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Shoalhaven City Council adopts new organisational structure

Shoalhaven City Council has adopted a new organisational structure as part of a raft of new cost saving initiatives adopted by the organisation.

Council recently engaged the services of management consulting practice, Blackadder Associates to undertake an organisational review.

The review was undertaken as Council looks at ways to make a five percent saving on operational costs.

Council has received and considered the report provided by the consultants and has acted upon the recommendations.

As part of these recommendations, a Transformation Task Force consisting of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, General Manager and a consultant has been established to implement the report and recommendations.

The Task Force will have an overarching role to prioritise tasks and monitor progress.

As part of the organisational review, Council has reduced the current six group structure to four -

• Finance and Corporate Services
• Development and Environment
• Works and Operations
• Shoalhaven Water

With the previous roles of the Directors undertaking significant change under this revised structure, Council is currently in the process of creating new job descriptions for these positions.

Other than the Director of Shoalhaven Water, it is anticipated that the other three new positions will be significantly different to those existing and hence will trigger a need for an open recruitment process.

Council is aiming to have the new Director positions put in place by 1 June 2013 subject to the recruitment process.

Given the reduction in the number of groups there will be less Personal Assistant and Section Manager positions available under the new structure.

Finalising these roles will be one of the highest priorities for the Transformation team and will involve further consultation with staff.

Provisions of the Local Government (State) Award will apply in respect of consultation with the consultative committee, affected staff and their unions. This will lead to a recruitment process or lateral transfer of existing staff to new positions.

Redundancies will be the last resort if changes are not able to be made utilising existing vacancies, general staff turnover or retirements.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Joanna Gash said the organisational review had been undertaken in a bid to both streamline services and produce ongoing cost savings.

“Prior to the election the community told us they wanted a leaner and meaner Council, to get the organisation’s finances in place and to undertake the backlog of capital works” said Clr Gash.

“This is exactly what we are doing after having engaged an independent consultant to totally transform the way Council was operating.

“These changes are about positioning ourselves for the future and ensuring Council’s long term financial sustainability.”

“Council is also looking at ways to spend ratepayer’s money more effectively while also providing the community with the services they expect.”

Shoalhaven City Council General Manager, Russ Pigg said the restructure was being undertaken to ensure the organisation remained able to deliver a high level of services to the local community.

“All levels of government are undertaking cost reduction measures after being faced with deficit budgets,” said Mr Pigg.

“Shoalhaven City Council is not alone in facing a situation in which increasing expenditure is greater than the organisation’s revenue.

“It is this scenario that has seen Council undertake an organisational restructure in order to reorganise and streamline the delivery of services while ensuring a higher level of financial sustainability.”

“The operational savings reform initiatives Council has implemented have been designed to deliver annual net savings of $6.5 million.”

“While this may not be achievable within the first year, I’m extremely optimistic of reaching these saving targets by years two or three.”

As part of the recommendations adopted by Council the Transformation Task Force will prioritise a number of other actions including -
• Complete organisational structure for each group below Section Manager level
• Review procurement practices
• Consider delivery methods and potential outsourcing
• Review motor vehicle fleet
• Undertake various service reviews
• Consider shared services opportunities
• Review fees and charges

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