Blue Mountains in hot competition with private sector

New South Wales’ Blue Mountains City Council has been recognised among high profile private sector organisations for its strategic human resources plan. Council received a special commendation in the Best Strategic Plan category at the 2005 Australian HR Awards. The awards reflect the entire spectrum of the HR profession and are highly regarded by HR professionals.

For the past five years the awards have seen HR departments, managers, teams and CEOs have their successes in people management rewarded.

Judges said Blue Mountains’ submission was very strongly connected to Council’s corporate plan and strategy. “It has clear medium and longer term objectives, is comprehensive in HR terms, involved very extensive data gathering and analysis, had quantifiable assessment dimensions and used particularly thorough processes to engage key people and groups,” they said. “It was clearly apparent that the plan was integrated and relevant to Council’s current and emergent business context.”

Blue Mountains Manager Human Resources, Bob Bentley, said the strategy was designed to respond in the short to medium term to the financial complexities facing Council. “It aims to address increasing employment costs, while at the same time achieving a work environment where people feel valued, thus making Council a better place to work,” he said. Other key strategies the Blue Mountains plan aims to deliver include the following:

  • change employment demographics to meet future needs of the organisation
  • reduce skill gaps in knowledge
  • focus on the achievement of Council’s organisational priorities towards sustainability.

Bob Bentley said the award lifts Council’s profile as Local Governments do not always have the resources and recognition that private sector companies do.

“The recognition of a Local Government body among high profile private sector organisations is a great result,” he said. “Although we didn’t win the category, from a Local Government point of view we are in a very good position against very hot competition. Blue Mountains was the only Council up against the private sector and our submission proved worthy.”

Other finalists in the category included Microsoft, Macquarie Bank, St George Bank and Deliottes.