Resource sharing a winner

Article image - Resource sharing a winner Sharing staff across neighbouring council areas has enabled the spread of the new Dogs and Cats Online management system.

Sharing staff resources with neighbouring councils is helping upskill employees and increase revenue for the Mid Murray Council, South Australia.

Council’s Development and Environmental Services team began exploring innovative ways to share resources with nearby councils and State Government agencies in August 2016.

The aim was to help other regional councils cover staff shortages and employees’ leave, and share expertise and knowledge with other smaller local government teams.

The approach proved successful and even generated revenue for the department.

Director of Development and Environmental Services, Jake McVicar, said, “In addition to helping build professional relationships with our adjoining councils, this assistance has also created an extra income stream for the department.”

Mid Murray Council staff have assisted four other councils in areas including planning, building and health services.

They have also helped other councils implement and operate the new Dogs and Cats Online (DACO) management system.

Staff are involved with specialist projects for agencies including the Local Government Association and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

While some of the roles are voluntary or in-kind, most of the assistance was provided via a fee for service arrangement.

“For our staff, it’s provided professional development opportunities in assisting and mentoring on a range of projects,” McVicar said.

With smaller workforces, regional councils face challenges covering staff leave or when positions become vacant. Sharing resources helps fill those gaps, while also allowing staff to use their skills in new environments, work on different projects or be mentored by other professionals.

“This initiative has proven to be a mutually beneficial arrangement for all involved and we will be looking at other ways to expand on this in the future.

“Council is always focused on efficiency and this is an innovative way in which we have been able to achieve that, while also generating revenue and expanding the professional development of our staff.”