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Two directorate model one to watch

The Shire of Kalamunda has shaken up the world of local government, with the establishment of a Two Directorate Organisational Structure. The Shire is believed to be the only local government of its size in Australia that is operating with such a model.

CEO James Trail said, “As a part of the pending local government reform process the Shire underwent an organisational review to ensure that its financial and staffing arrangements are managed in a way that demonstrates the Shire is sustainable and has inbuilt flexibility to respond quickly to changing community expectations, legislative demands and other external factors that may require urgent responses over the short and long term.
“At the Shire of Kalamunda we believe that service, professionalism and innovation will provide quality outcomes for our community.
“The new structure focuses on moving with the times and has been developed with a goal to strip back unnecessary levels of middle management, encouraging teams to work across functions with more flexible arrangements in place.

“The reviewed organisational structure saw the Shire shift from a four directorate to a two directorate model, namely Development & Infrastructure Services and Corporate & Community Services,” said Mr Trail.

“The new structure stems away from the ‘silo’ approach and encourages officers to work across various business units. It also creates a more conducive executive leadership team, with directors more aware of a cross-section of operations that the organisation is required to perform.
“Senior staff members liaise with each other more, rather than business units operating in isolation, which is conducive to better decision making and a more strategic approach to the operation of the organisation. To date, the shift has been extremely effective and, though the organisation is still adapting, the feedback has been positive.”

The Shire of Kalamunda recently undertook an independent survey of elected members, to gauge councillors’ satisfaction with the new structure and related leadership model. The analysis found that the satisfaction of elected members at Kalamunda was higher than possibly expected.

Murray Jorgensen of Murray Jorgensen & Associates, the firm that conducted the research, congratulated the Shire of Kalamunda executive leadership team. “There has been a substantial increase in the elected member satisfaction with the communication between the elected members and executive leadership team since the restructure; with the total satisfaction on a scale of 1–10 (with one being very dissatisfied and ten being very satisfied) measured at 8.6, which is extremely high.”

James Trail said, “Staff have been very receptive to the new structure and have settled in well to the changes. There is also a significant financial saving from a staffing point of view, which ensures that money can be spent where it is needed most – on community development, asset maintenance and infrastructure requirements.”