East Arnhem Shire Council delivers savings

East Arnhem Shire Council (EASC) has delivered over $1.1 million in savings and received a commendation in the 2013 National Awards for Local Government in regional collaborations for the creation of the shared corporate services organisation, Latitude 12.

Following council amalgamations in 2008, EASC chose to create a shared services organisation to further streamline and deliver cost savings.

It soon became apparent that the opportunities went beyond resource sharing to realising economies of scale and protecting against the risk of corporate knowledge loss.

The result was a pooling of the entire corporate services division into Latitude 12, an independent, autonomous, private company in which EASC maintains a 50 percent share and three members on the board.

The concept behind this structure was to provide the services council needed at a lower cost, while simultaneously reducing the risk of corporate knowledge loss and generating additional revenue to offset expenditure or turn a profit.

With experience servicing remote and regional Australia and a pool of specialist knowledge, Latitude 12 is able to provide an affective strategy to avoid the talent shortages felt by many councils in remote and regional communities.

“At last count, Latitude 12 has delivered over $1.1 million savings, or an average of around $30,000 per month for the entire project,” said EASC Acting CEO Kerry Whiting.

“However the real value in Latitude 12 is the quality of service delivered while solving resourcing issues in our remote communities.”

Since commencement in 2010, Latitude 12 has grown to support a range of functions for the council, state government and private enterprise including financial processing, payroll, management reporting and budgeting, records management, internal audit, workplace health and safety advisory, and the new lean six sigma training and consultancy services commencing this year.

Latitude 12 has also expanded its services to Queensland, opening up a Brisbane office in 2012.

Latitude 12 CEO Atma Maharaj said she was proud of the success and growth of Latitude 12, the only commercially run shared services provider in Australia.

“Our client portfolio has expanded significantly and we are providing real value to our shareholders and customers through the quality and continuity of our service.”

Latitude 12’s high profile clients include regional shires in Northern Territory, government departments and large corporate clients.

It recently expanded its payroll presence with the successful implementation of the Chris21 payroll system for Roper Gulf Shire Council in NT.

Latitude 12 has secured strategic partnerships with leading Queensland work health and safety organisation Best Practice Managed Solutions (BPMS) and electronic document, records and content management software company InfoXpert.

“The quality and timeliness of Latitude 12’s services is nothing short of excellent,” said Mr Whiting.

“Their commitment to high service levels is outstanding and is no doubt a key to the success of the company.”