Baby Boomers won’t budge.
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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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gen-ys-shun-local-councils-massive-skill-gap-predicted-decade [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-29 10:22:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-28 23:22:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26682 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26270 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-02-17 10:38:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-16 23:38:57 [post_content] =>By Deborah Jackson, Editor National Liquor News A proposal to ban alcohol advertising on public transport in Western Australia has been slammed by the alcohol industry. The Western Australia Labor party has announced that a future Labor Government would honour current advertising contracts but would ban all new advertising of alcohol-related products on public transport. It is understood that the Liberal-led Government does not support a ban because advertising on public transport generates about $7 million in revenue per year of which about 10 per cent is generated through alcohol-related advertising, and all advertising on public assets must comply with industry advertising standards, which is the case in WA. Fergus Taylor, the Executive Director of Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) said that the Labor Government's stance is poorly thought out and is not supported by credible research or data. “This is a poor policy decision taken on the run without industry consultation and isn’t even supported by official Government data,” Taylor said. “The government has made a sensible decision to reject this proposal after a more thorough assessment of the evidence. Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout. [post_title] => Proposed booze advertising ban on WA public transport [post_excerpt] => But $7m revenue at stake. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => booze-ban-wa-public-transport [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-17 11:39:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-17 00:39:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26270 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23243 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 15:22:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:22:01 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23264" align="alignnone" width="400"] Navigating recruitment freezes.[/caption] External recruitment freezes have become a harsh reality of life for Australian public servants as governments seek to contain wages and make savings, but is it possible to turn a no-hire zone into something positive? The usual rules are that when a freeze is on, jobs can only be filled internally, although there are often exemptions such as some frontline staff, fixed-term positions linked to specific projects and critical or revenue-raising positions that cannot be filled internally. Responses to the hiring ban can include staff acting up or people being transferred or seconded, or the dreaded: hiring contractors. The painful Australian Public Service hiring freeze began late in 2013 and lasted until mid-2015, after more than 10,000 jobs were shed. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced a six-month halt to external recruitment in December last year, after forecasting a $3.1 billion hole in the state’s finances by the end of June 2016. Karen Evans, Managing Director of talent management company Acendre, which has many public service clients, spoke to Government News about how to survive and thrive when non-essential hiring shuts down. On paper a hiring freeze might appear grim and morale sapping but it can give also managers a chance to take stock of the people and range of skills that they have and to concentrate on training, developing and promoting them. It can also force people to think more strategically and critically about how efficiently they are working and to streamline processes. Of course, it may also leave staff feeling overworked or fearful about losing their jobs in the future. Ms Evans said human resources had an “absolutely critical role” to play - even in the short term - to support staff, explain the changes and manage them through it. “HR needs to get itself geared up to support their organisation, particularly initially,” she said. “A lot of managers will be wanting to fill critical roles where they may not be able to. How does HR support them? “There are changes but there are also huge opportunities with something like this. It’s a chance to think outside the box,” Ms Evans said. “Personally, I would be saying don’t try to sit tight and just wait it out.” She suggested managers looked at the roles and skills of the staff that they do have and list the skills and roles needed within the organisation. “Put development plans in place to revise or change roles that you actually need.” The focus should then be on upskilling staff and giving them opportunities to take on different responsibilities, perform new tasks or accept leadership roles in order to drive their enthusiasm. “People can get a lot of up and cross-skilling and their engagement really lifts. Put development plans in place for individuals. [Ask] can you merge or upskill roles?” There is also the chance to work more closely with other departments and agencies and collaborate on projects or even share staff. For example, the federal government's hiring freeze, it set up a business centre made up of part-time staff and underused staff and funnelled excess work from various teams. Ms Evans said it was also important to look at staff ready to redeploy and think about how to get them working in another department or agency. It can also be useful to seek advice from other departments or the same department at a different level of government that have already been through a hiring freeze. Brisbane City Council reduced the number of contracts it had and moved functions in-house. “It was a huge saving and it really drove engagement from people within the organisation, being able to do different things and increase their capabilities. It also helped teams work together in a more effective way,” she said. Despite the opportunities available, there is no point pretending that everyone will be happy about the freeze. It could lower morale, hit productivity or lead to employees walking out the door. The key to preventing this situation is to engage staff early on, explain what the changes might mean to them and come up with a plan to mitigate the more harmful effects, said Ms Evans. "Use this as an opportunity because I do think it is one.” [post_title] => Best of 2016: How to survive and thrive under a public sector hiring freeze [post_excerpt] => Upskill, collaborate, communicate. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-survive-and-thrive-under-a-public-sector-hiring-freeze [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 15:39:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:39:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25369 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-25 11:10:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:10:26 [post_content] => here. This story first appeared in C&I Week. [post_title] => BP renews Kwinana Refinery agreement with WA government [post_excerpt] => Another 30 years. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bp-renews-kwinana-refinery-agreement-wa-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-18 10:15:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-17 23:15:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25369 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24647 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-08-09 10:09:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-09 00:09:24 [post_content] => A mentoring program that helps women working in remote areas in traditionally testosterone-fuelled industries like mining and construction is gaining traction. The federal government announced a further $490,000 this week for the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) e-mentoring program. The e-Mentoring program, an initiative of the Australian Mines and Metal’s Association (AMMA), is designed to attract and retain women in the resource, allied and construction industries by overcoming some of the disadvantages of living and working in remote regions, working irregular hours and low female representation. The money will fund an additional 100 places, some of this targeting indigenous women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The nine-month program is individually tailored and works using email, chat, Skpe, phone as well as discussion forums. Mentors can be male or female, provided they have experience in resource and allied industries or construction. Training webinars guide mentees and mentors during the program and there is ongoing advice and evaluation. Lake Vermont coal mine, QLD. The program’s is to help women in these industries set goals and how to achieve them, plan their careers, develop problem solving skills and boost confidence. The federal Minister for Women Michaelia Cash announced the funding at the AMMA National Conference in Perth last week. Government funding has already supported the program to successfully match 100 pairs of mentors and mentees between 2014 and 2016. Cash said the government was committed to a range of private sector initiatives that helped women succeed in traditionally male dominated roles and industries. “The government is dedicated to encouraging women to take up positions in industries with a prevalence of men,” Cash said. “We must challenge stereotypical industries and encourage women to enter a career that is not traditionally dominated by their gender. “To truly empower women’s workforce choices, we must remove barriers preventing women entering and succeeding in traditionally male dominated industries, such as the resource industry. [post_title] => Support for women working remotely in blokey industries [post_excerpt] => eMentoring for success. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cash-for-women-working-in-remotely-blokey-industries [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-09 10:39:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-09 00:39:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24647 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24375 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-07-08 12:15:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-08 02:15:48 [post_content] => The ACT looks set to follow NSW Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing but other states and territories are holding out. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr called the Special Commission of Inquiry’s report “damning” and added “there is no future for this industry in the ACT.” Mr Barr said a significant number of trainers that raced in Canberra were based in NSW. “It is untenable for the ACT Government to continue allowing and financially supporting the practice of greyhound racing. “The government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the sort of behaviour and cruelty uncovered by the Special Commission of Inquiry.” The reckoning may come swiftly for greyhound racing in the territory as the ACT government's MOU with the ACT racing industry is up for review in mid-2017. Mr Baird announced the ban after receiving a horrifying report into the state’s greyhound industry by high court judge Michael McHugh. The report found that up to 70,000 healthy dogs were exterminated over a period of 12 years because they were not considered to be fast enough and a further 136 dogs died after suffering “catastrophic” injuries during races. Live baiting, where a possum, rabbit or piglet is used to train a dog was “widespread” and there was evidence of doping, with dogs being fed steroids, caffeine and amphetamines. Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) was found guilty of routinely covering up the deaths and injuries of dogs and giving a free pass to live-baiting. Animal Welfare League CEO Andrew Maso told the ABC said he had "no doubt" other states would take their cue from NSW and ban greyhound racing. "What we've seen in the United States is that states, one by one, have been banning greyhound racing over there and there's now only a handful of states that have greyhound racing," he said. "I've got no doubt that's exactly what's going to happen in Australia." But his prediction does not appear to be quite so certain of being fulfilled. Victoria has no plans to outlaw greyhound racing, despite several inquiries and the practice of live-baiting being uncovered. Greyhound Racing Victoria has said it is making every effort to clean up the sport by acting on a clutch of recommendations from two separate inquiries. South Australia won’t be implementing a ban either, with Sports Minister Leon Bignell claiming greyhound racing in his state was clean and insisting there were no evidence of cruelty or corruption. Joining the ranks of refusers are Queensland and Western Australia. Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace said the industry was on its final warning but she disappointed animal welfare groups by adding that the industry was capable of redemption so a ban could be avoided. Greyhounds WA chief David Hobbs said there were only three racing tracks in the state, compared with NSW’s 29, and argued there was much better oversight of the industry in WA. "Wrongly, Western Australia has, to a degree, been tarnished with a very broad brush with what's happened on the east coast," Mr Hobbs told news.com. "We've worked very hard to get the industry where it is today, we have a very clean industry.” Over in Western Australia, a Racing and Wagering WA inquiry did not uncover any significant evidence of malpractice and found no evidence of live bating being used as a training technique. Tasmanian greyhound trainers are awaiting the results of a joint select committee inquiry into the industry. The Tasmanian government has ruled out rushing to ban greyhound racing on the back of the NSW boycott. Meanwhile, greyhound adoption agencies are calling for more funding amid fears they will be swamped by retired dogs or that there will be a mass slaughter of dogs, possibly done overseas, in the run up to the ban kicking in next year. [post_title] => ACT chases greyhound racing ban, other states unrepentant [post_excerpt] => Reaction to NSW ban. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => act-chases-greyhound-racing-ban-states-unrepentant [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-08 12:15:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-08 02:15:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24375 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => 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] => 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
- What are the common problems witnessed in public sector delivery of ICT goods and services?
- What elements represent best practice in ICT delivery?
- How do we best measure or define success in ICT delivery?
- What are the latest developments (domestic or international), in the area of government ICT systems?
- What jurisdictions (domestic or international) have adopted the latest developments in government ICT systems that have demonstrably reduced the cost, and improved the delivery, of government services?
- Could such systems be incorporated into Western Australia? If so, what factors need to be taken into account to ensure successful implementation?
- Implementing policies that drive and guide government adoption of new service delivery models and technologies, such as cloud computing.
- Stimulating and developing local industry through universities, start-ups and small to medium enterprises.
- Creating online ‘one stop shop’ portals to rationalise and simplify government services.
- Centralisation and consolidation strategies to reduce costs such as purpose built government data centres.
- Revisiting and redeveloping ICT procurement strategies and frameworks.
- Refreshing the existing State CCTV Register to provide better functionality and operability for those CCTV owners who want to voluntarily provide information about CCTV cameras facing public areas.
- Provide criteria and guidelines and improve information available for public and private owners of CCTV systems to ensure systems are fit-for-purpose.
- Providing direct connection between owners of CCTV cameras facing public spaces to enable WA Police to increase responsiveness to critical incidents.
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