Cutting edge service delivery

Alongside strategic planning at a regional and City wide level, Parramatta City Council has carried out organisational changes to improve service delivery. Council's mission is 'to be recognised as the best local Council in New South Wales'. In line with National Competition Policy, Council aims to deliver more effective, value for money services.

A recent organisational restructure is similar to a purchaser/provider split, used in other states, such as Victoria. The strategic and policy formulation section of Council is quite distinct from the operational side, which carries out the day to day services and facilities.

"Council's operating expenses have been reduced by $2 million per annum without reducing service levels," said General Manager Joe Diffen. "We are pursuing the 'Best Value' model now being used in the United Kingdom. This involves continually reviewing everything we do to ensure we deliver quality service."

He said that staff play a vital role in achieving these aims. "Our Investor In People Program provides ongoing staff training and development," Joe Diffen said. "This Program ensures that people understand not just what they do but why they are doing it."

He said that another key aspect of cutting edge service delivery is making sure the community is happy about what services are provided and the standard of delivery. "Throughout the 90s, Council has used Hunter Valley Research to test this," Joe Diffen said. "The latest survey results released in March show that Council has again improved its performance."

Compared with other Councils using Hunter Valley Research, Parramatta rated equal or above the average benchmark in 17 of the 19 service areas tested. This is a marked increase on 13 recorded in 1996. Community feedback from the survey will be used in future planning to pinpoint any areas needing attention.

"In working towards being the 'best Council in New South Wales', the real challenge is to ensure the community regards us as the best," Joe Diffen said.