On the way to Gold

Entering the Australian Quality Awards (AQA) for the first time in 1998, Knox easily skipped the foundation stage and took out the second stage at the Business Excellence level.

"We were able to demonstrate via an objective and rigorous process that we had put in place many initiatives under the AQA criteria," said Executive Advisor Elaine Sowerby.

There are seven categories in the award system. Elaine said Knox is doing particularly well in many of these, including leadership and innovation, customer service and strategy and planning. "We had to demonstrate we had not only put the processes in place but that we have obtained results," Elaine said. "It is necessary to show the organisation has the capacity to achieve its vision."

"To take the example of planning, we were able to show that our approach was consistent with our vision of responsiveness to community needs through the community planning days where residents and ratepayers joined with Council to set down the community's priorities," she said.

Elaine said the goal now is to aim for the Gold award, the highest level in the AQA system. She said Council hopes to achieve this by 2005.

"We will need to demonstrate that we have achieved results consistent with our vision in all seven categories of the Awards system," Elaine said. "We will be looking at our processes, products and service, and data and information retrieval to achieve this."