Future Directions - Kiama Municipal Council

Article image - Future Directions - Kiama Municipal Council Kiama Councilís NBN IT Manager John Holland

Kiama Council’s NBN IT Manager John Holland has been leading in his field for his instrumental role in the conceptualisation, planning and delivery of Kiama Council’s online project ‘Kiama Connect’.

This project brought the delivery of council services and community engagement online utilising interactive videoconferencing.

The video platform is a relatively low-cost video collaboration platform, with high-quality video performance, has a simple desktop interface and ability to support multiple simultaneous connections and lets you share your desktop during meetings for collaboration purposes.

The Kiama Connect project allows as many as 1,000 users to be connected simultaneously.

The model is that ‘Best Value’ savings are achieved through scalability with no additional cost to Council.

Average current costs per capita to run an event approximate to $482.79 per attendee with a cap of 20 attendees.

Costs are reduced to $247.43 per attendee, and conservatively, would scale easily to $40.46 per attendee within five years.
Mr Holland established and managed an NBN helpdesk for videoconferencing, assisting the community via phone and email to participate in online workshops.

John also planned, coordinated and managed the videoconferencing (VC) platform enabling Kiama Council to engage with the community, federal government and other Australian councils.

John worked as an advisor for the Kiama Council management team on Council’s response to the rollout of the NBN and ways of maximising possibilities of the project by connecting key community sites.

John also identified that Kiama Council IT services required significant upgrading and the IT section needed a stronger customer focus.

He actively worked to open lines of communication with management and staff, to demonstrate the value of the work done by IT and its importance to the organisation.

John’s professional, well organised and informed approach gave management the confidence to proceed with upgrading existing services and implementation of a new and innovative way of bringing councils services online, to improve engagement with the community.

John’s professional and positive approach earned him the respect of Senior Management and raised the profile of council’s IT services both internally
and externally.

Staff, council and the community now view Kiama Council’s IT department as an innovative and customer focussed unit.

John has led projects which have enabled a community and council VC platform and NBN enabled WiFi hotspots to help the community live, learn, transact and engage online.

This has brought the community and local businesses together in a community facility that provides free access to the NBN and a place for shared learning and experience.

John actively worked to lift the profile of Council’s IT services and NBN projects to demystify a particularly complex IT project, for the community and council staff to understand.

He also took on a communications role to inform the community and demystify the NBN program through video messages and conducted media interviews for newspapers, radio and TV.

He also ensured Council utilised virtual conferencing for internal meetings with consultants in other areas of Australia which significantly improved council processes and productivity ie staff and consultant’s time and travel costs.

John was acknowledged for his work on the Kiama Connect Project when he won the prestigious national award for ICT Professional of the Year at the CeBit Conference.

The award formally recognised John’s exemplary work and commitment to the innovative delivery of local government services to the community.

“John is to be congratulated for his work on the Digital Local Government Project and for winning the prestigious ICT Professional of the Year award,” said Michael Forsyth, General Manager of Kiama Council.

“The award is recognition of John’s hard work and commitment to pioneering a new and exciting platform for delivering local government services to our community.”