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|Editions > 2000 > July > Green||Monday May 20, 2013 - Melbourne Time: 04:01:17|
A better way for Gosnells
As we enter the 21st century, the City of Gosnells is on course to create a new and better way of life for residents and visitors. Approximately 17 kilometres south east from the centre of Perth's CBD, Gosnells sits on the fringe of suburbia with large areas still to be developed.
First settled in 1829, it retains a number of heritage buildings and extensive parks and bushland.
With over 40 percent of its area earmarked for future development, Council is determined that this development will meet community needs and aspirations for the future. In addition, it is enhancing established areas in line with community wishes.
Chief Executive Officer, Dr Simon Holtby, said he was attracted to Gosnells Council because he saw it as an organisation that wanted to bring about positive change and demonstrated leadership.
Upon his arrival, the City carried out an innovative major community survey of residents to determine their preferences for the City's future direction. Council now has a strategic plan to implement those wishes and introduced major organisational change to achieve them.
In surveying its residents, Gosnells used the survey tool SIMALTO (Simultaneous Multi Attribute Level Trade Off). This, Simon Holtby explained, enabled residents to make trade off decisions between various levels of service and what they were prepared to pay for them.
"This makes it very easy for people to prioritise their service wants," he said.
"The outcome is that you find out not only what people believe is important, but what they are prepared to pay more for."
The results showed that residents were primarily concerned about and prepared to pay more for personal safety and recycling.
Introducing a recycling regime was relatively easy, but bringing about a safer and more liveable community involved a more complex and substantive strategy.
The City adopted a strategic plan to better direct investment and service delivery. This included the introduction of the SafeCity program and the employment of a City Designer to address issues of the built environment.
The SafeCity program is a unique and multifaceted approach which aims to address and reduce crime at a local level. Two of its key components, Space Syntax analysis and the Safer Seniors strategy, are explained later in this feature.
Internal communication was improved via strategies such as the introduction of a Team Brief Programme, a Staff Suggestion Scheme and the introduction of quarterly presentations from the CEO. Staff are actively encouraged to suggest beneficial changes. These are then passed on to Directors for consideration.
"Some of these have been outstanding," Simon Holtby said, "They include the award winning innovation of converting diesel trucks to gas power, and a technique to reuse road material".
"Both these ideas and others have saved the City significant sums of money."
Ideas which are adopted earn a certificate of appreciation for the contribution they make.
All Directors and the Chief Executive Officer spend at least an hour each month working on counters.
"You cannot run an organisation if you do not know where the staff or customers are coming from," he said.
Measured staff satisfaction is continuously rising, and staff turnover declining.
Last year, Gosnells won an Innovation Award for Best Practice for the whole organisation. It is an achievement of which the entire organisation is justifiably proud.
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