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Proposed Council restructure seeks an efficient and sustainable future

Gladstone Regional Council seeks to transform its organisational structure to save an expected $16.7 million over three years and better serve the community now and into the future.

Gladstone Regional Council CEO, Roslyn Baker said a proposed structure was being shared with employees for feedback before adoption as part of its consultative process.

“The development of the new structure was informed by the input and involvement of our people, over 70 people in 7 workshops, who told us we needed to be more efficient, effective and collaborative in our deliveries,” she said.

“It is being opened to their feedback as a final check that it will support those improvements and help Council to be more agile in adapting to community needs.”

Ms Baker said shifts in focus enabled Council to include in its structure functions dedicated to:

• Increasing the instances customer queries are resolved in the first contact

• Making it easier for businesses to tender for Council work

• Centralising works planning across parks, roads, water and sewerage to better coordinate deliveries and resources

• Overarching management of $2.2 billion of assets, to drive energy efficiencies, reduce maintenance and life-cycle costs, and investigate ways to diversify revenue streams from its assets through technologies like converting waste to energy

• Increasing Council’s understanding of and engagement with the community

• Developing the talent of Council’s existing workforce • Strategic grants sourcing, to increase external funding for projects that are identified as priorities for our community

• Understanding and forecasting the needs of community

• Investigating innovations and technology that can increase efficiencies, savings and customer convenience

Ms Baker said the structure also reduced the organisation’s layers to four, in most cases, five in the operational areas, “bringing workers on the ground closer to the people leading them”.

“We are diminishing the layers of bureaucracy that currently exist in our business, making it easier for our employees to undertake their work, and ultimately easier for the community to do business with us.

“Council’s current structure and model restricts us from being cost-competitive – so much so that in some areas we are not commercially viable and take significantly longer to undertake tasks in-house than contracting work externally."

One of the driving factors for the organisation wide change was to not only achieve long-term financial sustainability, but to also future-proof jobs by bringing work back to Council where this made sense.

“We want to make it easy for our customers and community to deal with. We are very conscious of cost of living pressures and the need for our services to be affordable,” Ms Baker said.

The proposed restructure will deliver an estimated three-year saving of $16.7 million, achievable through structural changes, reducing contracted work and closing vacant positions.

“These savings are in addition to the savings we expect to find through the structure’s focus on grant-sourcing, excellence in asset management and process improvements,” Ms Baker said.

GRC’s CEO said Council’s shift in focus meant 113 of Council’s current positions and 33 vacant positions were not in the proposed future structure but strongly encouraged affected staff to apply for the structure’s 127 new positions.

“The proposed new structure, with its increased focus on customer service, responsible asset management, grants sourcing and finding new technologies and efficiencies, proposes many new opportunities for our people to apply their skills, abilities and passion to a different and exciting future at Council,” she said.

“We have an absolute commitment to our existing workforce to provide opportunity and growth, and all vacant roles will be offered internally prior to any external recruitment.

“The instigation of change is often a challenging process, but Council has a responsibility to ensure financial sustainability and provide a competitive level of service that meets the needs of its community now and into the future.

“If we’re efficient the community benefits, if we’re inefficient the community pays.”

Council expects to implement the final structure by July, which will complete its organisation design project which commenced with the introduction of a new executive layer earlier this year.

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