Councils join forces on HR

Article image - Councils join forces on HR David Leahy and Diana McDonald

Shared human resource service delivery is reaping rewards for West Wimmera Shire Council and Horsham Rural City Council in Victoria.

Shared services are a way that councils can help each other to deliver services they might not otherwise be able to provide.
Moving forward in a period of revenue constraint within the rate-capping environment, shared services can also be a solution to the financial strain faced by councils.

In 2017, the West Wimmera Shire Council (WWSC) approached the Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC) to discuss the prospect of a shared human resource service, and the possibility of entering into an arrangement was investigated in detail.

The WWSC did not have a designated in-house human resource service and lacked day-to-day support for managers.  

As a result of this co-operation, a detailed Memorandum of Understanding was developed between the HRCC and WWSC and a shared human resource service between the two councils commenced on 1 July 2017.    

HRCC staff provide support to WWSC managers on a range of human resource matters including recruitment, appointments, induction, probation and staff reviews, training schedules, policy review and general human resource enquiries.

The lead contact person for this service from HRCC is Diana McDonald, a human resource specialist.

David Leahy, WWSC Chief Executive Officer, said that the arrangement is working well.  

“As with all things done by distance, constant reviews of processes are integral to the success of the shared service.   

“Introducing the service to West Wimmera has seen a number of administrative processes that staff were unfamiliar with implemented, and these processes have now gained greater understanding which will lead to a consistent approach to managing human resource issues,” he said.

Graeme Harrison, HRCC Acting Chief Executive, said that the current arrangement is initially for 12 months with the prospect of an ongoing agreement.  

“We are excited about the mutual opportunities for learning and skills development and the potential to use this model for other shared services in the region,” he said.