procurement managers – and their ministers – are getting as global financial giants Citi and MasterCard begin to overtly target public sector organisations here as a core growth market for outbound payments. Just a few years ago the government payments market used to be a sleepy backwater in terms of new products and competition for business. But the swift disruption and innovation that brought payments online in the commercial world is now hitting government where no incumbent remains safe. Citi and MasterCard this week jetted their public sector top brass into Australia to personally press the flesh with policymakers and senior public servants across jurisdictions at a closed room seminar and workshop in Canberra to spell out how their new and enhanced digital payments capabilities can save big bucks in the back office. Australia might be a small market for the global money machines, but a raft of recent policy shifts here that control payments to suppliers to government have made agencies here sought-after trophy clients. One senior executive leading the charge to shift public sector spending onto charge cards in Australia is Julie A. Monaco, Citi’s Global head of Public Sector who’s been repeatedly named on the American Banker’s List of “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance”. “Government’s around the world have been trying to figure out how to cut spending in a way that’s going to free up financing for a lot of strategic investments, a lot of it infrastructure related,” Ms Monaco told Government News. “Three years ago if I ever tried to talk about a commercial card program with the Minister for Finance their eyes would just glaze over. They are [now] willing to have that conversation.” “We have seen other governments sharing best practices, setting up shared service centres, centralised procurement …and centralised administration of their procurement expenses that enables them to take advantage of what a procurement card program can offer them,” Ms Monaco says. Of course corporate credit and government charge cards have been around for decades, with travel, accommodation and entertainment (T&E) spending being a staple purchase because hotels and airlines simply demand money up front whether or not you work for the government. What’s changing very quickly is that the likes of MasterCard and Citi are now actively pursuing the myriad of other government purchasing activity that happens in the sub-$1 million market, purchasing that can range from paying contractor invoices to schools buying software and computers from approved supplier panels. There have also been procurement rule changes – most notably in New South Wales followed by Canberra – that are designed to help small and medium businesses by letting them dictate payment by credit card. Suppliers can now often charge back the cost of accepting card payments to government clients without penalty or prejudice, thus removing the so-called ‘cost of acceptance’ road block. That means government agencies will need more card products, a potential bonanza for banks and card schemes. The core sell to government from Citi and MasterCard down under is that by using their latest generation of card products, agencies and their financial managers get much deeper visibility over how spending occurs and can then police it far more thoroughly by applying controls that can be easily customised and automated. That’s because the rich data that banks like Citi and schemes like MasterCard collect on card transactions can now be ported directly into government financials software like SAP and Oracle – often with detail down to the type of product purchase and spending authorisation that might otherwise have to be manually entered. For transactions initiated using so-called ‘virtual’ card numbers – a single use only sequence of digits that proxies for a plastic card – payments can even be restricted down to the level of the merchant, location, time of day and product category. Those kinds of guard rails let financial services companies take aim another pet peeve of the public service, the high manual labour cost and administrative barriers that unwieldy and disparate procurement and purchasing systems create for what should be straight forward transactions. MasterCard and Citi reckon they can up the financial discipline and ease the fiscal pain. “You are reducing the cost of processing a purchase order and invoice and automating that,” Ms Monaco says, adding that there are serious advantages to faster payments to suppliers. “The major benefit to the government is that you have a way to control spending and put limits at an individual and department level and the information that comes off the back of the card is provides complete transparency of how that money is being spent, Ms Monaco says. “That data allows you to understand across many agencies across government how you are spending money with certain vendors. You can aggregate that information to get purchasing power and get better pricing.” Steve Shirley, MasterCard’s Senior Director for Public Sector for the UK and Ireland argues that it’s imperative to get the settings right at the top, so that the benefits can flow across agencies and jurisdictions. “It’s very important that what happens centrally can be replicated across the wider public sector,” Mr Shirley says. “In many markets central government hasn’t necessarily got complete control over spend.” MasterCard’s Global Head of Government Procurement, Craig Driver, sees big opportunities for governments that are digitising and going down the ‘smart cities’ route to return some economic value to new and smaller businesses by improving the way they buy. “Often small and medium businesses choose not to provide to the government … based on the amount of time it takes for them to be paid. Often times they would go out of business if they were to rely upon government remitting payment to them.” Mr Driver contends that as solutions like virtual card numbers and digital payments in general take off, they help stimulate smaller businesses and economic growth which Mr Driver says is a function of financial inclusion. “Across the digital payments spectrum in a city, part of what makes a city smart is city officials being able to procure from local businesses   but also citizens being able to remit payments for services whether they are taxes, fines, fees etc,” Mr Driver says. “About 50 per cent of the world’s population are currently housed in the city states, but by the year 2050 it’s going to be close to 80 per cent.” Like Citi, it’s clear that MasterCard is now intent on persuading as many governments as consumers to use their digital products   before someone else’s fills the space. [post_title] => MasterCard and Citi want government to pay [post_excerpt] => Virtual cards to ease procurement pain. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mastercard-and-citi-want-government-to-pay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-10 16:31:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-10 05:31:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22098 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26682 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-28 11:15:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-28 00:15:41 [post_content] =>     Local government experts are predicting a serious shortfall in skilled staff within ten years as Gen Y’s shun local councils and Baby Boomers clinging on until retirement start to fall off their perches. A four-year benchmarking survey led by Local Government Professional Australia, NSW involving 135 NSW, Western Australian and New Zealand councils, found that while council workforces are ageing they are finding it hard to attract and retain younger people, especially Gen Y’s. Councils analysed their own performance on a range of indicators, including service provision, finance and operations, risk management, assets and leadership but it was the makeup of local council workforces that set alarm bells ringing. Gen Y’s are woefully underrepresented in councils and they are also much more likely to quit within a year when they do get local government jobs. The situation is most acute in NSW. CEO of LG Professionals, NSW Annalisa Haskell predicted a staffing crisis within a decade if the generation gap was not addressed. “You’re looking at a major, major issue. We won’t be able to do the work in the future,” Ms Haskell said. “Due to a uniquely old age profile quite at odds with the Australian working population, NSW local government is failing to significantly attract and retain new staff, especially Gen Y, who are twice as likely to leave a council than other generations,” she said. She said the battle over forced council mergers in NSW had also sapped the sector’s energy and pulled the focus away from what was arguably a much more serious issue: staffing. “We are having the wrong conversation. We need to move from the structure debate of mergers to understanding why local government is not positioned as a vibrant place to work compared to other Australian sectors, nor the place to invest in a career.” In NSW councils, Gen Y’s represent about 40 per cent of the Australian working population in 2016 but they only make up 22 per cent of NSW council workforces. In WA it is 26 per cent and in New Zealand Gen Y’s make up 28 per cent of the council workforce. While Baby Boomers are sticking around for decades and hoarding their leave, particularly in NSW, Gen Y’s that do start working for councils often don’t stay long.   In NSW, 19 per cent of Gen Y left within a year, compared with a 9.9 per cent turnover of all staff. It was higher in WA, where one in five Gen Y’s quit within a year, but the all staff turnover was also higher, at 13.8 per cent so the gap was less.  Meanwhile, Baby Boomers represent 35 per cent of the Australian working age population in 2016 but 44 per cent of NSW council staff. In contrast, New Zealand does not have a problem with staff turnover, attracts more Gen Y’s and does a much better job at attracting women to local government, particularly at supervisory level or above. Women represent 57 per cent of new starters in New Zealand, compared with 50 per cent in WA and 43 per cent in NSW. Why is Gen Y turning away from councils? Ms Haskell says that local government in NSW has a serious image problem and Gen Y’s viewed it as staid, slow and technologically backward. Council jobs also seemed to lack economic prestige. “The sector isn’t appealing to Gen Y. They like the experience to be good,” Ms Haskell said. “Councils are by nature conservative and regulation bound and [generally] not very high tech. They are driven by compliance and the regulatory point of view.” She said Gen Y were likely to ask why things were not instant and people not engaged. They were digital natives too.  “The problems we have are here now and will take time to fix - it is most apparent that we need to better promote local government as a compelling career sector,” she said. The falling numbers of Gen Y girls taking subjects such as maths and sciences had also been felt in certain areas of council work, such as engineering and environmental jobs, which were often quite specialised. Baby Boomers entrenched in their jobs meant there was an older leadership, sometimes at odds with Gen Y’s, and no obvious stepping stones for younger people. “There is a generational split. The leadership is old and it’s not moving. Gen Y’s are likely to ask: ‘where is my career path and is this really me?’ ” Mergers may also have been partly responsible for Baby Boomers staying in their jobs and accruing leave – a real liability for councils – because of the uncertainty of job losses generated by amalgamations. In contrast, New Zealand’s councils had little leave on the balance sheet. No Plan B Worrying, Ms Haskell said that the majority of councils had no succession planning in place. Rather than training Gen X and Gen Y to step up when senior staff retired, corporate memory walked out the door when Boomers left. Only 13 per cent of NSW councils had proper succession planning in place in 2016, a drop from 20 per cent the previous year. “With the Baby Boomers it’s all in their head and they’ve been the [council’s] anchor point. They haven’t got a succession plan ready. I’m surprised,” she said. GMs sometimes had to quit suddenly because of serious health issues or accidents and external managers were parachuted into the role temporarily, rather than moving somebody into the role in-house. Many councils did not have a deputy general manager, for example. Ms Haskell said: “[We’re] dependent as a sector because of the nature of politics: ‘no-one else can do it except the GM’. That’s a real gap and we have to take responsibility.” What can be done? Ms Haskell said that encouraging Gen Y’s to network online and to share their ideas and experiences and to lead on certain issues would help. Councils also needed to change the way they worked, connected and communicated. For example, making customer experience central and working back and supporting staff to deliver on this. “Some councils are trying to get there but they’re in the minority. Gen Y’s have to drive it themselves,” she said. Councils could check in with Gen Y recruits at the three-month stage and ask them about their experiences and perceptions anonymously and exit interviews were useful to find out what had gone wrong and how it could be fixed. She said the sector needed to work together to motive people and share solutions but the threat of council mergers had hampered this spirit over the last three years and pulled councils apart, with many going into lockdown and survival mode. Succession planning had to be faced up to and people mentored and trained to take over. So what is New Zealand doing right? Ms Haskell said the Kiwis were bringing in new people from non-government sectors and attracting management skills externally. “[There are] more women in senior positions all the way up than in Australia.” “In NSW, we appear to attract less [outside] talent to the sector and less from managerial roles that can make a difference culturally.” New Zealand had also mounted a successful advertising campaign to attract young people to the sector. The Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program survey, conducted in partnership with PwC, also involved nine merged NSW councils – previously 22 individual councils – and should help give merged councils a picture of their performance before and after mergers.  PwC Partner Stuart Shinfield praised the participating councils and said CEOs and General Managers ‘have had to lay themselves bare’. “The heroes in this are the managers of the vast number of councils involved,” Mr Shinfield said. “No-one told them they had to drill-down like this – they took the front foot and said ‘Let’s do this’, whereas in the commercial sector this high-level of analytical review usually only happens when someone has been given a directive.” [post_title] => Gen Y’s shun local councils: Massive skill gap predicted in a decade [post_excerpt] => Baby Boomers won't budge. 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Management