Bass Coast CEO Ali Wastie predicted no local job losses as four Gippsland councils this week embarked on the first step of a shared service model.
The State Government this week allocated $4.5 million from its Rural Councils Transformation Program to the Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Wellington and East Gippsland councils to integrate their electronic records and document management systems.
Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek said the shared services model was expected to result in more than $7 million in productivity benefits and reduced costs for the four councils over five years.
However, Bass Coast CEO Ali Wastie told the Post today a stand-alone unit was not envisaged at this stage as records were largely digital.
She said with the long lead-in time and an ageing work force, the council expects to manage the transformation with no forced redundancies.
Now that funding has been secured, CEOs of the four councils will meet this month to discuss how the project will proceed.
Ms Wastie said it would be up to each council to determine which administrative services it wanted to merge and which should remain in-house.
She said Bass Coast wanted to retain learning and development in house, because of the high level capability within the council, but it could make financial sense to outsource other functions such as payroll.
“Is there any community benefit to ensuring the payroll service remains in council when it can be shared? Probably not. That’s the sort of test we do when are deciding which services are in and which services are out.”
She expects savings to start flowing from the first project in about a year’s time.
“Councils are being asked to do more with less. We continually have to find new and innovative ways of doing things. Our community want us to do it.
“My role as CEO is to manage the transition as smoothly as possible and to make sure that we get a really good outcome.
“The long lead time and the oversight of the four CEOs sets it up to be very well managed in terms of getting the outcomes while minimising job losses to the community. That’s very critical not only to Bass Coast but to the whole of Gippsland.”
July 26, 2018: 50 jobs at risk as council seeks to cut costs