Staff working offsite a winner
Advances in Information Technology has also created greater flexibility in regard to staff working from home or, in the case of Councilís Information System Coordinator, being located in Perth. Ashburton had found it difficult to recruit and retain specialist staff in the area of Information Technology. The solution has been found by locating this officer in Perth. Two years ago a position was created where the officer would be based at the Perth offices of Councilís main software supplier, Civica.
There have been numerous advantages of the move, not the least being that any problem encountered with Councilís IT system, the Information System Coordinator is immediately on hand to check with Civicaís technical support team. Being located in Perth also enables Council to save on the housing costs of relocating this officer to Tom Price.
Finding it difficult to attract an IT specialist to Ashburton, Council had no alternative but to meet the high expense of using consultants to deliver essential IT training for staff. The Information System Coordinator, as part of his role, travels to Tom Price four times a year staying for a week at a time to provide this training and manages the network with the Information Technology Administrator. The Administrator is now also working remotely and deals with day to day IT issues that arise.
Being based at Civicaís office also has the added advantage of providing the Information System Coordinator with first hand knowledge of any new systems as they are being developed. The flexibility available with the latest technology is also consistent with Equal Opportunity, particularly in helping staff to balance their work with parenting responsibilities. Staff working from home also frees up additional office space avoiding the expense of extending the current office space.